GREENWICH—There is no great secret to the first step to success in girls lacrosse.

Win more draws than your opponent and more than likely you are going to win the game.

Greenwich realizes this, and the Cardinals have created a contest for players in practice with one player taking the draw and two players outside the circle fighting for the ball.

The competition in practice seems to be paying off, as the No. 2 Cardinals controlled the majority of draws Thursday, especially once they had a lead, on the way to defeating No. 10 Staples 14-9 in the Class L quarterfinals at Cardinal Stadium.

Greenwich moves on to the semifinals, where it will face No. 11 Wilton on Tuesday at a neutral site.

The Cardinals got out to an early lead and never let Staples back in the game.

“One of the things we talked about before the game was setting the tone. That has been our goal in states, to set the tone for our state run, and I think we did that against Ludlowe and did it today against a really good Staples team,” Greenwich coach Caitlin Copelan said. “It is the draw and making good decisions. For the most part, we played a pretty complete game. We made the draws into a competition and spent time having people taking the draw and kids competing on the circle and we kept track of points. That’s kind of how we are going with our draw. Jess Ware is a stud hockey player and you can see it. She has an incredible knack for the ball.”

Greenwich got five goals from Paige Finneran, three from Maggie O’Gorman, two each from Romy Villemure and Leah Caputo and one apiece by Ellie Lufkin and Genevieve DeWinter.

The Cardinals (15-2) led 8-4 at halftime and that margin only grew in the second half.

Staples (12-6) got four goals by Christine Taylor, two goals each from Colleen Bannon and Kyle Kirby and one by Ellie Fair.

Wreckers coach Stephanie Calabrese said chasing a team like Greenwich is hard to do when you do not control draws.

“First of all, hats off to them on the draw. Number 23 (Jess Ware), I don’t know who she is, but I want her on my team because, my god, can she get the draw,” Calabrese said. “When I started at Staples four years ago the goal was to make a difference in four years. FCIAC semis, state quarterfinals after not making FCIACs last year and losing in first round of states in a total blowout against Glastonbury — this is a special team.”

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Paige Finneran, Greenwich. Finneran, the sophomore attack, registered four goals but none as big as the first of the game which set the tone and made Staples chase the Cardinals from the beginning.

QUOTABLE

“It feels so awesome to be advancing. This is our last home game and to end it like this as a senior is special. I’m glad we get to keep going,” Greenwich’s Romy Villemure said. “We just move the ball very quickly and that’s what makes us tough. As soon as we have a lead, we take that and use it to our advantage.”

REVENGE GAME

Wilton handed Greenwich one of its two losses in the regular season, and the Cardinals would love to get a little revenge on their way to the state championship game.

Sericson@satmfordadvocate.

com; @EricsonSports

GREENWICH 14, STAPLES 9

STAPLES 4 5—9

GREENWICH 8 6—14

Records: Staples 12-6; Greenwich 15-2. Scoring: S— Christine Taylor 4g, 1a; Colleen Bannon 2g, 1a; Kyle Kirby 2g; Ellie Fair 1g. G— Paige Finneran 5g; Maggie O’Gorman 3g; Romy Villemure 2g, 1a; Leah Caputo 2g, 1a; Ellie Lufkin 1g; Genevieve DeWinter 1, 1a. Goalies: S—Zoe Mackis (4 saves); G—Sloane Loveless (4)