Fall sports

Staples uses a second-half goal to edge Greenwich High girls soccer team, 1-0

Photo by David Fierro: Julia Acosta of Greenwich, left, pursues the ball near the sideline during the Cardinals’ soccer game against Staples on Sept. 17, 2021, at Cardinal Stadium in Greenwich. Staples posted a 1-0 win.

Though the Greenwich High School girls soccer team dropped a 1-0 decision to Staples, it exited the game with plenty of optimism, after playing a challenging opponent to a near standstill.

Greenwich coach Simon Rumbold certainly saw a number of positive signs from his team – aspects he hopes they can build upon in future games.

“The girls were fantastic all the way through,” Rumbold said. “Staples is one of the best teams in the state and we knew that coming in. Our players did everything we asked them to. They were competitive and they tried to connect with the ball on the first pass.”

Rumbold also liked how the Cardinals defended Staples’ set piece opportunities.

“We knew they were very strong on free kicks and corners and I gave Kelly Martyanov the job of trying to combat that and she did it unbelievably well,” Rumbold said.

Photo by David Fierro: Greenwich’s Ali Pennella, duels for the ball on the sideline against visiting Staples.

Following a scoreless first half in which the Cardinals and Wreckers created several scoring chances, visiting Staples scored the matchup’s lone goal in the second half. Staples Ryan Lapatine scored the game-winner in the 68th minute, making it 1-0.

Junior goalie Isabella Gega was solid throughout for Greenwich (1-2). The Cardinals began their 2021 season with a victory against Staples, before losing to Fairfield Ludlowe at home earlier this week.

“She made two magnificent saves and five or six other ones,” Rumbold said of Gega “She played really i goal.”

Sophomore Emma Abbazia directed a shot toward Staples’ goalie in the 23rd minute and Martyanov, a senior, sophomore Adriana Jones, who made her varsity debut and junior Kaitlyn Fay helped Greenwich gain some momentum in the opening half, as did junior Ali Pennella.

Madison Sansone and Evelyn Chudowsky had opportunities in the first half, but Gega kept it a scoreless game.

Greenwich hosted Staples on Friday, Sept. 17, 2021, in an FCIAC matchup.

“The second half was similar to the third, we created one good opportunity very good across the box,” Rumbold said. “The rain made the ground a little slicker, so the pace of the game picked up a little. We finished the game really well.”

Junior Caroline Lawrence and sophomore Meghan Ross anchored Greenwich’s backline with their impressive play. The Cardinals are back in action Monday at FCIAC foe Norwalk. They will host Fairfield Warde on Thursday. For Staples, the game marked their first win of the season. Their first two games against Ridgefield and New Canaan resulted in ties.

“At halftime, we told the team they just proved they can do it for 40 minutes, now prove you can do it for 80 and they did,” Rumbold said.

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