Staples girls soccer tied by Fairfield Warde

Fairfield Warde girls soccer coach Tom Cunningham would not care to wonder what the final score would have in his team's game on Tuesday if not for goalkeeper Katie Brennan.

Staples coach Nicole Ross, on the other hand, would.

The sophomore goalie stopped 14 shots -- six in the second half -- as the Mustangs tied Staples 1-1 on Tuesday at Fairfield Warde High School.

"Katie (Brennan) made some big stops for us," Cunningham said. "She came up big for us."

Junior Turner Block scored Staples' lone goal on a header in the 72nd minute. Staples goalkeeper Jessie Ambrose stopped five shots, including her lunging save on Warde's Emily Pullen in the final minute to clinch the draw for Staples.

"We can always count on Ambrose in the back," Ross said. "We can always trust her."

Warde's lone tally came from Keegan Thimons, who potted her four goal of the season, but first since the Mustangs' second game.

"I took all my frustration on the ball and just shot it passed her," Thimons said. "It was so nice to finally get back on track."

The game was emotional for both sides, as it was littered with fouls, perceived blown calls, and even a disallowed Staples goal in the second half when a Wreckers player was whistled for interfering with Brennan.

"Both teams fought to the end of the game," Ross said. "It was definitely exciting to watch."

"It was hard fought," Cunningham said.

Brennan stopped eight shots in the first half, including two at point blank range that kept the Wreckers off the scoreboard midway through the first frame.

"She had an awesome game," Thimons said.

The Mustangs countered, and Thimons stole the ball, crossed around a Staples defender and ripped a shot passed Ambrose to put the Mustangs ahead 1-0 in the 37th minute.

Further frustrating Staples was its inability to capitalize on free kicks, until the Wreckers goal. Megan Root served a long lob into the box that Block headed by Brennan and tied the game with just 8:57 left in the contest.

"I was lucky to be there," Block said. "The cross was amazing."

Staples controlled the possession for most of the second half, but Brennan was there to stymie any other opportunities Staples had. The Wreckers missed shots high and wide as well as Staples outshot Warde 19-11.

"We had a lot of opportunities," Block said. "We were unfortunate that we didn't finish on more."

The Mustangs were pleased to get a draw against one of the best teams in the FCIAC. Warde will have two days of practice off because of Rosh Hashanah before it meets crosstown rival Ludlowe on Saturday at 4 p.m.

"Coming away with a point against a quality opponent, there's a lot to take away from this game," Cunningham said. "(Ludlowe) is always a tough game."

The Wreckers will play again on Saturday as well when they'll host St. Joseph at 2:30 p.m.