Greenwich beats Staples, ending regular season on a high note
Updated 8:27 pm, Tuesday, May 19, 2015
GREENWICH -- In a dress rehearsal for Friday's FCIAC playoffs, the Greenwich and Staples girls lacrosse teams battled it out on Senior Day at Greenwich High School.
In a rematch of last year's FCIAC quarterfinals, the Cardinals prevailed again with a 10-goal second half in a 13-8 win over the Wreckers on Tuesday. Paige Mautner and Maddie Graves each scored four times for Greenwich, which ended the regular season at 10-5.
Records only determine the qualifiers for the FCIAC tournament, and a coach's vote decides the seeding. The Cardinals added a quality win at the right time to move up the ladder. Both teams are locked into the tournament.
"We've had a good week; we've had a bunch of games in a really short amount of time," Greenwich coach Caitlin Young said. "I'm thrilled with our effort; to keep it going spoke highly of them."
A stretch of five goals in five minutes broke the game open early in the second half. Staples led 4-3 at the break, but a yellow card 31 seconds into the second gave Greenwich an opening the Cardinals took advantage of with three goals.
"In the second half we came out and played the game we knew we could," said Mautner, who scored the game-tying goal 46 seconds into the second half. "We've been rising since (a 10-9 loss to) New Canaan (last Tuesday) and we just wanted to keep it up."
Greenwich led 6-4 by the time the numbers were even again, and kept things rolling with three more goals before Staples finally ended the stretch with a goal from Paige Murray -- who scored four times for the Wreckers -- with 13:39 left.
"I think we played them tough in the first half and faded in the second half," Staples coach Pete Najarian said. "At this level when teams are evenly matched, it's about winning the draw and the 50/50 balls, and we were not."
Colleen Bannon scored for Staples to close to within 10-7 with 8:47 remaining, and had an ensuing possession to potentially draw closer that ended with a charge call. Greenwich controlled the rest of the game -- including scoring twice in the last 36 seconds -- as Natalie Paletta won a number of faceoffs down the stretch to prevent any chance of a Staples comeback.
"When you're down three goals with three to play, it's a war to get the ball back," Najarian said. "You can't just let yourself get there."
The Wreckers (11-5), who had their four-game winning streak snapped, have battled the injury bug all season but are returning players at the right time. A 17-7 win over Norwalk on Saturday was one of the first games that its entire lineup was intact.
The teams will likely not meet in the first round of this year's tournament, but both will be in a competitive field of eight looking to knock three-time defending champion Darien off for the FCIAC title.
"We really need to stay composed and be confident," Mautner said. "Once we lose confidence we lose the game."
Sixteen Greenwich seniors were honored before the game, an eye-popping number for one team.
"I think that's the most I've ever heard," Young said. "But it's great, they're a bunch of a characters that bring their own thing to our program and our team."
GREENWICH 13, Staples 8
STAPLES 4 4--8
GREENWICH 3 10--13
Records: Staples 11-5, 8-2 FCIAC; Greenwich 10-5, 8-2.
Scoring: S--Siobhan O'Loughlin (2g); Paige Murray (4g); Colleen Bannon (2g, 1a); G--Maddie Graves (4g); Paige Mautner (4g); Sloane Caan (1g); Katie Renz (1g); Katie Harford (1g); Meghan Collins (1a); Becca Litt (1g, 1a); Ally Santarosa (1g). Goalies: S--Emma Boland (7 saves); Alexa Moro (0 saves) G--Kylie Ginsberg (10 saves); Anne Burke (0 saves).