WESTPORT >> After Friday afternoon’s season-opening 14-12 girls’ lacrosse win over Ridgefield, Staples’ Meredith Hood was asked about her four-goal performance.
Instead of talking about herself, she immediately spoke of her teammates.
“Our communication is a lot better (than last year),” Hood said. “We’re closer as a team; we’re closer as a unit. We work a lot better.”
That was a telling answering of the noticeable on and off the field chemistry and bond a more experienced and veteran Wreckers squad has established early this spring.
Junior Paige Murray said a year ago Friday’s game might not have ended the way it did against a very talented Ridgefield squad.
With the score tied at 10 late in the second half, instead of nerves creeping in, a stronger and more resilient Staples squad showed up.
Junior Nicki Najarian scored with 7:22 minutes remaining to give the Wreckers an 11-10 lead, and junior goalie Emma Boland stood firm in between the pipes.
From there, Staples’ offense rattled off three more goals to build a 14-10 lead that Ridgefield couldn’t overcome.
“Last year I felt like we kind of had in our heads and we got shaky towards the end,” Murray said. “But when it was tied, we just looked at it as a new game and went for it.”
Murray and Najarian each netted three goals as Staples’ offense had a nice experienced rhythm look to it.
“We‘re all so close,” junior Jenna McNicholas said. “We’re motivating each other.”
Staples’ head coach Pete Najarian said a lot of the motivation has come from his captains. The Wreckers battled back from 3-1 deficit early as Hood and Murray each scored to tie the game at three. At the end of the first half, Staples was tied with Ridgefield at six; a team they lost to 15-7 a year ago.
“We talked about at halftime,” he said. “The team that came out and set the momentum for the second half is going to win the game.”
Ridgefield was led by Shannon Walsh who had a sensational game, scoring five goals to lead all scorers.
Staples will face Westhill on Tuesday and then host Ludlowe on Thursday afternoon.