Editor's Note: The following was submitted by Staples Girls Soccer.
Staples started another three game week facing Wilton on Monday afternoon. At first glance, Wilton’s 2-2-2 record might indicate they were a middle of the pack FCIAC team. Their record is very misleading. They tied both FCIAC favorites St. Joes and Trumbull last week and beat a very good Darien team. Staples was coming off an exciting game against Ridgefield and were looking to get back into the win column.
From the start, Wilton had a little more pep in their step and was certainly more aggressive. Coach Driscoll started subbing early in the game anticipating the rough play would wear on her squad. In the 15th minute, Wilton stole a pass at midfield and started an offensive push up the right side. A quick move and great cross found their forward alone — a quality shot just inside the far post put Wilton in the lead.
Wilton controlled the ball and made a few more runs at the Staples goal, but good defensive coverage by Junior Megan Root and Senior Meghan Lonergan kept the game close. Staples had trouble the entire day controlling the ball and linking up passes, but were able to make some progress towards the end of the first half. Junior Maggie Walsh corralled a ball at midfield and fed an outlet pass to Charlotte Rossi. Rossi took on two players and found Junior Lauren Garcia racing towards the goal. Garcia couldn’t make solid contact with her left and her shot missed wide left.
The Staples defense stiffened and didn’t allow Wilton any more shots on goal. The Lady Wreckers welcomed back Junior Page Murray from injury, as she subbed in at the 25th minute, her first time on the pitch in the regular season. The half ended with Wilton up 1-0 and winning the possession battle.
Staples picked up their play in the second half and started to make a few runs on the Wilton’s side of the field. They were still finding it difficult to put more than 3 passes together, but they had some chances. Versatile Freshman Morgan McWhirter switched between defense and wing most of the game and found some success midway thru the second half. She took a pass from Sophomore Kate Lesch and slid a nice pass to fellow Freshman Lydia Shaw up the right side. Shaw beat a defender and made a nice cross along the six. Garcia again was in position and made better contact on the pass, but this time her shot sailed over the crossbar. In a counter attack, Wilton brought the ball down their right side — the ball bounced their way and they had an open shot from the spot. Junior Mary Bennewitz made a leaping save to tip the ball over.
The previous Friday, Bennewitz played one of the best games in goal for the Wreckers. All season Bennewitz has played well in goal, making some great saves, and clearing balls off her line. After some more 50-50 play, Wilton added a second goal when they were awarded a free kick just outside the box. The Wilton striker precisely placed the ball just under the crossbar where Bennewitz had no chance to make a play. Wilton won 2-0 and looks like a legitimate contender for the FCIAC crown this year. Staples (5-3) faces undefeated Fairfield Warde (6-0-1) on Wednesday afternoon at Warde.
With consecutive games against Warde, St. Joseph, and Trumbull, Staples will be facing three of the top teams in the FCIAC. They go into these games looking to steal some points and to improve their young soccer team in time honored fashion — by playing tough competition.