The Greenwich High girls water polo team has displayed plenty of depth through its first 12 games.
That depth includes one of the best juniors in the region, who took her turn displaying her offensive skills for the undefeated Cardinals.
Paige Neary scored six goals as Greenwich cruised to a 14-3 win over visiting Staples on Tuesday afternoon, improving to 12-0.
"(Neary) is very good," Greenwich captain Milena Meehan said. "She has a really good shot and has good awareness in the pool. She always knows where the ball is, and how to position herself to get that ball and make her angle as good as possible."
Neary scored four of her team's first six goals for an 8-1 lead after the first period. Playing alongside Daniela Screnci, who will be playing water polo in the fall at Long Beach State, Neary doesn't always get goal-scoring opportunities. She made the most of them Tuesday.
"(Neary) is coming along," Greenwich coach Bill Harris said. "Her IQ for the game has improved and she's going to become a really strong player. She could play on a good Division-I college team when she graduates."
For Staples, which fell to 0-5, junior Maddie McCartin scored two goals and Julia Woods netted one.
The Cardinals also got two goals from Screnci and Mary Harrigan. Greenwich jumped out to a 11-3 halftime lead and spent much of the second half integrating the underclassmen, who gained valuable experience.
"We executed well, we played nice defense and we shared the scoring opportunities," Harris said. "We looked for the open girl. I was happy because we had a chance to play everybody a lot, and that's how we get ready for next year when our seniors graduate."
The Wreckers showed signs of improvement from their season-opening 21-3 defeat to the Cardinals.
"That is a huge improvement," Staples coach Mike Laux said on Wednesday. "We are a lot better than when we played them a month ago. But they're a lot better too."
Staples yielded only six goals in three quarters to the Greenwich reserves.
"We had a real solid lead so we were just trying to practice getting open, getting a dry pass, and after two or three dry passes get a shot off," Harris said. "We just wanted to execute well. If the 30-second shot clock ran out, then so be it."
Meehan believes that working together, despite not being fully tested yet, will pay dividends for the Cardinals down the stretch.
"We were communicating well and passing well," Meehan said. "We've been practicing a lot together. It's getting late in the season and we know each other's styles, and we're getting better as a team."
The Wreckers, who have been shorthanded this year because of injuries, were without two players against Greenwich. Laux is hoping, however, that his team will return to full strength soon. The Wreckers host Greenwich Y on Thursday at 6 p.m.
"We're almost at full strength. And for tomorrow's game, we might be at full strength," he said.
Ryan Lacey is a freelance writer