Staples coasts past Greenwich in field hockey
WESTPORT—The season could not have started any brighter for the Staples field hockey team.
A day after slamming Barlow 5-0 to open the regular season, the Wreckers went one better and beat FCIAC rival Greenwich 6-0 in equally dominating fashion on Saturday. Gabriela Vega and Liv Ekholt each scored for the Wreckers, who have made a statement with their early season success.
“The effort was ridiculous,” said Staples coach Ian Tapsall said. “They were all outstanding today.”
A focus on fitness in the preseason paid off in the second half as Staples scored four goals after the break including two in the last 2:30 of the game.
“Temperatures like this when it’s 90 degrees, I think you see our girls are very fit,” Tapsall said. “We’ve been working on that in preseason and it shows in the end. If you can rely on 11 players who are all equally fit I think it works.”
The Wreckers put on pressure from the onset and won the game’s first five penalty corners. Gabriela Vega poked home a shot off a penalty corner with 17:50 left in the first half to finally break the deadlock.
Bannon scored 10 minutes later for Staples to take a 2-0 lead into halftime.
Ekholt provided the highlight of the game midway through the second half when she fired a cross ball from a sharp angle that cleared every stick and went into the back of the cage.
Staples sophomore Bridget Mulloy made three saves for the shutout.
“Staples is an excellent team,” Greenwich coach Ally Orrico said. “They were relentless with pressure to the ball and absolutely tenacious with their defense and they built their attack well.”
Greenwich (0-1), which lost 2-0 to Staples at the end of the regular season in 2015, was playing its game Saturday. Replacing a host of starters from last year's 11-7 squad, Orrico said the chemistry was still a work in progress.
“We have a lot of new players and we have to learn to gel together,” Orrico said. “We have a very talented team of individuals; we have to put that individual work into our team concepts.”
The Wreckers now have a string of five games against teams outside the top of the FCIAC pecking order before a showdown at New Canaan on Sept. 27.
“If we play like we did today we’ll be in decent shape,” Tapsall said. “We have to make sure we’re up for the games people might say will be less hard. We have to make sure our team injury free.”
STAPLES 6, GREENWICH 0
GREENWICH 0 0—0
STAPLES 2 4—6
Records: Greenwich 0-1; Staples 2-0.
Goals: S—Colleen Bannon, Liv Eckholt 2, Gabriela Vega 2, Alexis Bernard. Goalies: S—Bridget Mulloy (3 saves); G—Emily Gunzberg (5 saves).