WESTPORT -- The Staples High boys soccer team is handling its busy stretch of five matches in seven days quite well.

The Wreckers netted four goals in the first half and rolled past Harding 7-0 on Monday afternoon at Loeffler Field for their fifth straight win.

"There's some fatigue but our guys believe in themselves, they believe in what we're doing. It certainly is nice to put it away early and give the reserves some much-deserved time," said head coach Dan Woog, whose team jumped ahead 1-0 in the eighth minute on senior Noah Bender's first of two goals.

Bender, who scored four times in a 7-0 win over Trinity Catholic on Saturday, also scored in the 10th minute off an assist from junior Diego Alanis to put his team up 2-0.

In the 13th minute, senior Matthew Liebergall scored on a penalty kick to make it 3-0. Junior Jack Scott netted the fourth goal off Alanis' second assist of the match to leave Staples in complete control heading into halftime.

Staples, which hovered close to .500 for the season's first three weeks, improved to 8-3-1 (25 points) and further enhanced its position in the FCIAC. The Wreckers entered the afternoon tied with Danbury for the seventh spot in the eight-team playoff field.

"The momentum is definitely there," Woog said. "We're in a rhythm which we didn't have before--a rhythm both on the field and in terms of games and training. We've got a good mix of young and old and the guys really believe in themselves."

Woog, whose team came into the season with just two returning starters, explained that he's pleased with the progress the young players have made.

"We like the young guys a lot. ... They're coming through nicely," he said.

The Wreckers built a commanding 18-9 advantage in shots on the afternoon and finished strong with their reserves on the pitch.

Senior Ryan Petersen made it 5-0 in the 66th minute and he headed in a cross from senior Andrew Travers just six minutes later for his second goal of the match. Travers capped the scoring with 1:42 left.

Senior goalkeeper James Hickok (five saves in the first half) and freshman reserve Noah Schwaeber combined for the Wreckers' third straight shutout, and eighth this season.

dbonjour@scni.com; 203-255-4561 ext. 114; twitter.Com/DougBonjour


HARDING 0 0--0

STAPLES 4 3--7

Records: Harding 1-12; Staples 8-3-1.

Goals: S--Noah Bender 2, Ryan Petersen 2, Matthew Liebergall, Jack Scott, Andrew Travers. Assists: S--Diego Alanis 2, Harry Birch, Travers, Bender. Goalies: H--Bebeto Benjamin (9 saves); S--James Hickok (5 saves); Noah Schwaeber (2). Shots: H--9; S--18.