Field hockey: Warriors blank Danbury for fourth win in a row
Coming off last week’s emotional win over Darien, the Wilton High field hockey team continued its high level of play with three wins in a span of five days this past week.
The Warriors (9-1-2) outscored their three opponents — Stamford, Westhill and Danbury — by a combined score of 19-0.
Wilton is tied with Staples atop the FCIAC playoff standings, both at 9-0-1 in conference play. The Warriors have a big game on Thursday night at Norwalk, which is 9-3 on the season, with one of the losses coming in overtime to Greenwich.
In their latest win, a 5-0 shutout over winless Danbury on Tuesday at home, the only thing missing was the ability to finish inside the arc. Wilton outshot the Hatters 20-1 and had a 19-1 edge in penalty corners.
“We all agreed it was not our best game. We played pretty well but we definitely can play better,” said senior forward Caroline Ferro, who scored the first goal on Tuesday and was coming off a five-goal outburst in Saturday’s 9-0 win at Westhill. “We’re definitely going to work on that in practice tomorrow, getting ready for our game against Norwalk. I think we’re going to come out strong for that.”
Ferro opened the scoring at 27:27 of the first half, off an Emma Rothkopf assist, and Olivia Hahn scored two goals in a span of 41 seconds, both off corners, to make it 3-0 with 13:36 left in the first half. Bridget Ward assisted on the third goal.
The Warriors got second-half goals at 16:33 from Molly Ward and at 7:07 from Rothkopf (Emma Rosen assist) to complete the scoring.
The tally could have been much higher, as the Warriors failed to finish on many chances and the Hatters got a great game in goal from Ivana Atuahene (15 saves). The Danbury defense, anchored by Maria DeSouza, Kaylee Deldebbio, Ali Primavera and Olivia Babbino, worked hard, almost nonstop, to ward off Wilton attacks, while Holly Rivers was outstanding in breaking up Wilton corners.
Danbury dropped to 0-10-1 with the loss. It was Wilton’s third game since Friday against a team with three wins or less — and coming off the Darien win, the Warriors main focus was not to lose their intensity.
“I think sometimes we get stuck in our head and we get over-confident, but our coaches keep us in check and I think we do a pretty good job of keeping up the intensity,” said Ferro. “It’s a team effort and I think it trickles down, and I think everybody every day does a great job of supporting each other.”
Ferro said playing a tough early-season schedule that included four teams ranked in the top 10 in MAX Field hockey Northeast rankings, helped the Warriors prepare for the remainder of the season.
“I think it knocked our confidence down to kind of a good level. We did win states last season but it kind of gave us a check right away that everyone has to work for everything every single year, because every year is different and you have to continue to work hard.”
Emma Likely and Erynn Fray played in goal for Wilton and shared the shutout. Danbury’s only chance of the game came early in the second half, off a corner, when Primavera’s aerial shot sailed just over the crossbar.
Tuesday's game also marked Wilton Field Hockey's 7th Annual Play for Pink field hockey game to raise breast cancer awareness and raise money for breast cancer programs and foundations.
This year, Wilton is supporting the Get in Touch Foundation, whose mission is "to provide breast health initiatives that educate gals and guys of all ages how to 'get in touch' with their bodies, information, and each other in our crusade against breast cancer."
Players from both teams formed a circle at midfield after the game, and were joined by Get in Touch Foundation president, Betsy Nilan, who spoke of the importance of self breast exams in the fight against breast cancer. Nilan's mother, the late Mary Ann Wasil, was the founder of the Get in Touch Foundation.
Notes: In Saturday’s 9-0 win at Westhill (3-7-1), Wilton was led by Ferro’s five goals, while Molly Thomas had two goals. Susan Clasby and Sophia Kaplan also scored. Bridget Ward, Gwen Hall, Meredith Rappaport and Rothkopf each had assist. Likely made three saves in goal for the shutout, as Wilton had a 22-4 edge in shots at goal and 12-1 edge in corners.
Last Friday, the Warriors scored a 5-0 win at Stamford (2-9), in what was a 2-0 game until Wilton scored three times in the final eight minutes.
Wilton had taken a 1-0 halftime lead on Rosen’s goal (Rothkopf assist) less than three minutes into the game, and went up 2-0 just over five minutes into the second half when Rappaport scored on a penalty stroke.
The scored stayed that way until 8:01 left to play, when Rosen scored on a penalty corner. Wilton added two more goals in the final two minutes, with Jess Hendry and Rothkopf (Hall assist) scoring
For the game, Wilton had the edge in shots at goal (15-1) and corners (15-0).