Staples field hockey doubles up Westhill
The Staples field hockey team entered the season concerned it would not be able to find the back of the cage enough to compete with the top teams in the FCIAC.
Early season success scoring goals is helping relieve the Wreckers' worries.
Four different players scored and goalie Jodie Baris made 11 saves -- including one on a penalty stroke in the second half -- to help Staples double up Westhill 4-2 on Monday afternoon. With the win, the Wreckers improved to 2-0 while Westhill dropped to 2-1.
With the Wreckers leading 2-1 early in the second half, Baris made a stop on a penalty stroke. Four minutes later, Meg Fay gave Staples a 3-1 lead and control of the game.
"In a shot like that it's literally just reaction," Baris said. "I work a lot on trying to keep my reaction so I can stay calm and move. I actually love feeling pressure; it keeps me focused and keeps my energy up."
The Vikings got off to a perfect start when Ashley Rich converted a scramble in front of the cage off a penalty corner 8:04 into the game. That goal prompted a Wreckers timeout and from that point forward they were a completely different outfit.
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"First they were playing individually and watching either," Staples coach Ashley Del Vecchio said. "I think after that timeout we realized we needed to get up the field and not give up on the ball."
Westhill, which had the game's first eight shots and two penalty corners, dominated the first 15 minutes and could have come away with more than one goal. Baris made a number of saves in quick succession to keep the Wreckers in the game.
"Jodie was huge today," Del Vecchio said. "She's very focused and she was huge in keeping the score what it was."
"Part of it is when the goal goes in the mentality changes real quick," Westhill coach Kevin DeAngelo said. "They start playing more defensively and when you start doing that the girls started to pull back rather than continue to press on offense."
After Fay's goal made it 3-1, Emma Hart scored less than two minutes later to get Westhill back to within a goal. However, Staples controlled play for the next 10 minutes and Jamie Tanzer sealed the win with 9:50 left off a penalty corner.
After a 5-1 win over Danbury last week, the Wreckers now believe they have an attack capable of causing any team problems.
"I'm really excited," Del Vecchio said. "The corners look great; we've been focusing on deflections and coming off the goalie pads, and that's what counts in field hockey."
Las year, the Vikings ended the Wreckers hopes of an FCIAC playoff spot on the last day of the regular season with a 4-1 victory. The win put Westhill into the field of eight at the expense of Staples.
The Vikings won their first two games before falling Monday and have their sights set on the postseason as well.
"Without a doubt," DeAngelo said. "We got a couple things to fine tune but I'm hopeful to be in that situation again."