Mannelly, Hompe lead New Canaan girls lacrosse past Staples
Updated 9:03 pm, Wednesday, April 25, 2012
NEW CANAAN -- The New Canaan girls lacrosse team is not used to playing catchup because of its talented offense's ability to score goals.
Tuesday was a rare occasion the Rams fell behind, but they showed plenty of explosiveness that quickly turned a close affair into a rout.
Sarah Mannelly and Olivia Hompe sparked a New Canaan turnaround, combining for 10 goals, as the Rams overcame a slow start and cruised past Staples 17-7 at Dunning Field.
The Rams (9-0, 6-0) avenged a one-goal loss to the Wreckers a year ago in thundering fashion, coming to life after falling being 3-2 early on Staples goals by Jessie Ambrose, Paige Murray and Ali Crofts. The Wreckers initially went toe-to-toe with the hosts, creating numerous chances and throwing everything they had at the opposing net.
"I think that we tried to stay composed, even when they were getting their shots in the beginning," said Hompe, who scored six times. "We just really had to just slow down and play our game."
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New Canaan tied things up with 13:10 left in the first half behind the first of Mannelly's four goals, then proceeded to score five more goals in the next 6:30. Mannelly scored or assisted on all of them.
"I think all of our attackers can score goals and are a threat when you put them in front of the net," Hompe said. "When we move up the field anyone can put it in the net and that's a really big part of our team."
After building a comfortable cushion late in the first half, the Rams had to rely on their defense, as Staples held the ball for most of the final five minutes and fired away at New Canaan netminder Liz O'Sullivan. It was unable to find the back of the net during the crucial juncture, which allowed the Rams to take a 9-3 lead into halftime.
"That was a huge defensive stop," New Canaan coach Kristen Woods said. "(O'Sullivan) played spectacular with 13 saves; this was her breakout game."
The Wreckers (6-2, 3-2) had their moments in the contest despite being on the end of a lopsided scoreline.
"I think we did a decent job of rattling them early, we started out sticking our shots but then all of a sudden we were telegraphing," Staples coach Cathy Schager said. "Then (O'Sullivan) started to make some nasty saves. I think once we started having trouble with our offense our defense followed suit. We had a little trouble keeping up with them after that."
The Rams have ripped through their schedule so far this season, winning games by an average of 9.9 per contest. They have been held under 16 goals just once.
"I think this year we are pretty good," Mannelly said. "We have a tough schedule coming up, so we have film to watch and we will see what we can improve."
Staples missed its second chance this season to notch a win against a big-time opponent.
The Wreckers fell 14-10 to Darien and are still searching for a breakthrough victory.
"This is the first game all season that we have had our full lineup," Schager said.
"It's a hard loss to lose by 10 goals, but at the same time I think it's great to see where our holes are now so we have some time to work, gel and get better."
Ryan Lacey is a freelance writer from Fairfield County.