Field hockey: Wilton rolls to third win

The first three games have been something like target practice for the Wilton High field hockey team, as the Warriors have outscored three opponents by a combined score of 21-0.

On Tuesday, Wilton (3-0) blew out visiting St. Joseph 10-0, and held the opposition to no shots on goal for the second straight game.

But things are about to get much more challenging, starting with Thursday’s road game at Greenwich.

That is followed by a home game against Lakeland, N.Y., one of the nation’s premier teams, on Saturday at 2. Lakeland, which has won six straight New York state titles, is currently riding a 59-game winning streak. Last year the Hornets edged the Warriors, 2-1.

Next Monday, Wilton hosts undefeated Staples. The Wreckers are currently 4-0, having outscored their opposition 15-0.

“We definitely have some tests ahead of us, starting on Thursday,” said Head Coach Deirdre Hynes after Tuesday’s win. “Hopefully, we learned from this game. Believe it or not we came out a little bit slow. We didn’t score until 17 minutes into the first half and that’s a little disappointing.

“I think they connected defense-midfield-forward, and from the forward line into the circle is where we just didn’t finish, and against the more talented teams that can’t happen.”

The Warriors were led by Jillian Mahon and Delaney Chase with three goals each, and Emma Rosen with two goals. Kat Cambell and Susie Clasby also scored.

Wilton finished with a 16-0 edge in shots at goal, and 19-0 advantage in corners, against the Cadets, who are in their first official season as a varsity sport.

The ball stayed in the Cadets’ defensive side the entire first half, with strong play by the forward line of Bridget Ward, Maddie Duffy, Chase and Rosen, and midfielders Mahon, Gwen Hall and Sophia Kaplan. After several close calls and many trips into the circle, the Warriors broke through with 13:39 left in the half when Caroline Ferro sent a ball to the left post, where it was deflected by Campbell and knocked in by Mahon.

The next goal, about two minutes later, came off a corner, as Ferro’s shot from the top of the arc was blocked in front and then knocked high into the cage by Campbell.

Mahon made it 3-0 with 8:30 left in the half on another corner, as she took the entry pass from Ward and lifted an aerial shot under the crossbar. Chase made it 4-0 with 5:45 left in the half, set up by a great play on the end line by Rosen.

Ward, Duffy and Chase all had good shots down the stretch, as the Warriors went into halftime up 4-0.

The early second half featured several corners created by strong play up the right side by Ward, who also got off three hard blasts on corners that were either saved or went just wide.

Wilton got going again about 11 minutes in the second half, when Ferro’s hit was stopped in front by Mahon, who calmly rolled a backhand shot past the goalie. Clasby made it 6-0 a minute later, on a corner, and Rosen made it 7-0 with 13:20 left when she took a ball from Duffy, got by a defender and put a shot past the goalie.

Chase scored her second goal with 10:11 left, knocking in a rebound after Campbell's shot was stopped. Rosen then put a shot from the arc into the right side of the cage to make it 9-0. The final goal was scored by Chase at the left post, after a nice pass from the top of the arc by Rosen.

The Wilton defense, featuring two all-state players in goalie Amanda Hendry and center back Meredith Rappaport, was never really tested. Also part of the back line effort were Jess Hendry and Molly Thomas, with good play off the bench by Katie Leffel.

The Warriors got solid play off the bench by Madeline Pagliaro, Campbell, Ferro and Clasby — showing no letup regardless of who was playing.

The team’s depth and balance were certainly on display on Tuesday.

“We’re small but we have depth, so everybody gets their chance. If somebody’s having an off day we’re deep enough where somebody else can step up, at multiple positions,” said Coach Hynes, who was happier with the team’s second-half effort.

“In the second half I think they answered back a little bit better. I think they connected and they had a little more intensity and were working together better,” she sad. “It’s going to be a work in progress throughout the season. I think we have to take it day by day and improve day by day. It’s not going to happen overnight.”