Wilton holds off Staples in girls lacrosse
WILTON -- The Staples girls lacrosse team got its first shot at one of the big four teams of the FCIAC on Thursday afternoon, and nearly came away with a season-defining win.
If it wasn't for an outstanding performance by Wilton attack Sara Dickinson and a lock-down defensive effort by the Warriors, the Wreckers would have had a reason to celebrate on Kristine Lilly Field.
Dickinson netted five goals in a 9-7 win for the Warriors (4-3), who have won two straight after a rare three- game losing streak. Staples dropped to 4-2 with the defeat.
"Wilton is a great team and this is a tough away game for us," Staples coach Pete Najarian said. "I'm very proud of how the girls played. To be tied at half and lose by two; we can build on that."
The Wreckers and Warriors entered the break tied at 5-5 as Staples scored twice in less than 30 seconds late in the period to erase a two-goal margin. Wilton controlled the opening draw of the second half and scored 44 seconds into the period to retake the lead, and would score again to make it 7-5.
But the Wreckers hung around behind Jenna McNicholas, who helped earn a number of faceoff wins. The success in the draw by Staples was a stunning reversal from recent meetings, including last year's 10-5 win by Wilton that included 13 of 17 faceoff wins by the Warriors.
"In past years we've had a very hard time on the draw with Wilton in particular," Najarian said. "We spent a lot of time on that in the offseason and preseason, and Jenna was huge, as well as the girls on the circle. That was big for us."
Staples tied up the game at 7-7 with 15 minute to play on a goal by Sam Kratky, but Dickinson scored what proved to be the game winner with 11:44 left after a long spell of possession finished with a goal.
Wilton freshman Eva Greco finished off the scoring with nine minutes left when she caught a 50 yard pass in transition and finished before the Wreckers defense could get set.
"We knew coming in that Staples was talented and that they're driven and they're well coached," Wilton coach Meredith Adamicki said. "I think the difference in this game is that we were prepared for it."
The highlight of Dickinson's day was a bullet shot from a free position that she barely took a step before releasing.
"I just wound up, I knew I could make that shot," Dickinson said. "It felt amazing; it gives you that rush of adrenaline to keep on going because we needed goals."
Wilton defender Casey Tucker was as crucial to the cause as Dickinson. Locked on Staples midfielder Paige Murray for virtually the entire game, Tucker caused several turnovers and stifled the Staples' attack.
"(Tucker) was the difference in this game," Adamicki said. "To neutralize a player like Paige Murray is no easy feat because Paige is extremely talented. But Casey did a great job of staying focused and really doing her best one-on-one."
Staples is in the midst of a tough four-game stretch that continues with Conard on Saturday, Warde on Tuesday and Darien next Friday.
"We have a lot to be proud of and I told the girls they need to walk out of here with their heads held high," Najarian said. "We're going in the right direction."
WILTON 9, STAPLES 7
STAPLES 5 2--7
WILTON 5 4--9
Records: Staples 4-2, 3-2 FCIAC; Wilton 4-3, 4-2.
Scoring: S--Sam Kratky (1g), Paige Murray (2g, 1a), Colleen Bannon (3g, 1a), Jenna McNicholas (1g, 1a) W--Sara Dickinson (5g), Laine Parsons (2g), Makenna Pearsall (1g). Goalies: S--Emma Boland (7 saves); W--Olivia Phelan (9 saves).