NEW FAIRFIELD — For one side it was a late-season tuneup against a quality opponent. For the other it was a very rare opportunity to prove they could play with anyone.
Mission accomplished for both.
Staples held off a furious rally from New Fairfield before claiming an 11-10 win in a matchup between two top-10 squads Tuesday. The Wreckers finished their outstanding regular season 14-2 against a Rebels squad out for respect across the state.
“We knew New Fairfield was a tough team because they had an undefeated record,” said Staples senior Elle Fair, who scored three times. “It was a long bus ride but we came in with confidence; we possessed the ball in attack and played tough on defense.”
It was an oh-so-close afternoon for the Rebels, who almost forced overtime before succumbing to their first loss. Trailing 11-8 with two minutes left, Katelyn Sousa and Alexa Meres scored free-position goals to pull to within 11-10. New Fairfield (14-1) won the game’s final draw and earned a free position with less than 10 seconds remaining. However, the attacking player was ruled to have moved early, Staples was awarded the ball and the clock ran out on the upset bid.
Notre Dame commit Kyle Kirby ran the show for long periods for the Wreckers. She scored seven of her team’s 11 goals and set up teammates for goals several times when the defense collapsed on her.
“I was just hoping for the best,” said Fair. “Sara (DiGiovanni) is a great goalie but she’s only a freshman so she is inexperienced in that kind of pressure. That was very lucky for us.”
A key moment came midway through the second half with the Rebels leading 7-6, when a yellow card gave Staples a one-player advantage. The Wreckers cashed in with two goals and never relinquished the lead again despite the late flurry by New Fairfield.
Sousa scored four times for New Fairfield while Sydney Colesworthy added a pair. The Rebels nearly secured what would have been a statement win, but proved they can compete with schools on the Gold Coast.
“It was awesome to be that close,” Sousa said. “I think because we’re in Class S we’re overlooked and this shows that we can absolutely compete with the Class L teams. It doesn’t matter what class you’re in; there’s no reason to overlook anyone.”
The SWC tournament is slated to start Thursday with the Rebels hosting a quarterfinal matchup. The Wreckers’ lone league loss came against Wilton, and they will look to do damage in the FCIAC tournament.
“We feel really confident going into FCIACs,” Fair said. “This is one of the best seasons Staples lacrosse has ever had. Coming in with such a good record heading into playoffs, it’s only up from here.”
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“It was a fun, she was a great player,” Sousa said of Kirby. “She’s fast for sure; I think we did our best in trying to maintain her speed, but it was definitely
STAPLES5 6 — 11
NEW FAIRFIELD3 7 — 10
Scoring: S—Kyle Kirby 7g, 1a Elle Fair 3g Marissa Shorrock 1g. NF—Katelyn Sousa 4g Danielle Hernandez 1g Kate Nieves 1g Sydney Colesworthy 2g Alexa Meres 1g Daria Bock 1g. Goalies: S—Sara DiGiovanni (7 saves); NF—Rachel Mikolay (13 saves).