Warde shuts out Staples girls soccer

WESTPORT -- The Fairfield Warde girls soccer team clearly hasn't lost a step since reaching the FCIAC championship game a year ago.

The Mustangs appear to only be getting stronger and Staples learned that the hard way on Saturday afternoon.

Senior forward Emily Pullen netted three goals and the defense one again was unflappable as Warde stormed past Staples 4-0 at Loeffler Field.

"We're doing a great job on all ends of the field with our defense, and we're scoring goals. We're getting opportunities and we're really finishing on them," Warde head coach Tom Cunningham said. "Everybody's playing well together."

The Mustangs, who lost in the conference final to Greenwich a year ago, improved to 6-0-1 and have yet to allow a goal. Staples fell to 1-4-2.

"They put away all their very dangerous chances that they had," Staples head coach Heather Driscoll said. "They had very good finishing."

Much of that was due to Pullen, who got Warde on the board with 19:03 left in the first half on a lead pass from sophomore Virginie LaRouche. Pullen ran past a defender, collected the pass and all alone, beat Staples goalkeeper Mary Bennewitz.

The Mustangs led just 1-0 at halftime, but grabbed complete control of the match over the final 40 minutes.

"We made some adjustments at halftime, talking about what we should be doing--attacking the ball, going after 50-50 balls, and making the plays that we normally would," Cunningham said. "The girls really took ownership to that and really stepped up."

Pullen added her second goal just 28 seconds into the second half on a blast from just outside the top of the box. She completed the hat trick in the 53rd minute.

"I think we gave up a couple tough goals," Driscoll said. "Certainly the goal to start the second half crushed us a little bit after going into it with a good first half."

Warde capped the scoring with 23:32 left when LaRouche's direct kick bounced off the far post and was booted in by sophomore Nell Carpenter.

The Mustangs have now outscored opponents 29-0 on the season.

"We really pulled it together and we strung together some great passes," Pullen said. "All of the goals were really an example of how well we moved the ball. The whole entire team contributed."

On the other end of the pitch, the Mustangs' defense locked down the Wreckers and never allowed them to put together solid scoring chances. The Wreckers were outshot 13-6.

"That seems to be our motto right now," Driscoll said. "First half, struggling to put a few balls in the back of the net and it certainly hurts us in the second half."

Although Staples has recorded just one point in its last four matches, Driscoll isn't panicking.

"Every time we step on the field it's going to be important and it's going to be a challenge," she said. "Certainly, getting a couple wins will help our confidence going forward, but they're working hard."

dbonjour@scni.com; 203-255-4561 ext. 114; twitter.com/DougBonjour



STAPLES 0 0--0

Records: Warde 6-0-1; Staples 1-4-2.

Goals: W--Emily Pullen 3, Nell Carpenter. Assists: W--Virginie LaRouche 2, Carley Strachan. Goalies: W--Katie Brennan (2 saves), Strachan (0). S--Mary Bennewitz (3 saves), Alison Thomson (1). Shots: W--13; S--6.