WESTPORT -- Sitting in eighth place in the FCIAC with just two matches remaining, the New Canaan girls soccer team could ill-afford a slip-up on a cold, wet Tuesday afternoon at Staples' Loeffler Field.
With 15:02 left to play and the match till scoreless, New Canaan's Courtney Overacker and Anna Borea made sure the Rams would remain firmly in control of their own playoff destiny.
Borea sent a corner kick arching towards the Staples net where Overacker scored on a well-struck header to snap the scoreless tie, giving the Rams a 1-0 lead that would hold up as the final score.
"It was a corner and I was supposed to cover the goalie, but then I saw it drop in so I went and headed it in," Overacker said. "It's a real big win because we're qualifying for the FCIACs and we're in eighth place right now. We needed a win."
With just three matches remaining entering the day, Staples (3-7-4) had already been eliminated from FCIAC playoff contention, but the Wreckers looked plenty capable of playing the spoiler role against the Rams. The Wreckers nearly took the lead on several occassions and held a 15-10 edge in shots.
"We had a lot of chances that we definitely should've finished," Staples head coach Heather Driscoll said on Wednesday. "We just couldn't find the opportunity to get the ball in the back of the net."
Driscoll is hoping that her team can soon generate some offense and roll into the Class LL state tournament on a high note.
"That will give us some good confidence going into the tournament, which would be great," she said.
Staples, which arguably played the better second half up until Overacker's goal, got one of its best chances with seven minutes remaining.
Protecting a 1-0 lead, New Canaan goalkeeper Alexandra Yuditski -- who made eight saves -- came out of the net to pounce on a bouncing ball, but it was jarred loose by a hard-charging Staples player. Play continued for a few more seconds until Yuditski again jumped on the ball and stayed down with a dislocated thumb, prompting a play stoppage.
"Alex was phenomenal again today," New Canaan head coach Kirk Bamford said of Yuditski, who remained in the match to notch the shutout. "She got up and carried on with the play and her thumb was dislocated at that point. It shows a lot of courage and a lot of determination from Alex, which she's shown a lot of times."
Prior to the Rams taking the lead, the Wreckers were twice denied by the posts in the second half. Staples' Siri Andrews narrowly missed giving her team the lead when her shot was partially deflected by a diving Yuditski, causing it to brush off the post and out of play for a corner kick.
Staples goalkeeper Mary Bennewitz made eight saves.
The Wreckers close out the regular season on Monday against Trinity Catholic (0-12)
NEW CANAAN 1, STAPLES 0
NEW CANAAN 0 1--1
STAPLES 0 0--0
Records: New Canaan 8-4-3; Staples 3-7-4.
Goals: NC--Courtney Overacker. Assists: NC--Anna Borea. Goalies: NC--Alexandra Yuditski (8 saves); S--Mary Bennewitz (8). Shots: NC--10; S--15.