STAMFORD -- When Filosmar Cordeiro scored 25 minutes into the first half giving the Westhill boys soccer team a surprising two-goal lead Tuesday, it was obviously time to worry for visiting New Canaan. Interestingly, however, it also became a major concern for Westhill coach Joe Andrews.
"After we went up 2-0, New Canaan woke up," Andrews said after New Canaan rallied for a 4-3 victory. "It was hard seeing them gain momentum. I've always said a two-goal lead is the worst lead to have (because of complacency)."
Marcus Hijkoop scored twice to get the Rams even and Steve Valente added two later goals. It wasn't just a two-goal deficit the Rams (9-2-2) had to bounce back from but after going unbeaten through their first 10 games, they were staring at a potential three-game losing streak at the worst possible time.
"This was huge, not only for the W, but also to not have three losses in a row," New Canaan coach Victory Sanchez said. "I set the challenge to them at halftime. I told them we need to play with urgency. They believed and worked hard for the win."
Westhill (6-7-1), which started the day three points behind Danbury for the eighth and final FCIAC playoff berth, came out strong. Led by Cordeiro, the Vikings struck twice to grab the early lead.
"You can't take Westhill for granted," Sanchez said. "They're a young team but they play like they're experienced."
The Vikings, however, are not that experienced with two-goal leads against top teams. New Canaan, which entered play Tuesday tied for third in the FCIAC behind Norwalk and Ridgefield, quickly settled itself.
With nine minutes remaining in the half Hijkoop scored on a rebound, and added the equalizer 15 minutes into the second half on a 25-yard boot that beat Westhill goalie Mike Iafrete (10 saves).
Just over a minute later Valente scored to give the Rams a 3-2 lead and the Rams made it 4-2 with five minutes left when Valente scored off a pass from Eric Persky.
Cordeiro added his second goal for Westhill 42 seconds later to cut it to 4-3, just to make it a little more agonizing.
"New Canaan is a very good team but our inexperience kicked in after we got up 2-0," Andrews said. "I guess it's all a part of growing pains."
New Canaan 4, Westhill 3
NEW CANAAN 1 3--4
WESTHILL 2 1--3
Records: New Canaan 9-2-2, Westhill 6-7-1.
Goals: NC--Marcus Hijkoop 2, Steven Valente 2; W--Filosmar Cordeiro 2, Twade Foster. Assists: NC--Eric Persky 2, Robert Valente, Juan Ricardo Deambrosio; W--Cordeiro. Goalie saves: NC--Michael Powell 4; W--Mike Iafrete 10.