Staples girls soccer draws with Greenwich
The opportunities were plentiful, but the goals weren’t in Friday’s girls soccer matchup between Greenwich High School and Staples.
Yet that didn’t stop the Cardinals and Wreckers from earning one important point in the standings, while maintaining their march toward a postseason berth.
After 80 minutes of intense, back-and-forth action, featuring several near-misses, Staples and Greenwich dueled to a 1-1 draw in an FCIAC game at Cardinal Stadium.
The Cardinal are 2-1-1 after the tie, while the defending FCIAC champion Wreckers stand at 3-1-1.
“It was a very good game, both teams played at a high level today,” Cardinals coach Danny Simpson said. “They are the defending FCIAC champions and a state tournament semifinalist, so the challenge was there for us and I thought we did fantastic.”
Senior Charlotte Rossi scored in the 14th minute for the Wreckers and the Cardinals countered with a tally from senior Treloara Harrisson with 11:51 remaining in the first half.
“I thought Greenwich dominated the first half, so in the second half we changed our shape to combat what they were doing,” Staples coach Barry Beattie said. “We moved one of our attacking players and used her as a center midfielder, giving us more stability in the midfield.”
The Wreckers’ first goal was a bit unconventional. Rossi’s shot from about 10 yards out on the right side deflected off the hands of GHS junior goalie Emma Barefoot, who dove to her left to get to the ball. The ball then may have hit a Greenwich defender, before settling into the left corner of the goal.
“We pushed high and put the pressure on, which helped us get in attacking position,” Rossi said. “It resulted in us getting a goal.”
Capitalizing on a set piece, the Cardinals knotted the score in the 28th minute. Senior midfielder Emily Berzolla directed her corner kick to Harrisson, who from the right corner, beat Wreckers senior goalie Anna Sivinski with a shot to the far post, making it 1-1.
Harrisson and Berzolla helped the Cards move the ball up field throughout with well-executed combinations.
“This was a very tough game,” Harrisson said. “Staples is very skilled, physical team, so the fact that we tied them shows we can go far this season. We lost to Staples last year, we lost to Wilton and we lost to Westhill. The fact that we were able to change those losses to wins and one tie can really help us get into the FCIAC Tournament based on those extra points we have been getting.”
Forwards Anna Giannuzzi and Kim Kockenmeister pressured the Wreckers in the first half, but Sivinski (13 saves) kept it a 1-1 game. Defenders Olivia Ronca and Erin McGroarty stepped up for the Wreckers.
“We have given up some sloppy goals this season, but today, I felt like they applied a lot of pressure and we defended them well,” Beattie said. “Give credit to our back four — they held up to their pressure well.”
In the second half, Rossi was just wide with her shot with 25:25 remaining, then narrowly missed sneaking one inside the left post with just 1:27 left to play. For Greenwich, defender Callie Doyle hit the left post with her attempt early in the second half.
Doyle, Amanda Yu and Katie Harford helped anchor the Cards’ solid defensive effort.
“We have been working hard to keep the back four the same and as the season is going on, we are getting stronger together,” said Doyle a senior. “So far, we have improved on all our scores from last year and we are doing well toward our goal of making the FCIAC Tournament.”
Said Berzolla: “Coming back from being down 1-0 early against a good team is a big accomplishment. It wasn’t the prettiest of games, but we fought hard, put them under pressure and got a lot of corners.”
Like the Wreckers, the Cardinals made adjustments in the second half.
“They are very athletic, so in the second half we tried to close the spaces down more and attempted to isolate their defenders with our attackers,” Simpson said. “We wanted to take more space away in the midfield.”
Barefoot was strong in goal for the Cardinals, making nine saves. Following a championship season, the Wreckers also have their sights set high this fall.
“We won the FCIAC title last year and we are really looking forward to making the same thing happen this year,” Rossi said. “Every game we are coming out hard so we can get the wins to qualify for the FCIAC Tournament and then hopefully, go all the way again. It’s tough, there are so many good teams in the FCIAC.”
GREENWICH 1, STAPLES 1
STAPLES 1 0 — 1
GREENWICH 1 0 — 1
Goals: S — Charlotte Rossi; G — Treloara Harrisson; Assists: G — Emilly Berzolla; Goalies: Anna Sivinski (13 saves); G — Emma Barefoot (9 saves). Records: Greenwich 2-1-1; Staples 3-1-1.