By Eliot Schickler

In the end, the Staples girls lacrosse team survived Friday against Trumbull.

Host Staples defeated Trumbull 15-12 to raise its record to 7-1, but wasn't pleased with its performance.

The Lady Wreckers saw their six-goal lead shrink to one, but in the end, they staved off the vastly-improved Lady Eagles (5-3). Trumbull was 4-12 last year. Staples won the late-game draws, possessed the ball and scored two goals in the last 82 seconds of the game.

"We're not happy with the win," Lady Wreckers co-head coach Cathy Schager said. "We have a lot we need to work on. After we took an 11-5 lead, we became flat. Trumbull wanted to beat us and it showed."

Staples senior captain Ali Crofts (one assist) scored the first two goals of the game. Senior captain Remy Nolan set up Crofts' second goal with 16:59 remaining in the first half.

"The team came out strong, and I had good feeds from my teammates," Crofts said.

More Information

Fact box

Freshman Paige Murray (one ground ball, one draw control) led the Lady Wreckers' offense with six goals. Murray scored off a feed from classmate Jenna McNicholas (one ground ball, one draw control) to give Staples a four-goal lead, 8-4 with 6:12 left.

"They played far back defensively and allowed me to take it 1-on-1 to the goal," Murray said. "And I took it."

Lady Wrecker senior Jessie Ambrose (three draw controls, three ground balls, two caused turnovers) was instrumental in winning draws in the first half. Ambrose (three goals, two assists) had two tallies in the first half and scored the final goal of the half when she shot it home after receiving a centering pass from junior Sami Bautista., making it 9-5 at the half.

Crofts (six ground balls, one caused turnover) helped Staples in the possession battle through her relentless pursuit of ground balls. Nolan (four caused turnovers) wreaked havoc on Trumbull's offense through her checking.

Senior captain Kenzie Roof (three caused turnovers, two ground balls, one draw control) controlled the backfield for the Lady Wreckers.

"I had to make sure I was on my toes," Roof said. "I made sure we were talking and knew when to slide."

Junior Ali April (two caused turnovers, two draw controls, one interception) and sophomore Meredith Hood also played well defensively.

Murray opened the second-half scoring, and Bautista (two draw controls) gave Staples' its biggest lead when she scored off a feed from senior Emily Goldberg.

Shortly thereafter, Staples began its tailspin, with penalties being a factor. Trumbull scored four straight, three on man-up situations, to cut the deficit to two, 11-9.

"I think we played to a certain level, and when we had a yellow card, it hurt our tempo," Lady Wreckers co-head coach Stacy Fierce said. "If our girls don't play transition defense, they put our goalie in a bad spot."

Roof said, "Our defense wasn't on its game. We have to work on things in practice, and if we do, we'll be fine."

Staples junior Kirsten Flicker helped limit the damage and made six saves.

Ambrose broke the run with 8:44 left in the game, but that only gave the Lady Wreckers a temporary reprieve. Senior Maeve Flaherty gave Staples a chance to break it open after winning the ensuing draw.

"It was hunger, and I really wanted the ball," Flaherty said. "When you want the ball that badly, you put everything into it."

Lady Eagle junior goalie Ari Matz (11 saves) had other plans. Matz robbed Crofts, Nolan and senior Adele Mackey (one caused turnover, one ground ball) to keep game close.

Trumbull cut the deficit to one, 12-11 and 13-12. Senior Lisa Pulie and junior Carly Goroff led the Lady Eagles with five goals each.

After Pulie made it 13-12 with 1:52 to go, Flaherty (six draw controls, five ground balls) won the draw. And 30 seconds later, Murray circled around the net and scored to give the Lady Wreckers breathing room.

"I wanted to make sure we won, and I did what I could to help the team," Murray said. "At the end, we played hard to win the game and didn't want to lose."

Crofts said, "It was definitely too close for comfort, but in the end, we showed we can possess the ball, which is important."

Flaherty (three goals, one caused turnover one interception) won the ensuing draw, and Staples possessed the ball the rest of the way. With eight seconds left, Flaherty scored.

"Our frustration of the score not being what we wanted it to be motivated me," Flaherty said.

Fierce said, "Their goalie had a great game and took the tempo from us, but Maeve took it back."

Although the Lady Wreckers were victorious, they know this type of effort won't suffice in their quest to win the Class L title. Defending Class L champion Greenwich won 20-6 at Trumbull April 12, and Staples knows it has to play much better against Greenwich May 4 and in the playoffs.

"We need to make adjustments," Schager said. "Paige played a great game, and Maeve played a great game. We played a much better game against [top-ranked] Darien [a 14-10 loss April 10]. We only had a small lapse against Darien and had a longer lapse against Trumbull."

Health will also play a role for the Lady Wreckers.

"One of the things about this team is that we haven't jelled yet between illnesses and injuries," Schager said. "The roles keep changing, but hopefully, we'll develop consistency and be able to take it to Greenwich."