Staples boys lacrosse gets past Wilton
Led by its defense, the Staples boys lacrosse team has been in every game it has played this season. Another dominating performance from their backline gave the Wreckers another notch in the win column with just three games before the playoffs begin.
Jumping out to a 4-0 first quarter lead, the Wreckers stifled Wilton in delivering a 7-4 win on Saturday. Staples improved to 10-3 this spring, with all three losses coming in overtime to teams near the top of a crowded FCIAC standings.
"The coaches always stress that the only way we're going to win is to communicate," said long pole midfielder Isaac Paparo, who spearheaded the defense with several forced turnovers. "When we communicate, we hold teams, and when we hold teams we win because our offense is handling it."
Connor Chamberlin led the offensive effort with a hat trick, and head coach Paul McNulty earned a second straight win over his former team. McNulty spend 30 years at Wilton, including 13 as head coach.
"The defense has played well," McNulty said. "They've faced some tough teams with good shooters. Today they played a great game and kept us in the entire game."
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The Wreckers took advantage of rebounds to jump out the early lead. Freshman Evan Zinn converted a defense-splitting pass from Ross Goldberg for the game's first goal with 7:17 left in the period before Chamberlin capitalized on a pair of rebounds to strike twice in a 1:24 span to push the lead to 3-0. Michael Reale finished off the quarter on a positive note with an individual effort with three seconds left.
"That was important (to build an early lead)," McNulty said. "Our attack did a good job, Reale I think played one of his best games."
The Wreckers haven't yielded more than nine goals in a game yet this season. Staples almost pitched a first half shutout Saturday, but Wilton's Jared Gladstein scored with 47.1 seconds left in the second quarter to make it 5-1 Staples at the half.
Wilton got back in the game in the third quarter as goals by Michael Lynch and Reid Melillo made it 6-3 heading into the final 12 minutes. Staples wrapped up the win with 8:29 left in the game when Zinn capitalized on a forced turnover by Reale to score.
"They got three goals off rebounds," Wilton coach John Wiseman said. "They did a good job of pressuring us but we have to do a better job of getting off shots."
The game was part of the school's annual Sticks for Soldiers event, which included several pregame ceremonies. There was a Presentation of Colors by the Naval Submarine School from New London and a speech my Mike Hayes, a former Commanding Officer of SEAL Team TWO and Westport resident.
"That is major for us, Commander Hayes has spoken to us multiple times," McNulty said. "He mentioned a good lesson that we're not playing for ourselves, we're playing for our teammates."
WILTON 0 1 2 1--4
STAPLES 4 1 1 1--7
Records: Wilton 5-7; Staples 10-3.
Scoring: W--Jared Gladstein (1 g); Michael Lynch (1 g); Reid Melillo (1 g); Charles McGovern (1 g, 2 a). S--Evan Zinn (2 g); Ross Goldberg (1 g, 2 a); Connor Chamberlin (3 g); Isaac Paparo (1 a); Michael Reale (1 g, 1 a). Goalies: W--Jameson Hill (9 saves); S--Peter Burger (10 saves). Shots: W--23; S--25.