The Greenwich High girls water polo team opened its season in just about the best manner possible: dominating from start to finish in a 21-3 victory over visiting Staples on Tuesday.
Greenwich got 10 goals from seven different players in the opening period with its strongest lineup on display, integrating the rest of the squad as the contest went along. In all, nine different players scored for the Cardinals, with four goals from standout Daniela Screnci.
"It's fun to finally just get into competition," Greenwich coach Bill Harris said. "It helps get the kinks out of our game and you can also assess some of the newcomers and freshman and see what they can do in a game situation. Some of the girls were a little more nervous and I thought they came through pretty well."
Staples coach Mike Laux said the 18-goal difference was the closest-ever result between the two squads. He called the match a "big step" for the Wreckers, adding that the Cardinals won 24-2 in last year's meeting.
"We narrowed the gap substantially," he said.
The Cardinals have steadily improved over the past three years under Harris' watch, going 14-5 in 2010, 16-4 in 2011 and 17-3 last spring.
"We are really getting the cream of the crop from these developmental teams and that makes my job very easy," Harris said. "As compared to if I was getting kids that had not played in middle school."
Staples -- a third-place finisher at the season-ending Hopkins Tournament last year -- was without two starters on Tuesday because of injury.
"We were missing girls, but we still played really well," Laux said. "Greenwich is really, really good. They've got seven seniors."
Greenwich and Staples are the lone FCIAC schools to field water polo programs.
The Wreckers will play at Greenwich YMCA on Thursday at 6 p.m.
Ryan Lacey is a freelance writer