Lady Wreckers boot Darien convincingly
Wakeman field suits the Staples girls soccer team perfectly.
Staples, who plays at Loeffler Field but usually practices at Wakeman, had its Friday home game against Darien switched to Wakeman because grassy Loeffler was saturated because of the overnight rain. The Lady Wreckers, who possess a lot speed, used the turf to their advantage in a 4-0 victory over Darien.
Staples raised its record to 5-3-2. The Lady Blue Wave dropped to 6-2-2 and saw their five game (4-0-1) unbeaten streak snapped.
"We practice on this field 90 percent of the time and took advantage of it," Lady Wreckers coach Nikki Ross said. "They know this field and used it to their advantage."
Staples typically starts out slow but not Friday. The Lady Wreckers led 3-0 at the half.
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"It was good to finally see them come out strong in the first half and not have to fight back," Ross said.
It seems like wearing the No. 12 is synonymous for scoring goals and attacking the net. That was the uniform number Columbia University forward Jaclyn Katz' wore last year before she graduated, and current junior Turner Block now wears No. 12. Block is the team's leading scorer and netted two goals in the victory.
Block gave Staples a 1-0 lead with 26:40 remaining in the half off a breakaway down the right corner after receiving a pass from sophomore Gea Mitas.
"The goalie came out and I took it to the far corner," Block said.
Lake made it 2-0 after receiving a long pass from senior captain Abby Fagan.
"Fagan and I won it in the middle," Lake said. "She fed me a great ball and the goalie gave me almost the whole goal and pushed it in."
One minute later, Block tucked it into the bottom of the net off a feed from Lake to make it 3-0.
"It was off a pass from Abbey, I got it, turned and hit it off the foot and went over the keeper's head," Block said. "It was a lucky goal."
Junior Siri Andrews and senior Alex Wiener led the Lady Wreckers' defense and won many balls for them. Seniors Colleen McCarthy, Katie Ambrose and Lisa Shirafuji, junior Julia Tziolis and freshman Megan Root made the plays on defense for Staples, and deftly protected senior captain goalie Jessie Ambrose (seven saves).
"We have a great defense, and all of our backs are great," Wiener said. "We've struggled in the beginning [of the season] but we've been playing well as a team."
Wiener made the defensive play of the game when Darien had an open shot in the second half and she kicked it out to preserve the shutout.
"I'm not sure what happened, it took a little bit of luck and a little bit of skill," Wiener said. "I was in the right place at the right time."
"It was a nice cross and I headed it in," Kirshner said. "We work well together and it's nice to get a goal on my birthday [she turned 17]."
Kirshner missed two games because of a nose injury and this is her second game back. She scored in both games and has scored in three straight contests (she scored on the day of the injury).
"I was anxious to get back in there and score because I work hard in practice," Kirshner said.
The Lady Wreckers outshot Darien, 14-8, and had a 5-4 edge in corner kicks. Lady Blue Wave goalie Phoebe Taylor made six saves.
"We definitely came out focused and hard, which is why we came out with a win," Lake said. "We came out with good communication and we weren't going to let any team or the weather stop us."
Beating a quality Darien team also helps and gives Staples confidence.
"It goes to show how interesting the dynamics are in the league, and if we come out the way we did, we have the potential to do anything, and I hope we can keep it up," Ross said.