Victory looked imminent for the Staples girls soccer team on Tuesday. Staples outplayed host St. Joseph in the pouring rain and had a 1-0 lead with time running out. St. Joseph was awarded a free kick with 40 seconds left and shot it before the referee blew the whistle. The Lady Wreckers felt it shouldhave been a goalie kick but instead, the Cadettes got to attempt the free kick again and Katie Denneher kicked it home to tie it, 1-1.

"It was frustrating because the girls played an awesome game and worked hard," Lady Wreckers Coach Nikki Ross said. "But by the same token, we have to leave the field with our heads held high because we played a good game."

With the tie, Staples moved its record to 3-1-3. St. Joseph was 5-1-2 after the tie.

"The whole team worked hard today, especially the outside backs, who had to do a lot of running today and they were awesome," Lady Wreckers senior tri-captain Kelly Bohling said. "Every single game, we take something out of it and work on it in practice. We're not a perfect team and a tie is better than a loss. We may have bad luck and hopefully, we'll get it out of our system before the playoffs."

Senior tri-captain Shannon Moss said, "I think we played very well and we were unlucky in the end. The defense played well. I think we were stronger than them this year and played a lot better than them. It's unfortunate we couldn't come out with the win and we should have."

Staples dominated play and outshot the Cadettes, 13-4 in the first half, 18-6 overall. The Lady Wreckers had a 6-2 advantage in corner kicks. Senior tri-captain Jaclyn Katz and juniors Abbey Lake and Ali Crofts relentlessly attacked the net in the first half and each had golden scoring opportunities, but were stopped by St. Joseph goalie Ali Meehan (eight saves). Staples also missed a few open shots and had trouble finishing.

"We had more opportunities and could have scored more goals," Katz said.

The speedy Katz is the Lady Wreckers' go-to player on offense. She was their leading scorer and an All-Stater last year but because opponents are aware of her talents, they guard her tightly and she faces the type of defenses that a 1,000-point scorer in basketball would face on the hardcourt.

"We were marked very tightly and I had a difficult time getting by them," Katz said. "I do the best I can and I try not to let it get to me. In practice, I work on creating new moves and running off of the defender."

Bohling, classmate Lauren Kratky and sophomore Siri Andrews anchored Staples' defense and kept the ball away from junior goalie Jessie Ambrose (five saves)

Moss, who played defensive center midfield when the Lady Wreckers were in a 3-4-3 alignment, won balls in the midfield and when they switched to a 3-3-4, she was instrumental in bolstering the backfield.

Senior Nikki Brill and juniors Abby Fagan and Shannon Lesch won the 50-50 balls in the midfield and helped Staples possess the ball.

Fagan scored off a free kick with 20 minutes left in the game to give the Lady Wreckers a 1-0 lead.

"It felt really good to score and it was exciting," Fagan said. "I just aimed for the back post and it went in."

Although she may have faced a little pressure, it didn't affect her confidence and she remained poised in taking the kick.

"I knew if it didn't go in, my teammates would go in for the rebound," Fagan said.

Staples kept the pressure on Meehan but couldn't add a second goal. Overall, the Lady Wreckers felt good about their performance.

"We played a great game and I'm proud of how we played," Katz said. "We'll come out strong the next time and hopefully, have a better result."

Despite feeling disappointed over the tie, Staples hopes to turn it into a positive.

"We have too many ties but may face them in FCIACs and this makes us want to beat them so much more," Katz said.

Moss said, "We're frustrated right now but it will motivate us to go out harder and get the win."

Staples played at undefeated Fairfield Warde yesterday after press time, plays at Weston tomorrow at 7 p.m. and hosts Norwalk on Monday at 10 a.m.