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FAIRFIELD -- Prior to the Fairfield Ludlowe girls soccer team's match against Staples on Saturday, Falcons midfielder Ali Gorab could not figure out how to keep her lofted shot from sailing over the crossbar.

Ludlowe head coach Kate Dawson offered her some instruction, and Gorab paid the first-year instructor back.

Gorab potted the first of Ludlowe's two goals, helping Dawson get her first varsity win as the Falcons held off Staples 2-1 at Taft Field.

"Words can't express how I feel," Dawson said of scoring her first win. "I'm really happy for the girls."

Lindsay Zilling scored Ludlowe's other goal and senior forward Emily Matis had two assists as the Falcons improved to 1-1 overall. Ludlowe goalkeeper Bridget Clarke stopped seven shots.

Staples fell to 0-1-1, losing two more position players to injuries. The Wreckers started the game with four bench players, but finished with just two reserves.

"Hopefully we'll get some recovery over the next two days and get them back," Staples first-year head coach Heather Driscoll said.

After days of lobbing shots off and over the crossbar in practice, Dawson instructed Gorab to "lean over the ball and shoot with confidence" and it paid off as her lob shot in the 10th minute sailed over goalkeeper Mary Bennewitz's head and into the net, putting Ludlowe up 1-0.

"I've been having issues with it, my ball's been going high in practice," Gorab said. "I was really thinking about making the shot and doing the best I could. ... It was awesome, I got tons of hugs from my teammates, it felt great."

"It was great that she got that first goal for us," Dawson said.

Zilling's goal came in the 56th minute. After Matis sent a low pass up the pitch toward Zilling and a Staples defender, Zilling stole the ball, then blasted a shot by Bennewitz to make it 2-0.

"That was just about not giving up on a play," Dawson said of Zilling's goal. "I was pleased the energy and focus to finish."

Hannah Lewis scored the Wreckers' lone goal in the 70th minute. Lewis and Amelia Heisler executed a give-and-go play as Lewis lobbed the ball over Clarke's head, cutting Staples' deficit to 2-1.

"They didn't give up all the way to the end," Driscoll said. "It'll come as the season goes on and we get used to each other."

"That was just some miscommunication," Ludlowe defender Ally Doyle said. "Hopefully we can work on that the next game."

Clarke, Doyle and Ludlowe's defense kept Staples scoreless for the first 70 minutes.

"We have a really solid defensive core," Dawson said. "I have the utmost confidence in them, they communicate very well."

Clarke twice thwarted the Wreckers' first-half tries. Clarke stopped Lewis' shot in the 34th minute, keeping the Falcons up 1-0. The senior goalkeeper also tipped Lauren Garcia's shot that hit the crossbar and bounced out in the 18th minute.

"We had a couple of bad bounces," Driscoll said. "We do a really good job of hitting the post right now."

"(Clarke) definitely got a piece of that," Doyle said.;


STAPLES 0 1--1


Records: Staples--0-1-1; Ludlowe--1-1.

Goals: S--Hannah Lews; L-- Ali Gorab, Lindsay Zilling; Assists: S--Amelia Heisler; L--Emily Matis 2; Goalies: S--Mary Bennewitz (7 saves); L--Bridget Clarke (7); Shots: S--8; FL--9.