Wilton saddles Lady Wrecker laxwomen with first loss
Updated 2:58 am, Wednesday, May 11, 2011
The Staples girls lacrosse team won't have a perfect season this year.
Host Wilton made sure of it Saturday with a 17-7 win over Staples (11-1) to raise its record to 12-0.
"We came out flat in the first half and it wasn't our best game," Lady Wreckers Coach Cathy Schager said. "We dug a big hole for ourselves and we had trouble digging out of it."
Staples senior quad-captain Nikki Seo said, "There was just a weird vibe on the field. When we shot, it didn't go where we wanted it to and the ball seemed to fall out of our sticks. We were a bit rattled and had trouble recovering. Wilton is a great team and pressured us and forced into making errors."
Wilton sophomore Casey Pearsall (four goals, eight draw controls, two ground balls, two caused turnovers) set the tone in the first 2:25 of the game with two goals by attacking the net in staking her team to a 2-0 lead.
"I did not expect to win this easily," Lady Warriors Coach Caitlin Jackson said. "We didn't win this easily. The score was deceiving because Staples is a very explosive team and you can't stop playing against them. Who knows what would have happened if we had 10 more minutes left to play."
Pearsall was especially dominant on draws, which gave Wilton possession and ultimately, a 4-0 lead before Staples responded. The Lady Wreckers broke the shutout with 17:58 left in the half on senior quad-captain Elizabeth Driscoll's (one ground ball) goal off a feed from junior Ali Crofts (two goals, one assist, one positive turnover, two ground balls, two draw controls).
Falling behind isn't new for the Lady Wreckers, who had deficits of five and four goals to New Canaan and Greenwich respectively before roaring back. However, they weren't able to completely erase Wilton's lead.
"We dug ourselves a hole against New Canaan and Greenwich but we can't do it against a team like Wilton and need to shake that habit," Seo said.
Staples senior quad-captain goalie Penny Tsilfides (nine saves) limited the damage as best she could with some saves from point-blank range. Senior quad-captain Kelley Hussey (one positive turnover, two ground balls) and classmate Sammie Hardy (three ground balls, one draw control) and juniors Remy Nolan (one ground ball) and Kenzie Roof (one ground ball) played well defensively for the Lady Wreckers and did what they could to disrupt the Lady Warriors. Hardy was deft in clearing the ball and Nolan delivered some quality checks.
However, they weren't able to completely stop Wilton's explosive offense. The Lady Warriors answered Driscoll's goal with a 6-0 run to take a commanding 10-1 lead with 11:57 remaining.
Crofts broke the surge when she scored on a free possession shot and junior Jessie Ambrose (two goals, one ground ball, one positive turnover, one draw control) circled the net and scored to pull Staples within seven, 10-3 with 7:53 to go. The Lady Wreckers couldn't get any closer even though Crofts, Seo, Driscoll and Ambrose all fired golden shots, only to be robbed by Wilton senior co-captain goalie Maddie Kratz (18 saves).
Lady Warrior sophomore Megan Beopple (six goals, five ground balls) broke the mini-run with a goal off a centering pass from senior co-captain Christie Huidekoper (three goals, three assists) with 4:23 to go. Wilton added two more goals before the break and Staples had one more tally before the break when Seo (two goals, one ground ball) circled the net and scored to account for the 13-4 halftime score.
Seo made it 13-5 20 seconds into the second half off a feed from sophomore Ryan Kirshner (one assist, one draw control). The Lady Wreckers had a chance to seize momentum but Kratz robbed Nolan. Driscoll got the rebound and fed junior Maeve Flaherty, who hit the post.
"Their goalie was very good but we shot to her stick and hit the post," Seo said. "We were staring at her because we knew she was good and it got to us."
Seo and Nolan also hit the post.
Flaherty (one positive turnover, one ground ball, three draw controls) is Staples' leading-scorer but was held to no points because she hit the post twice and Kratz made two improbable saves on her. Pearsall covered her like a blanket, which made it hard for her to get open.
"Maeve is an unbelievable player and it was the whole defense working together," Pearsall said. "It wasn't just me. If I got beat, my teammates were there to slide."
Wilton scored the next three goals to make it 16-5. Ambrose and Crofts had layup goals where they juked past the defenders to cut it to 16-7 and temporarily stop running time, which the Lady Warriors restored with 2:24 left in the game.
"The game didn't turn out the way we wanted but we never gave up and tried our hardest," Crofts said. "I thought it was important we didn't stop fighting."
Lady Wrecker junior Adele Mackey had a ground ball.
Despite falling short, there is a silver lining for Staples and that was this game wasn't a playoff contest.
"Not by a long shot," answered Schager when asked if her team played its best. "I said if we're going to lose a game this year, it's better to lose this one [because it's not a playoff game] and to this team because Wilton is an incredible powerhouse. We'll learn from it."
Seo said, "Coach Schager said it's difficult to go undefeated. We now know how it feels to lose and we can lose if we don't play our game. We know we didn't play our best game and we look forward to play them in the playoffs."
Staples hopes to return to its winning ways tomorrow when it takes on Ridgefield at 6 p.m. on the road.