WESTPORT >> After Tuesday afternoon’s 9-1 victory over Fairfield Warde, Staples head boys’ lacrosse coach Paul McNulty couldn’t help but see a little bit of his former team in Warde.
“Warde is just like we were a couple years ago. They are getting better and better,” McNulty said. “They have a lot of good players. And they’re after us now. They want to take our place. They play hard.”
An up-and-coming Warde team did its best to contend with a balanced and talented Staples squad; and for a majority of the first half, the Mustangs (2-1) hung with Staples (3-0).
But as a lot of good teams do, they wore down their opponent. A strong defensive presence, led by 12 saves from veteran goalie Cole Gendels, and a three-goal performance from Will Johnson guided the Wreckers to the win.
“It’s a very good Staples team,” Warde head coach Tom Cunningham said. “We played them pretty solid for two or three quarters. Coming out of the first quarter (we) had some chances. Defensively our guys got tired toward the end.”
Playing with consistent rain and wind as the backdrop, the Wreckers were able to take the 1-0 lead late in the opening quarter off a high shot from Connor Chamberlain that found its way past Warde’s goalie Jason Nerreau for the 1-0 lead. Staples made it 2-0 right before the buzzer as Tucker Bobrow scored.
From there, Staples did a good job keeping possession and prevented the Mustangs from gaining any momentum. Michael Reale and Johnson each scored to build a 4-0 lead. Warde’s lone goal of the game came from Kevin Robinson to make it 4-1 at the half.
“We want to make something happen on every possession and that didn’t happen,” Cunningham said. “I think we hurt ourselves with some of the little things.”
Staples added one goal from Bobrow in the third and put the game out of reach with four goals in the fourth.
Chamberlain finished with two goals, while Jack Greenwald added one goal in the final frame.
While McNulty said he likes the offense being spread around, he knows the Wreckers are in a different position than the Mustangs. A year removed from finishing as the Class LL runner-up, McNulty said he’s like to see more out of the offense and knows they are capable of more.
Staples will host St. John The Bapist (N.Y.) on Thursday and then get a big test on Tuesday evening as they host Greenwich.