Eighth-seeded Staples almost upsets Ridgefield

After qualifying for FCIACs as the eighth seed, the Staples girls soccer team gave top-seeded Ridgefield a scare on Saturday on the road. In the end, Staples fell short in double overtime, 3-2. The Lady Wreckers were extremely determined going into the game and gave it their best effort.

Before the game, Staples coach Brian Scott reminded his team that it hadn't beaten Ridgefield in four years, and how amazing it would be to win against the Lady Tigers in the FCIAC quarterfinals.

This pep talk helped Staples start off the game with very high intensity. "Everyone on the team played their hearts out, I was really impressed with the level of play," said junior Nicole Brill.

Brill was unable to play because of a concussion, but hopes to return next week in the Class LL tournament. Freshman Siri Andrews was also out because of an illness. The team had been dealing with a number of smaller injuries that had been taking a toll on the players as the season went on. Senior tri-captain Julia Byrne has been playing with a broken nose as well as an injured foot.

Despite these setbacks, the Lady Wreckers played to their highest potential, "We played exceptionally well," said Scott. "We gave it everything we had."

Staples showed its skill level by outplaying the top-seed for majority of the game.

Junior Shannon Moss scored Staples' first goal in the first half off an excellent volley on Byrne's corner kick.

Later in the first half, junior Jaclyn Katz scored after beating Ridgefield's defenders on a breakaway to give the Lady Wreckers a 2-1 halftime lead.

Staples constantly created offensive opportunities and putting pressure on Ridgefield's defense. "Shannon Moss had a really big game at defense, and [junior] Julie Strickland had a big game as a midfielder," said Scott.

"Once we scored our first goal, then came up with the second goal, we felt really good going into the locker room at half time," said sophomore goalie Jessie Ambrose.

However, Ridgefield played just as hard in the second half and the Lady Wreckers did their best to hold the lead. "We tried as hard as we could to hold onto the lead in the second half, but towards the end I thought we died down a little bit," added Ambrose.

Ridgefield did a good job pressuring the Lady Wreckers' defense and tied it 2-2 near the end of regulation, sending the game into overtime.

The first overtime went without a goal from either team. "We really tried our hardest throughout every minute of the game," said sophomore Shannon Lesch.

The game then went into a second, 10-minute, overtime period.

Nearing 110 minutes of play, the Lady Wreckers were scored upon by Ridgefield's Kelly Baker, ending the game. Although this ends the team's run in the FCIAC tournament, the team is looking forward to the Class LL tournament.

"In practice we will make sure we are continuing to do the things we have done well, along with marking the defense, and focusing on not committing fouls in our zone," said Scott.

Staples will find out its Class LL opponent tomorrow and will open the State playoffs on Monday. Go to casciac.org to see who the Lady Wreckers will play.