Field hockey: Rothkopf wins it in OT as WHS tops Staples

Emma Rothkopf’s goal at 1:32 into overtime gave the Wilton High field hockey team a 2-1 win over Staples on Tuesday night at home.

The rematch of last year’s FCIAC championship game was another back-and-forth battle, with both teams taking turns at seizing the momentum.

The Warriors, coming off a disappointing loss at Greenwich, improved to 7-2 in the FCIAC, while the Wreckers dropped to 8-1-0-1 in league play.

“Saturday was tough for all of us but we wanted to show everyone that we can do this, and we did,” said Wilton co-coach Liz Pisko. “The girls came together as a unit and did a great job. Seven vs. seven is a hard way to end it but they showed that they wanted it.”

The first half ended at 0-0, with both teams having periods where they controlled the play. Staples had several close chances midway through the half, with scrambles in front of the Wilton goal, but couldn’t quite finish.

The Wreckers came out of halftime very determined, keeping Wilton pinned in its end for a good nine or 10 minutes. The Warriors got some timely clears from Molly Ward and Maddy Pagliaro, and multiple saves/clears by goalie Megan Kaeyer, to hold off the attacks.

Then the momentum shifted to Wilton, which earned a series of penalty corners under the 20-minute mark. The Warriors finally broke through on their fourth corner, with 16:42 left, when Sophia Kaplan stopped Jess Hendry’s hit about five yards in front and was able to get a shot off that rollled into the cage for a 1-0 lead.

From that point on, the Wreckers pressed relentlessly to try to tie the game, sending the ball repeatedly into the arc and using their aggressiveness and quickness to keep it in.

It paid off with a goal with 1:46 left when Madelaine Ambrose’s hustle kept the ball alive in the arc, with the ball eventually rolling to Meghan Johnson, who drilled a shot in from five yards out.

Wilton earned a corner about a minute into the seven vs. seven overtime period, and made the most of the opportunity with Rothkopf’s goal.

“We were going for a straight shot. I shot and it hit the girl’s foot and I played it and pushed it into the corner again,” she said.

“It was great teamwork from everyone,” she continued. “Our focus was to play as a team and always support each other and make sure everyone got back, and make sure we finish on important breaks.”

“The girls did a fantastic job of keeping their composure and making sure they focused on the basics — making sure they were marking up, making sure they were calling and communicating to one another, and that helped us push the ball back up,” said coach Pisko.

Kaeyer was credited for 16 saves in goal for Wilton, while Bridget Mulloy had four saves for Staples.