WESTPORT--Leading by a single goal early in the fourth quarter against FCIAC rival Staples, Greenwich boys lacrosse coach Scott Bulkley devised a play for his dynamic duo of Kyle Foote and Decker Curran.
Twenty seconds later the ball was in the back of the Wreckers' cage, and the Cardinals had more than enough breathing room from there to finish off a dominating defensive effort.
Tommy Rogan made 13 saves and Greenwich allowed just one even-strength goal in a 5-3 win over Staples on Tuesday afternoon at Wakeman Field in a battle of undefeated contenders.
"It's great," Foote said of his teams' 6-0 start. "We've been working really hard in the offseason and it's starting to come together. It's really exciting to watch."
Staples (5-1) pulled to within 4-3 with 1:35 left in the third quarter on a goal from Will Johnson, but Foote and Curran teamed up to dash the Wreckers' hopes. With six minutes left in the game, Foote curled around the back of the net while Curran ran a similar path in front in Staples goalie Cole Gendels. Foote found Curran with a perfect pass, and Curran buried a high shot.
"(Bulkley) drew it up right out of the timeout," Foote said. `We practice it in practice and we knew it was going to come up big. We executed it pretty well."
The Cardinals never trailed, but survived a sluggish performance on offense to earn the win. The game was delayed by 25 minutes due to traffic and there was little flow on the field once the game started.
"We got a little jammed up getting here," Bulkley said. "It didn't start well and we didn't get into rhythm. Luckily our defense played well and Tommy Rogan played well. We're better than what we showed today."
Curran fired a hat trick in the victory despite being ill. Will Perry also scored for Greenwich, which plays Fairfield Prep on Thursday. Teddy Coogan and Ross Goldberg scored goals for Staples.
"We didn't play well today," Bulkley said. "When you can not play well and still win the game, you have to happy with that."
Trailing 4-2 at halftime, Staples dominated the third quarter. The Wreckers sustained pressure and generated many quality chances on goal. Rogan made seven saves in the period, including a diving stop to deny a Wrecker attacker all alone in front of the cage.
"After a couple of shots and especially after that big save I got in a groove," Rogan said. "I knew that, shot after shot, I had to save them all."
Greenwich tightened its defense in the fourth and didn't allow as many quality opportunities.
"Against a very good team like Greenwich, you're only going to get a few opportunities to get a real good shot off," Staples coach Paul McNulty said. "You have to sink it and we didn't. (Rogan) made some good saves too."
Despite the defeat, McNulty was encouraged by his team's performance against one of the FCIAC's best. The Wreckers eliminated the Cardinals in the Class L tournament last year after Greenwich defeated Staples in the FCIAC playoffs.
"(My players) played just the way we asked them to; the best game they've played all year," McNulty said. "We played our best defense."