Field hockey: Warriors bounce back from first loss, beat Cards 4-1
Coming off a disappointing showing — and first loss — last Saturday at Lakeland, N.Y., the Wilton High field hockey team turned in a strong second-half performance on Tuesday to hold off Greenwich, 4-1, at home.
“What happened is they lived and learned from Saturday’s loss. I thought the defense did a tremendous job the entire game today, and I think the forwards played a much better second half,” said Wilton head coach Deirdre Hynes.
The Warriors (5-1-1) took a 1-0 halftime lead on Emma Rosen’s goal with five minutes to go in the first half, and went up 2-0 less than two minutes into the second half when Gwen Hall deflected a pass by Sophia Kaplan past Greenwich goalie Madison Jayes. The Cardinals made it 2-1 a minute later on Katie Finneran’s goal.
The Warriors, however, got a big goal just two minutes later when Molly Ward’s long hit was stopped by Delaney Chase, parked right in front of Jayes. Chase then pivoted and knocked a backhand shot into the goal with 25:17 left to play.
Jayes a few minutes later came way off her line to make a sliding stop of a dangerous ball, and center back Emily Anderson just 40 seconds after that was positioned perfectly on the backline to stop a shot headed for an open cage.
Greenwich was able to pressure and earn six corners in a span of about eight minutes midway through the second half, but couldn’t connect as Wilton got some timely clears from center back Meredith Rappaport and outside backs Molly Thomas and Jess Hendry.
The Warriors picked up the pressure as the game wound down, and it paid off with a fourth goal with 20 seconds left when Caroline Ferro took a pass from Chase and put a shot inside the far post.
Hynes said it was good win after Saturday’s 3-1 loss to Lakeland, which had been a tough day defensively for the Warriors. She credited the play of Rappaport for turning things around on Tuesday.
“I think Meredith Rappaport did a tremendous job. Coming off Saturday, for Meredith to step up like she did today was unbelievable. It shows true leadership right there,” she said. “Saturday we had a tough game. The defense had a tough, long day, and for Meredith to answer back like that I thought was tremendous. I thought Sophia (Kaplan) did an excellent job.”
Greenwich head coach Allyn Orrico said the game was a good learning experience for what is a young Cardinal squad.
“We’re getting better every time, which is a good sign. We do have a lot of people who are new to varsity, so we’re looking forward to building momentum as the season progresses. We’re halfway through the season. We want to try to make sure that we’re peaking at the right time, so I think this will be a good game for us to learn from,” said Orrico, whose team fell to 4-5.
Rappaport said Wilton’s intensity on Tuesday was much higher than in recent games.
“I thought we came out today with a lot of energy. We’ve been kind of not as intense as we were today,” said Rappaport, one of the team’s senior co-captains. “I think our passing was great and our communicating has really improved. All the lines, forwards, midfield and defense, we all connected today and played a great game.”
Bridget Ward, the team’s other senior co-captain, said it was important for the Warriors to respond after Greenwich had cut the lead to 2-1.
“We always want to come back on fire and either get a goal or keep the ball on our 50, so it was nice to respond with goal,” said Ward, whose initial pass had started the play that led to Wilton’s second goal of the game.
“You’ve got to give credit to Wilton. They played with relentless pressure,” said coach Orrico. “We just have to learn how to deal with that relentless pressure and be smarter with the ball and take care of the ball, because I felt we turned the ball over quite a bit in the second half, where we weren’t doing that in the first half. So we’re working to make sure we will be more of a 60-minute team instead of a 30-minute team and continue for the full 60 minutes what we did in the first half.”
For the game, Wilton had a 10-4 edge in shots on goal, while Greenwich had the edge in corners, 8-4. Jayes made six saves for Greenwich and Erynn Fray made three saves for the Warriors.