Staples tops Trumbull in penalty kicks
Published 7:31 pm, Saturday, November 11, 2017
WESTPORT — Ashley Wright was pretty sure she had won the game.
She scored the goal, she did the math, and she’d begun the obligatory arms-raised run back to her teammates … who seemed a wee bit under-zealous while doing the math a second time in their heads.
After an extended beat, yes, the fourth-seeded Wreckers decided, they had just won Saturday’s Class LL quarterfinal over 12th-seeded Trumbull with an intense and hard-fought 2-1 (3-1 PKs) win at Wakeman Field.
“I thought we had won, but nobody else reacted so I wasn’t really sure,” Wright said. “I was really nervous, but I knew I’d been practicing a lot and if I hit it like I normally do, I knew it would go in.”
The Wreckers advance to next week’s big-school semifinal against FCIAC rival Darien, the No. 8 seed, which knocked off top-seeded Suffield with a 1-0 win.
The Blue Wave topped the Wreckers by a 1-0 score on Oct. 9.
During Saturday’s PK round, Wright — the fifth and final Wrecker shooting — went upper-left corner to score. She joined teammates Catherine Sprouls and Olivia Ronca as Staples players who scored during the extra session after two 10-minute overtime periods failed to find a winner.
Tied 1-1 after the first round of PKs, Staples hit the crossbar before Wreckers goalkeeper Anna Sivinski got just enough of a hand on a ball to deflect Trumbull’s ensuing shot off the post to keep things even.
Ronca then made it 2-1 as Trumbull hit the left post and crossbar again before Wright’s game-clinching tally.
“I was confident,” Beattie said. “We have some quality players who strike the ball well. If you’re standing from 12 yards away, it’s a free shot. At the end of the day, if you put it on target, you give yourself a shot, and that’s what the girls did.”
The Wreckers put the ball on target a lot in the first half, but had nothing to show it for it as Trumbull goalie Avery Rice came away with eight saves in the first 40 minutes.
In the second, the Wreckers got on the board when Reese Sutter carried the ball through the midfield and fed Wright racing down the right sideline.
Wright found Marlo Von der Ahe in the box with a pass and the sophomore striker fired a shot on goal that found a hole for a 1-0 lead.
“It was just unbelievable,” Von der Ahe said. “I didn’t think I scored because I didn’t have the angle, but then I just watched the ball go into the net and it was an unreal feeling.”
The Eagles — who came from behind to beat Staples 2-1 in the regular season — looked like they might do it again.
During an offensive surge into the Staples box, the ball was pinballing around various players before Trumbull’s Julia Jager punched it home with under 10 minutes to play to tie it.
“Staples played better soccer than us for a lot of the game, but we got it back to 1-1 just through determination and hard work,” Trumbull coach Daniel Uhrlass said. “We had a couple of good chances in overtime, too. We’re so proud of them.”
THE WRECKING CREW
Many of Trumbull’s offense’s chances early in the game were denied by a wall of defenders who refused to let the Eagles close to Sivinski.
Players like Sprouls, Mia Gonzalez, Sally McGee and Ronca were vital in holding the Eagles offense at bay for much of the game, allowing just five shots.
“They are just rock-solid,” Sivinski said of her defense. “Those four girls in front of me are so dependable. I have total faith in every single one of them across the line. When they all come together and really defend, it’s just beautiful.”
Sivinski made four saves.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
It was almost Staples’ Von der Ahe, who followed up her goal with a couple of near-misses at the end of regulation and in overtime.
But the player who shined the brightest was Trumbull’s keeper, Rice, who kept the Eagles in the game with a splendid 15-save performance.
Rice was pulled in the closing minutes of the second overtime in favor of Maryna Barone, whom Uhrlass felt was better at defending penalty kicks.
Without Rice, however, Trumbull wouldn’t even have gotten close to overtime.
“I’m a weirdo. I love penalties,” Beattie said. “I’d sit and watch a normal game just to hope it went to penalties. That’s how I excited I get.”
STAPLES 2, TRUMBULL 1 (3-1 PKS)
TRUMBULL 0 1—1
STAPLES 0 1—2
Records: Trumbull 12-5-3, Staples 15-4-1; Goals: T—Julia Jager, S—Marlo Von der Ahe; Assists: S—Ashley Wright; Goalkeepers: T—Avery Rice (15 saves), Maryna Barone (0 saves), S—Anna Sivinski (4 saves).