Penalty corners can be a field hockey team’s best friend, especially in a close game.

Colleen Bannon and her Staples High School teammates can certainly attest to that.

The opportunistic Bannon scored a pair of goals off penalty corners to propel Staples to a hard-fought 2-0 victory over Greenwich in the regular season finale for both teams at chilly Cardinal Stadium.

The Wreckers, who entered the matchup in sixth place in the FCIAC, improved to 9-5-1 overall and 9-4-1 in conference play with the victory. The Cardinals, who stood in third place in the conference are 10-4 in the FCIAC and 10-4-0-1 overall.

Bannon’s go-ahead goal came with 18 minutes, 18 seconds remaining in the first half. Cardinals senior goalie Caroline Schultz made a save on the Wreckers initial shot on goal during the penalty corner, but Bannon, positioned on the right side deep inside the circle, knocked the rebound into the left corner of the cage, making it 1-0.

“It was truly a team effort,” Bannon said. “We always practice corners a lot and the ball popped out to me and it was just my time to take the shot. Our offense did a good job of getting penalties in the circle.”

Staples held a 13-5 shots-on-goal advantage and drew seven penalty corners to Greenwich’s three.

“We played a great first half, but I thought they outplayed us in the second half,” Cardinals coach Ally Orrico said. “They beat us to the ball. In field hockey, it’s a matter of who is going to get to the ball first and possess the ball and they beat us to it. They set the tempo in the second half.”

Leading 1-0, the Wreckers increased their edge at the 12:16 mark of the second half, thanks to another penalty corner. Bannon was on the scene again, getting her stick on the ball during a scramble in front of the goal, then tallying.

“This was a big win for us,” Bannon said. “We might be sixth in the league, but this shows on any given day, anyone can beat a higher seed. Our offense did a great job of keeping it on their end most of the second half.”

Schultz made 11 saves in goal for Greenwich, which was paced defensively by seniors Cate Decker and Caroline Stinebaugh.

“It was an equal game, they just had a little more energy,” Decker said. “I think this loss will motivate us for the playoffs. The next few practices before the playoffs are going to be a lot of hard work for us. We have to put 100 percent in everything we do, because these games coming up are not going to be easy.”

Both teams created some scoring chances in the opening half with senior Jordan Ragland helping lead the Wreckers attack and junior Paige Mautner and senior Erika Hvolbeck sparking Greenwich.

“Our pressure was phenomenal,” Staples coach Ian Tapsall said. “We have a lot of lacrosse players on our team that we are converting into field hockey players and they do have a lot of aggression, which is what we need. We just got on top of them in the second half.”

Sophomore center midfielder Christine Taylor also ignited the visitors.

“The second we felt we needed to pass more and have precise passes, not just hit and run,” Taylor said. “We are working on making hard passes to the corners, so we can get up to the baseline and score goals.”

Said Tapsall: “She (Taylor) gets to a lot of 50/50 balls. At the end of the first half we moved her up to attacking mid from defensive mid and it helped us.”

Both squads begin play in the FCIAC Tournament at the end of the week.

“I believe this loss is a good learning experience for us,” Orrico said. “It shows that we can’t afford to have let-downs and in the game, we have to implement the things we need to do to win.”; 203-625-4423


STAPLES 0 2 — 2


Goals: S — Colleen Bannon 2; Goalies: S — Jodie Baris (5 saves); G — Caroline Schultz (11 saves).

Records: Staples 9-5-1; Greenwich 10-4-0-1.