Staples and New Canaan girls soccer teams battle to 1-1 tie
WESTPORT--Staples sophomore Lydia Shaw charged towards the New Canaan goal in the dying seconds of their FCIAC girls soccer showdown on Wednesday afternoon at Loeffler Field. With the scored tied 1-1, Shaw, with four goals in her last two games, fired a low shot that seemed destined to give the Wreckers their fourth straight win to start the season.
New Canaan junior goalie Katie Donovan had other plans, and made a sprawling save with 1:30 left on the clock to deny the shot. Donovan was called upon again to deny a chance from Tia Zajec with 15 seconds left, and the double save preserved a point for the Rams.
"I just knew at the end of the game if those two goals went in that would have probably be it," Donovan said. "So I just knew they were really important saves. Letting them in wasn't really an option."
The frantic final seconds capped an excellent display between the two teams that had action on both ends of the field. Even if Donovan's late heroics stole the show.
"I really wanted to put it away," Shaw said. "I felt a lot of pressure from the game but the keeper was a really great keeper and she stopped it."
More InformationFact box
Late in the first half, Donovan tipped a shot onto the crossbar that Shaw fired from distance. The Wreckers continued to pile on the pressure with New Canaan threating on the counter attack.
"Based on the second half performance I'm absolutely devastated," Staples coach Barry Beattie said. "We had some great chances, but it tells the story when the opposition goalkeeper was the best player on the field."
The Wreckers controlled the early stages before Meg Root got on the end of the corner kick to give her team the lead 11:30 into the game. Neither team managed to create a significant opportunity until New Canaan's Samantha Stewart fired an outstanding free kick over Staples goalie Mary Bennewitz and into the roof of the net with 3:20 left in the first half.
The second half was far more stretched and both teams had chances to take all three points. Donovan made a couple of vital saves to keep New Canaan level while the Rams had a few dangerous free kicks that narrowly missed the net.
"We started well, we just didn't find our rhythm in front of goal," New Canaan coach Kirk Bamford said. "We're working hard and we're finding that level that we need."
Staples (3-0-1) continued its unbeaten start to the season. Beattie targeted four wins and a draw from his team's first five games and that is still alive heading into Friday's home game with Stamford.
"We asked for a response at halftime and we got that response," Beattie said. "The goals just didn't come."
The Rams (1-2-1) faced a tough four-game gauntlet to begin the season and wound up with four points from games against St. Joseph, Westhill, Ridgefield and the Wreckers.
New Canaan 1, Staples 1
NEW CANAAN 1 0 -- 1
STAPLES 1 0 --1
Records: New Canaan 1-2-1; Staples 3-0-1.
Goals: NC -- Samantha Stewart; S -- Meg Root. Goalies: NC -- Katie Donovan (6 saves); S -- Mary Bennewitz (4 saves). Shots: NC -- 7; S -- 10.