WESTPORT — Kyle Kirby and her teammates on the Staples field hockey team have been on quite a tear since early in the season, but they weren’t entirely satisfied with their past couple of games.
It’ll be difficult for the Wreckers to find anything wrong with their latest performance
Staples burst from the blocks with three goals in the first 10 minutes and rolled to a 7-2 victory over New Canaan in the CIAC Class L quarterfinals Saturday at Ginny Parker Field in Westport.
Seniors Kirby and Ella Bloomingdale, and junior Izzy Deveney scored two goals apiece, and Laine Ambrose added one, as the Wreckers’ attack was relentless from start to finish.
“We’ve been working on our give-and-go game, something that lacked in the FCIAC championship and our last game,” Kirby said. “Collectively, we weren’t really moving the ball around. Today, we had many, many give-and-gos and that really got the ball down the field. And we made a couple of hustle plays and that set us apart from them.”
Fourth-seeded Staples (19-1-1-0) will face another FCIAC opponent in the Class L semis, as it squares off with No. 9 Norwalk (15-4-0-0) at Weston High School at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday. No. 7 Ridgefield (16-2-0-2) and No. 3 Darien (19-1-1-0) will play in the early semifinal game at 4:30 p.m.
The Wreckers have reached the state final in three consecutive seasons, sharing a title with Darien in 2016 before winning the championship outright past two seasons.
Having the first two tournament games at home on their fast turf has been a plus for the Wreckers.
“We like playing on this turf,” Staples coach Ian Tapsall said. “It’s quick, it’s fast and we’re used to it. We’ve had a couple of games where we’ve been successful but they’ve been lackluster in as much as we haven’t been able to score. We really needed to find our touch scoring goals. The finishing was superb.”
The loss ended a terrific season for No. 5 New Canaan (16-4-0-0) and first-year head coach Mary Clare Snediker.
“The final score of one game doesn’t reflect on our entire season and what we’ve accomplished,” Snediker said. “I’ve enjoyed coming to practice every single day to work with them. The seniors have done a lot for the program and I hate that we didn’t get the win for them. It’s been a really unforgettable season in a lot of ways and a special one for them and for me.”
The Wreckers wasted no time taking the lead, as Deveney found the cage with an assist from Kirby just 2:37 into the game. Ambrose added another goal at 6:01, and Kirby tallied at 9:42 for a 3-0 lead.
New Canaan struggled to get the ball past midfield during the first 20 minutes, but eventually put some pressure on the Staples’ defense and goalie Roxanne Augeri (3 saves).Read Full Article
The Rams had their first penalty corner with six minutes left in the half, but Augeri kicked away a tough low shot by Shawna Ferraro.
After Bloomingdale made it 4-0 for Staples, New Canaan broke through as Molly Mitchell sent a great crossing shot from the corner into the circle and Carolyn Baran slapped it in for the goal.
A comeback bid wasn’t in the making, however, as the Wreckers scored the first three goals of the second half.
The Rams scored one more time, as two seniors teamed up. Emily Knight set up Estelle Asker for the goal with 4:56 remaining.
“They never stopped competing, they never stopped fighting,” Snediker said. “I was happy to see Estelle get that goal because she’s been a great senior captain for us this year. It was fitting for her to get one in in the last game of her high school career.”
The Class L tournament has morphed into an FCIAC competition, as six of the eight quarterfinalists and all four semifinalists are from the conference.
“It’s a testament not only to the quality of the players but also the coaches,” Tapsall said. “We’ve got a lot of good coaches with good backgrounds. These girls, the vast majority are college quality and in the FCIAC we’ve got the coaches and players who can play the way they do in college.”
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Kyle Kirby, Staples. Playing her final field hockey game at Ginny Parker Field, Kirby scored twice and had an assist on the Wreckers’ opening goal, scored by Izzy Deveney.
“Norwalk is a really, really talented team. We beat them 4-2 during the regular season and I don’t think that’s a testament to how good of a team they are. We feel like we have a good shot going in (to the semis) - we’re confident but not too cocky.” — Staples senior Kyle Kirby
STAPLES 7, NEW CANAAN 2
NEW CANAAN 1 1 - 2
STAPLES 4 3 - 7
Scoring: New Canaan: Carolyn Baran 1g; Estelle Asker 1g; Molly Mitchell 1a; Emily Knight 1a; Staples: Kyle Kirby 2g, 1a; Izzy Deveney 2g; Ella Bloomingdale 2g; Erica Fanning 2a; Laine Ambrose 1g.
Saves: NC - Megan Lydon 5, Grace Gilman 7; S - Roxanne Augeri 3
Records: New Canaan 16-4-0-0, Staples 19-1-1-0