WESTPORT —Charlotte Barnes scored four goals Friday, leading Staples to a 5-2 victory over Trumbull in their FCIAC girls soccer quarterfinal game at a wind-swept Wakeman Field.
Each one of her goals told a different story.
A junior, Barnes’s first goal came just past the midway point of the top-seeded Wreckers’ game with the eighth-seeded Eagles. It took the score to 2-0 and everything seemed possible for coach Barry Beattie’s club.
But then Trumbull’s Sophia Lowenburg went the distance on a counter-attack and scored to make it 2-1 at 19:34 of the second half. Coach Rich Sutherland’s team had an extra bounce in their step off the restart.
That’s when Barnes really went into action.
She first found a way to get past a defender and place the ball high over an onrushing Avery Rice for a 3-1 lead. The next trip down, Barnes kicked the ball off the closing Trumbull keeper then recovered the ball and took her time putting it into the open net. It was now 4-1 with just under 10 minutes remaining.
Barnes’ fourth goal came at 5:36 when she pounced on a Ellie Malin deflection off Lys Goldman’s cross.
“This means a lot,” Barnes said after being doused in a Gatorade bath. “It was 6-3 (Staples) the first time (with Trumbull). We want to carry this momentum into the finals and win this year.”
Said Beattie: “Charlotte scoring four goals in such an impactful game is amazing. She did it with such composure. They were right back in it at 2-1. When we played them early it was 4-0 and they scored three goals in I believe five minutes.
“I told the girls it isn’t as much what you concede, but how you handle it.”
Autumn Smith gave Staples a 1-0 lead at the 30:37 mark of the first half. The junior crossed the box left to right, took an extra dribble, then rocketed a shot in the upper half.
Barnes next scored off a free kick that carried toward the far post.
Just as Barnes’ second goal was seemingly part of the natural order, Staples’ keeper Marisa Shorrock’s outstanding save on Korie Munoz with 25:51 remaining didn’t rattle any chains.
It’s impact became noteworthy after Lowenberg’s counter and patient placement of the ball into goal.
“We played a very good team,” Sutherland said. “We wanted the wind in the second half and we were able to get behind them. We contained them pretty much in the first half. Ultimately, the score is the score, but I don’t think five goals reflects everything. We made two bad mistakes at the end.”
Ana Carlos scored on a penalty kick for the Eagles in the 75th minute.
Staples will play No. 4 New Canaan in the semifinals on Monday at 5 p.m. at Kristine Lilly Field in Wilton.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Staples’ Charlotte Barnes scored four consecutive Wreckers’ goals to help her top-seeded team turn aside No. 8 Trumbull.
“I told the girls it isn’t as much what you concede, but how you handle it.” — Staples coach Barry Beattie
STAPLES 5, TRUMBULL 2
TRUMBULL 0 2 — 2
STAPLES 2 3 — 5
Goals: Trumbull — Sophia Lowenburg, Ana Carlos; Staples — Autumn Smith, Charlotte Barnes (4). Saves: Trumbull – Avery Rice (6 saves), Ellie Malin (0 saves); 3 saves; Staples —Marisa Shorrock (4 saves). Shots: Trumbull 5; Staples 14. Records: Trumbull (9-8-0); Staples (15-0-2)