Given the way the Ridgefield boys lacrosse can score goals in bunches, its solid defense often gets overshadowed.
The Tigers backline delivered its finest performance of the season Tuesday, dominating from start to finish in an 11-0 win over FCIAC rival Staples for their fifth straight win.
"I'm so excited for my defense," Ridgefield coach Roy Colsey said. "These guys don't get any credit; even when I give them credit they don't get enough. They came out and played as a unit today. I'm pleased they put together a team effort and put up a shutout against a great Staples team."
Led by seniors Sam Boehle and Kean Quick, Ridgefield's (6-1) zone defense stifled Staples' attackers and forced them into turnovers and errant shots. Tigers goalie Brendan Winne made four saves in the cage.
"When we play (our zone well), when we hustle and support each other and we don't make mistakes," Colsey said. "They played as close to not making mistakes as possible today."
Ridgefield exploded for nine goals in the second half to earn the win. Simon Mathias had three goals and two assists for the Tigers, who struggled to get openings in the first 24 minutes.
"In the first half we just weren't clicking, balls were going to the turf and we weren't doing what we usually do," Mathias said. "We just came out nervous, I don't know why. We started valuing the ball in the second half and started putting them in."
Ryan Dunn also fired a hat trick for Ridgefield, while Dan Ohrem and Martin Carbone each scored twice.
Ridgefield grabbed the lead 3:28 into the game on a long shot from Carbone, but the Wreckers defense held firm for the rest of the period. The Tigers scored their second goal with 7:49 left in the second quarter as both teams struggled on offense.
Mathias fueled a third quarter surge that included five goals for the Tigers. Mathias recorded three of his points during the stretch, including finishing off a transition move led by Paul Volante to push the lead to 3-0.
"We made an adjustment at halftime to go with our second formation so to speak and it worked out," Colsey said. "The kids got loosened up and they kind of just fell in bunches in the third quarter."
Staples (6-3), which lost for the third time in four games, possessed the ball for long periods in the first half, but couldn't get any looks at the cage. Winne wasn't called upon to make a save until 6:26 left in the second quarter.
"Our plan was to possess the ball and get shots," Staples coach Paul McNulty said. "We didn't have enough shots. You can't give a great offensive team like Ridgefield too many chances to score."
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