Girls soccer: Top-seeded Wreckers oust WHS, 2-0
The Wilton High girls soccer team knew going into today’s FCIAC quarterfinal match that there weren’t many factors in their favor.
First, their opponent was the top-seeded Staples Wreckers (12-3-1), who won 10 of their games by shutting out their opponents and had only surrendered eight goals all season.
The Wreckers were also the bigger team, which helped them win headers and use a physical style of play. Add on the Staples ‘grass field, which opposing teams have a problem adjusting to, and it presented a big challenge for Wilton.
The Warriors were also without their top two offensive threats, due to red cards issued in the team’s final game of the regular season.
But that didn’t keep the Warrior players that took the field from putting their best effort forward and leaving it all on the field.
But their effort fell short as Staples defeated the Warriors 2-0 in Westport.
“Yes, we had a tall order today, but they did the one thing that they can control — they brought their best effort to the field and I’m super proud of the way the team played,” said Wilton head coach Renato Topalli. “The team played hard and showed a great effort for almost the entire game. We seemed to lose our focus early in the second half and we gave up two soft goals. This is the playoff season and the team has to know that you can’t have moments like that. It’s one and done.”
Topalli said that whoever he put on the field gave it their all, but singled out his two freshman defenders, Piper Chase and Maddie Wecker, who were seeing their first postseason action.
The Wreckers had the Warriors playing back on their heels in the first half and they kept their offensive pressure for most of the first 40 minutes. Staples was able to quickly switch the field and get players deep into the Warrior end of the field, causing Wilton to do a lot of ball chasing.
The game was scoreless at the end of the first half mainly due to the play of Taylor Floyd in the Warriors’ net. The Wreckers peppered her with shot after shot in the first half, but she did not allow the ball to cross the goal line. With 12 minutes remaining in the half, Floyd got as assist from the wall on a direct kick.
Wilton’s offensive runs were pretty much limited in the first half, but freshman Ashley Carbonier was able to turn the corner on her defender to get off a shot on net. The Wreckers keeper cut down Carbonier’s angle and was in position for the save.
With action in the first half being played in the Wilton end of the field, the team was quick to clear the ball out of the goal box as opposed to looking to set up the offense. In the midfield the Warriors offense couldn’t get on track as Staples was quick to react to the Warriors movement.
Wilton had the second-half opening kick, but the Wreckers swiftly took control of the ball, transitioned it up the field and got the ball to Julia Lombardo, who split two defenders and blasted her shot into the goal for the 1-0 lead, just 1:25 into the second half.
Staples tacked on another goal in the 45th minute when Ashley Wright tucked her shot into the corner of the net.
Behind 2-0, the Warriors picked up their game and put forth their best offensive opportunities of the match. But the Staples’ back line and midfielders weathered the attack and came away with their 11th shutout win of the season.
Staples advanced to face Ridgefield in the semifinal round of the FCIAC playoffs on Monday at Kristine Lilly Soccer Field. Wilton will wait for the Class LL state playoffs to get back in action.