Clinging to a 1-0 lead through the half, the Staples High School field hockey team went on a second-half scoring spree and held on for a 4-3 win over visiting Stamford on Tuesday night. The Wreckers improved to 3-2-0-1 and Stamford, despite a valiant late-game comeback effort, slipped to 1-5-1.

The Wreckers got two goals from Jenna McNicholas to lead the way. Elizabeth Bennewitz and Meg Fay both had two

assists in the win.

Staples coach Ashley DelVecchio was pleased with the way her team members worked together and passed the ball.

"We went back to basics yesterday at practice," said DelVecchio, adding that shooting and passing were areas the team needed to improve upon.

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Staples assistant coach Kristin Schulz added, "Simple parts of the game that you can't build on unless you've almost mastered them."

Staples scored early in the first half when Isabelle Pieper hit the back of the cage just 4:37 into the action. Bennewitz assisted the play.

It took the Wreckers just 3:10 to find the net again after halftime. Fay carried the ball down the right side and set up McNicholas for a 2-0 lead.

Stamford came back with one of its best scoring chances to that point, and continued to apply pressure on the Wreckers for the next seven or so minutes. Staples junior varsity goaltender Jess Gross, called up for the varsity start because the starter was out sick, faced her first shot early in the second half and made the save.

Bennewitz sent a ball into the front of the goal and Jordan Ragland knocked it home for a 3-0 lead with 10:07 to go.

It took Stamford exactly one minute to respond and trim the deficit back to a pair. Staples answered back only 23 seconds later to reestablish the three-goal bulge. Fay rushed down the left side and drove to the net. McNicholas followed up the play and -- while on one knee and going to the ground -- swatted the ball up high, just inside the left post from a sharp angle in close.

Stamford made it 4-2 by capitalizing on another penalty corner with 4:11 left, and made things very interesting when Niesen got behind the Wrecker defense and pushed the ball home on a breakaway with 1:26 showing on the scoreboard clock.

"We definitely got some momentum later on in the game, which was great," Stamford coach Kerry Leonard said. "I'm happy with the way we never gave up and we kept fighting."

DelVecchio said Staples had some breakdowns from the forwards on back to the defenders, in which gaps left Stamford with passing lanes.

Stamford goaltender Lesly Sanchez made several big saves to keep her team in the game, coming up with nine stops when all was said and done. The Staples defense had a bend but don't break performance and Gross ended up with the one stop. Stamford finished with a 5-3 advantage in penalty corners.

Staples had an 11-4 shots edge.

"We had a ton of opportunities. We're still drawn to the other goalie," Schulz said of her team's propensity to get scoring chances that are denied. "But they had the shots, which is important."