Staples girls soccer clinches FCIAC playoff berth
WESTPORT—For the Staples girls soccer team, its objective against Danbury was perfectly clear. Win, and the Wreckers would qualify for the FCIAC tournament and get the opportunity to defend their title.
Behind a goals from Brynly Marsh and Lydia Shaw, Staples (9-6-1) fended off the Hatters 2-0 on Tuesday afternoon to earn a spot in the eight-team playoffs. A year after drawing Warde for a share of the FCIAC title, the Wreckers needed a win on the final day to qualify.
“We went into it knowing this was a game we had to win in order to get to FCIACs,” Marsh said. “We were really excited because it was our last home game. Most of our team is healthy now, which we weren’t for a lot of the season.
After a nervy start from both teams, Marsh provided the breakthrough with 16:13 left in the first half. Junior winger Ivy Prince crossed the bar to Marsh — just one of two seniors on the team — who had time to place a shot into the corner of the net.
“I was just trying to place it,” Marsh said. “(Danbury goalie Rachael DeBellis) was pretty good and saved a few before; I knew I had to rip it and find the corner.”
The lead was 1-0 for nearly 50 minutes as the Wreckers poured on the pressure looking for the goal to end the match. They finally got the breakthrough with 7:23 left from one of their most dangerous players. Lydia Shaw — who hit the crossbar and had a one-on-one chance saved within 30 seconds of one another — sent in a cross that deflected off the hands of the Danbury goalie and into the net.
“You’re starting to think it better come soon,” Staples coach Barry Beattie said. “That gave us that little bit of a breather.”
The Hatters opened the second half with an extra forward player and had opportunities to claim a goal that would have ended the Wreckers’ season. Staples goalies Camryn Ragland and Anna Sivinski played each half and combined on the shutout.
“We showed up, we were ready to play and gave everything we had,” said Danbury coach Jessica Halas. “We had a couple of dangerous opportunities, and we didn’t capitalize. That’s been the story of our season.”
The best chance came in the first half almost immediately after Marsh’s goal. An attacking player fired over from inside the six-yard box after a frantic scramble.
The season ended on a sour note for the Hatters (4-8-2), who dropped their last five games without scoring a goal.
“It’s been tough getting results, we haven’t,” Halas said. “We’ve had a hard time all year scoring goals.”
To advance past the first round of the playoffs, the Wreckers will likely have to dethrone St. Joseph or Warde, the two dominant teams in the league this fall.
“It’s going to take hard work, desire and start converting some chances,” Beattie said. “It would be nice to start scoring some goals with the amount of chances we create in games.”
STAPLES 2, DANBURY 0
DANBURY 0 0 — 0
STAPLES 1 1 — 2
Goals: S — Brynly Marsh, Lydia Shaw; Assists: S—Ivy Prince. Goalies: D—Rachael DeBellis (7 saves); S—Camryn Ragland (3 saves), Anna Sivinski (2 saves). Records: Danbury 4-8-2; Staples 9-6-1.