Katz scores twice in leading Staples to 2-0 Class LL victory
Junior Jaclyn Katz and sophomore Abby Lake are becoming an offensive dynamic duo for the Staples girls soccer team. Katz had two goals and Lake added two assists on Monday in 17th-seeded Staples' 3-0 victory at 16th-seeded Manchester. The Lady Wreckers raised their record to 9-7-1. Manchester finished its season at 9-7-1.
"I thought we came out strong, got flat and finished strong," said Staples coach Brian Scott. "Taking everything into consideration, this was a game we thought we could win."
Katz and Lake combined for the first goal only 53 seconds into the game with Katz kicking home Lake's pass to give the Lady Wreckers a 1-0 lead.
"It was a perfect ball by Abby and we knew we had to come out strong at the beginning of the game," said Katz.
Lake said, "Jaclyn made a great run. I saw her and I couldn't take another defender and saw she had a better shot than me."
Staples dominated the game, outshooting the Lady Indians, 18-3. The Lady Wreckers had an 8-2 advantage in corner kicks. If it weren't for Manchester sophomore goalie Michelle Rosignol (11 saves), Staples would have had a bigger lead throughout the game.
Lake had many opportunities, only to be thwarted by Rosignol.
:Jaclyn and I have worked well on finishing up top," said Lake.
Juniors Kelly Bohling, Nicole Rothschild and Lauren Kratky along with freshman Siri Andrews led the defense and kept the ball away from sophomore goalie Jessie Ambrose (two saves). When Ambrose needed to make a play, she was there to snag the ball.
Rothschild almost scored off a corner kick.
Senior captain Julia Byrne controlled the midfield and won many balls there. Also playing well in the midfield were juniors Nikki Brill, Shannon Moss and Julie Strickland along with sophomore Shannon Lesch, all winning balls and pushing it to Katz, Lake and senior captain attacker Kate Burke. Burke was also aggressive up top and fired a few shots on Rosignol.
Brill, who missed the last week of the season because of a concussion, was playing in her first game in a couple of weeks, almost scored off a header but was robbed by Rosignol.
"It felt great to be back on the playing field," said Brill. "I was definitely nervous before the game because I knew what we had to work on, but once I got on the field, I felt confident."
With 6:12 left in the game, Brill sent a cross to an open Katz, who slammed it high into the net from 25 yards out to extend Staples' lead to 2-0. Moreover, her second goal of the game gave the Lady Wreckers breathing room.
"We used Jaclyn's and Abby's speed to our advantage because the opposing defenders were slower than them," said Brill. "I saw Jaclyn was open, chipped it over the defenders and got it to her."
Katz said, "We had a lot of shots as a team and I tried to get the ball into the net. It was important to get another goal and I followed up on the shot."
Byrne made it 3-0 with 4:35 to go when she went down the right wing and boomed it home off a feed from Lake.
"I got a great ball from Abbey, beat the defender and got a good strike on it," said Byrne.
This was the second straight year Staples won a first round state playoff game and entered the game buoyed after taking top-seed Ridgefield to the limit in the FCIAC quarterfinals Oct. 31.
"It's definitely big and good to win a first round game," said Byrne. "Hopefully, we'll go far in the tournament. It shows we're working hard and getting better as a team."
The Lady Wreckers will play at top-seeded Glastonbury (15-0-1) today at 2 p.m.
"We're in a position where we can surprise anyone," said Scott. "Glastonbury is one of the best teams in the state and we hope we can surprise them."