The Staples field hockey team, which lost a virtual FCIAC playoff play-in game against Westhill on the final day of the regular season, had 12 days to prepare for its next game and ensure that history would not repeat itself.
So when the Wreckers got a chance to qualify for the state tournament at the expense of host Amity, they did not let the opportunity pass them by.
Elizabeth Bennewitz scored off a penalty corner with 4:20 left in the first overtime period as Staples reached the Class L tournament with a 2-1 win over Amity in Woodbridge on Monday afternoon. The Wreckers will meet Greenwich Wednesday in the first round.
"We had a lot of tough losses and just being able to win and get into the state tournament after working so hard for so many weeks it really uplifts (the players') spirits," Staples coach Ashley Del Vecchio said.
Bennewitz, who scored both Staples goals, cashed in on perfect insert by Emma Laney and smashed a shot past Spartans goalie Lauren Kelly. The junior had her shot blocked on the previous penalty corner but had a little more room to find the back of the cage.
"The (defender) didn't come as fast and I had the time and I just took the shot," Bennewitz said. "When you have that chance you can't waste it."
In order to prepare for Amity's grass field, the Wreckers practiced on grass for days. The field led to a slow, choppy pace that made the fight for every loose ball critical.
"We tend to get down on ourselves in past games so we tried to keep them pumped up and use strategies that would help them on grass," Del Vecchio said.
"We tried to stay away from our turf moves and big-ball it because we have fast forwards that can get it on goal."
The contest was a back-and-forth affair with each team spending periods on top. Staples started off slow, yielding the game's first four shots and three penalty corners as it got used to the grass.
Lauren Duhl scored with 16:58 left in the second half to tie the game for the Spartans. The hosts had chances to snatch the win late in regulation but the Wreckers defense stood firm.
"I think everyone on our team just wanted to win," Bennewitz said. "eE didn't want to come up here, practice on grass and come up here and lose. We wanted to play through it and give it everything we had."
Sophomore goalie Jodie Baris made six saves in the victory for Staples. Baris and her defense had to be at their best to stop an Amity breakaway with three minutes left in regulation.
"(Baris) is awesome, she warms up ready to play the game," Del Vecchio said. "She's mentally there and pumps up the whole team."
The Wreckers had a 10-6 edge in penalty corners and 12-10 advantage in shots.