Editor's Note: The following press release was submitted by Staples Girls Soccer.
The game against Danbury was a much anticipated battle between two of six undefeated teams remaining in the FCIAC after 4 games played. At the end of the first half, Staples had a 1-0 lead and looked like it might emerge with a big 3 point win. But with the wind behind them, the Hatters broke Staples season-long clean sheet for three goals. Unlike past years, the Danbury tallies did not feel like freak goals but the result of strong pressure and some talented forwards with strong support in defense.
Staples played two different halves. In the first half the ball possession was excellent. Their goal early in the first half was widely acknowledged as “pretty soccer”: an outlet by Senior Captain Gea Mitas found freshman Charlotte Rossi running up the right side. Rossi took on a defender and made a beautiful crossing pass through the 18-yard box. Junior Lauren Garcia had timed her run perfectly, calmly collected the pass, and buried it in the far corner where the goalie had no chance. The rest of the half was 50-50 with Staples having the slight edge in possession due to strong passing between Morgan McWhirter, Maggie Walsh, Lydia Shaw, and Tia Zajec. They were ably supported by solid defense from co-Captains Meghan Lonergan and Megan Root in the center, sophomores Kate Lesch and Elizabeth Mitas on the outside.
The second half started poorly with the ball staying in Staples defensive area. Danbury gathered up a loose ball near the Staples goal and their forward hit a 20-yard lob shot that just evaded the reach of keeper Mary Bennewitz. Soon after, Gea Mitas got hurt and Lydia Shaw filled her very large shoes in mid-field. Sydney Crossfield stepped in at forward winning many challenge balls. But Staples failed to string together passes and Danbury pressed the attack. In the 60th minute, Danbury attacked up the left side and again their speedy forward punch a ball in the lower far post to take a 2-1 lead. Staples charged back and created a nice scoring opportunity when Freshman Lydia Shaw beat two defenders and crossed a ball across the Danbury goal.
Garcia again charged the far post and was able to head the ball, but the Danbury goalie made a good save keeping her team in the lead. With 10 minutes remaining the game, Coach Driscoll went to a three man defensive line, adding another player on offense. Late in the second half, Junior Maggie Walsh scooped a loose ball just outside the box struck a strong ball, but couldn’t net the equalizer. Danbury scored late on a long ball on the out manned Staples defense sealing the 3-1 win. Staples is now 4-1 and faces another tough opponent Wednesday evening in New Canaan.