Staples fall sports wrapup
Published 9:19 am, Tuesday, November 25, 2014
After the Staples football team completes its season on Thursday against Greenwich, the 2013 fall season will be completed.
It was a season that saw outstanding individual achievements, and a girls soccer team that shocked the conference and the state in a memorable run
Here's a look back at the 2014 fall season and the Westport News picks for most valuable players on each team.
Girls Cross Country
MVP: Erica Hefnawy
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Recap: Despite the season-long absence of Hannah DeBalsi, the Wreckers still piled up wins in dual meets. The Wreckers missed out on a division title with a defeat to Ridgefield Oct. 7, but DeBalsi returned for the postseason and led the Wreckers to the FCIAC Championship Oct. 20. It was far from a one-runner show, however. Teammate Erica Hefnawy finished second and four Wreckers placed in the top 10. Susannah Martin crossed the line in 15:14 for seventh and Katharine Smith (15:15) finished eighth.
Staples went on to place second in the Class LL (18:14) meet and third at the State Open (17:59), meets that DeBalsi also won. Hefnawy placed third and 11th in those events. DeBalsi went on to win the New England championship (17:58) as the team placed sixth. All of the postseason meets took place at Wickham Park in Manchester.
DeBalsi still has national aspirations, and will attempt to qualify for the Foot Locker national meet she finished second at in 2013.
Boys Cross Country
MVP: Oliver Hickson
Recap: The Wreckers missed out on an FCIAC title by the narrowest of margins this fall, losing by a single place to Danbury (58-59) at New Canaan's Waveny Park Oct. 20. Led by a deep roster, Staples had five runners in the 17 at the meet. Oliver Hickson's fifth-place finish led the way, but Jake Berman (10th), James Lewis (12th), Brandon Harrington (15th) and Ben Foster (17th) weren't far behind. The top 15 finishers of both boys and girls FCIAC races were named first team All-FCIAC.
The group went on to place fifth at the Class LL meet and third at the State Open. Hickson recorded top-10 finishes in both races, and placed 12th at the New England meet to help Staples to fourth overall, just 10 points behind runner-up Danbury.
MVP: Elizabeth Bennewitz
Recap: After winning just seven games a year ago, the Wreckers made a great leap forward and found themselves in contention for FCIAC and state titles. Staples won its first five games and eventually earned the No. 3 seed in the conference tournament. The Wreckers edged Ridgefield in the quarterfinals, but fell 3-0 to Darien in the semis. Staples met Ridgefield again in the Class L first round, and defeated the Tigers for a third time this fall. The season ended with a 1-0 loss to Glastonbury in the quarterfinals against a Tomahawks team that hadn't given up a goal all season.
Midfielders Elizabeth Bennewitz and Meg Fay earned first team All-FCIAC honors.
MVP: Lydia Shaw
Many underestimated the Wreckers heading into the season after the team hadn't won a postseason game in more than two years. But after jumping out to a 7-0-1 start, the rest of the FCIAC took notice.
A winless four-game stretch against the conferences' best did little to slow the Wreckers' momentum, and the team would enter the FCIAC playoffs on a four game unbeaten run. Staples comfortably defeated Wilton and New Canaan in the first two rounds, and met Fairfield Warde in the final. After 100 minutes, the teams couldn't be separated in a 1-1 tie and the two were declared co-champions.
Staples encountered Wilton again in the Class LL second round and came away with a dramatic 1-0 overtime win on a muddy Loeffler Field. The Wreckers met Glastonbury in the quarterfinals but couldn't overcome the top-seeded Tomahawks.
On the field, the Wreckers posed the perfect combination, especially in the center of the field. Meg Root and Sally McGee patrolled the defense, Chloe Rosenfield and Maggie Walsh were impenetrable in midfield and Charlotte Rossi and Lydia Shaw -- An All-FCIAC first team caliber player that was left off the list -- came up with the clutch goals.
Lauren Garcia and Root made All-FCIAC first team.
MVP: Michael Reid
Recap: Many Staples boys soccer teams have had their seasons end with championships and individual accolade. While the 2014 edition didn't capture a trophy, its season was just as memorable.
Overall, it was an up-and-down fall for the Wreckers, who won their final four three games to qualify for the FCIAC playoffs. The Wreckers, playing the rare role of underdog, shocked No. 2 Danbury in the FCIAC quarterfinals before pushing Greenwich to the limit in a 3-2, semifinal loss.
Staples regrouped for the Class LL tournament and pulled off a 3-0 upset over East Harford in the first round. The Wreckers then faced West Haven, and stunned the hosts with a memorable comeback from 3-1 down with 17 minutes left to claim a 4-3 win.
The tournament would come to a close with a 2-0 loss to Darien in the quarterfinals.
During the regular season, Staples overcame a 3-0 first half deficit to defeat Ridgefield 4-3.
The injury bug bit the Wreckers at points of the season, including senior captain Andrew Puchala, who missed the postseason.
MVP: Mia Bullock
Recap: After losing Verity Abel to graduation, the Wreckers expected to take a step back
Staples placed fourth at the FCIAC championships thanks to a host of top-four finishes.
The highlight of the season for the Wreckers was placing second at the Class LL meet at Wesleyan University. Bullock won two events -- the 200 IM and the 100 butterfly that night, while Aileen Coyne finished second in the 200 freestyle.
Staples finished with an eighth place effort at the State Open, highlighted by Bullock's win in the 100 butterfly.
Bullock and Coyne were named All-FCIAC first teamers.
MVP: Kaela O'Kelly
Recap: The Wreckers missed out on the FCIAC playoffs by one game despite turning over almost their entire roster.
The highlight of the season was a comeback victory over Trinity Catholic that helped the team advance to the state tournament. After dropping the first two games 25-15 and 25-9, the Wreckers stormed back and won the next three games in close fashion.
Staples was swept out of the first round of States by Trumbull.
Elizabeth Knoll was named third team All-FCIAC.