The Staples High girls lacrosse team had plenty to evaluate after falling 15-7 to Ridgefield in its last game Friday.
If the Wreckers' immediate response is any evidence, they appear to be right back on track.
Jenna McNicholas (four goals, one assist) and Ryan Kirschner (three goals, one assist) led a first-half blitz as Staples scored 11 unanswered goals en route to a 19-4 over Westhill on Tuesday at Virginia Parker Field.
Freshman Kathryn Lesch and sophomore Nicole Najarian each netted hat tricks for the Wreckers (2-1), who fielded their entire team as a result of the lopsided score. The Wreckers outscored the Vikings 14-1 in the first half, providing plenty of opportunity for the underclassmen to make their mark.
"It's a young team that's really starting to come together," Staples coach Peter Najarian said. "We had a tough loss to Ridgefield and a great practice this week after that loss. They are absolutely a coachable group that is going to continue to work hard and develop as a team, and develop an offense that is a functional offense."
The Wreckers jumped on the Vikings early and often, scoring three times in the first four minutes and nine times in the first 12 minutes. Kirschner led the charge from midfield, using her vision and athletic ability to set up teammates and get to the net to finish the chances that came her way.
"When Ryan is on the field, it forces the other team to really key on her," Najarian said. "One of the things we are working with Ryan is taking advantage when she gets double teamed; seeing the open person and drawing the double team and making the pass. She's an incredible competitor and a tough kid."
Kirschner is far from Staples' only weapon, however. Nine different Wreckers found the back of the cage Tuesday, thanks to an improved approach at the offensive end of the field.
"We really wanted to work on developing an offense that is a team offense, trying to get everyone involved, and I think we did a good job of that," Najarian said. "It was a great game to work on all the offensive sets that are important for us to prepare for games like Darien (Friday)."
Kirschner echoed her coach's sentiment regarding running an offense as a team.
"We made a few plays that targeted Paige (Murray) being a great feeder and me being able to cut. We effectively ran every play we tried to run," Kirschner said. "We had a lot of movement on offense and were always giving 110 percent on each cut and each feed. We knew we had to work together."
The victory in its home-opener should provide a confidence boost for Staples after falling to Ridgefield. The Wreckers face rival Darien (Friday), New Milford and St. Joseph in the span of five days -- all at home.
"I think we set a new tone today," Kirschner said. "We had a nice team talk thinking about where we want to go and what we want to do this season. I do think Ridgefield will be the lowest part of the season because we know how good we can be, and when we don't work together how bad we can be."
Ryan Lacey is a freelance writer
STAPLES 19, WESTHILL 4
WESTHILL 1 3 -- 4
STAPLES 14 5 -- 19
Records: Westhill 0-3; Staples 2-1.
Scoring: W -- Lindsay Bagwin (1g), Ally Fahey (2g), Mackenzie Eisen (1g). S -- Paige Murray (2g, 1a), Jenna McNicholas (4g), Sami Bautista (1g), Molly O'Shea (1g, 2a), Kathryn Lesch (3g,1a), Nicole Najarian (3g), Jessica Adrian (1a), Brittany Healy (1g), Siobhan (1g), Ryan Kirschner (3g, 1a). Goalies: W -- Jordon Lytton-Smith (6 saves), Devon Pearson (1); S -- Emma Boland (2) Kirsten Flicker (2).