The first thing that both Greenwich girls soccer coach Danny Simpson and Staples coach Heather Driscoll mentioned in their post-game team talks was where the result of Thursday's game between the two schools placed them in the crowded FCIAC standings.
For good reason, because the season is quickly winding down and each side needs every point they can get to qualify for the conference tournament.
"It was a good win; third win in a row, our third straight win and clean sheet," Simpson said. "We have five games left in the season; we are going to go into each game full of confidence."
The defeat drops the Wreckers (6-6) below the Cardinals (6-4-1) in the standings. Heading into Thursday, Staples held one of the final playoff spots with Greenwich two points behind.
"We'll see how important this game turns out to be," Driscoll said. "We just really need to push in the last four games now. We have to win out to give us a chance; we have to come out with intensity."
The Greenwich defense, led by captain Caroline Markowitz, stifled the Staples for most of the contest. Goalie Kylie Ginsberg made six saves for her seventh shutout of the season, mostly on shots from distance.
"We had a really good focus throughout the entire game," Markowitz said. "We had good pressure cover, talking to each other. It was mainly staying focused for 80 minutes."
After a first half that saw few chances on net, Warner opened the scoring with 10 minutes left in the opening period. The senior picked up the ball just inside the Wreckers half and dribbled towards goal. As the defense continued to back up, Warner let fly from 35 yards out and placed the shot perfectly into the top corner.
"We didn't get into a rhythm," Driscoll said. "We had a few too many unnecessary turnovers and we couldn't create tat flow of knocking the ball around and good movement off the ball. Once (Greenwich) put one away we struggled to get back."
Giannuzzi sealed the win with 13 minutes left in the game. After being denied by the post in the first half and the crossbar in the second, Giannuzzi finished a breakaway with a left-footed shot past Staples goalie Emily Snow.
"For a coach it's nice to see a player correct her mistakes," Simpson said. "In the first half she was in, it was on her left foot and she took it right and (hit the post). In the second half it was on her left foot and she took it quickly with confidence."
The shorthanded Wreckers, who lost goalie Mary Bennewitz and Meghan Lonergan to injury in their 2-0 win over Trumbull Tuesday, have dropped four of five games. The schedule lends no breaks with Darien, Warde and Westhill still to meet Staples.
"We were a little lackadaisical today, a little flat," Driscoll said. "Greenwich came out and worked really hard and we were just a little flat."