NORWALK — Everything was working well for FCIAC West leader Staples Tuesday during the first half of its field hockey game with Norwalk at Testa Field.
Defensively, Staples held second-place Norwalk scoreless. Offensively, senior Kyle Kirby scored three goals and assisted on another.
“In the first half we were awesome,” Staples coach Ian Tapsall said after his team’s 4-2 win over Norwalk. “We soaked up the pressure, we rely on counter attacks because we have speed and if we get into the circle we rely on set-pieces on short corners and we’re normally really good, and that is how we scored a lot today.”
The momentum shifted in favor of Norwalk in the second half, beginning with a goal Adriana Alfisi on a perfectly executed chip shot.
— Will Aldam (@AldamWill) October 30, 2019
Alfisi would go on to cut the deficit in half, burying her second goal of the game with just over a minute remaining.
“I am really proud of the way we played in the second half,” Norwalk coach Kyle Seaburg said. “They are a quality team and you can’t come in not giving 100% and that is what it looked like we were doing mentally in the first half. That is what we talked about at halftime, just regrouping and creating opportunities and they did. This group doesn’t quit and that is all you can ask for.”
Staples (15-1) secured the second seed in the upcoming FCIAC Tournament with its win over Norwalk (13-3).
Staples scores two quick goals as the first half comes to a close.
— Will Aldam (@AldamWill) October 29, 2019
The FCIAC Tournament is scheduled to begin Friday with Staples as the No. 2 seed behind Darien (15-1), which defeated Staples 3-1 on September 18th. Pairings will be released after today’s games.
Madelaine Ambrose scored Staples’ first goal Tuesday on a corner 12 minutes into the game.
Five minutes later, Kirby tucked her away her first to give Staples a 2-0 lead.
Kirby’s final two goals came in the final four minutes and would prove to be the difference makers.
“There is no confidence right now because of the second half,” Tapsall said. “If you had asked after the first half I would have said confidence would be absolutely roaring, but I don’t know what happens. We fall into a rut in the second half when we back off too much and we need to nip that in the bud.”
Norwalk finished the regular season facing off against the top two FCIAC teams in Staples and Darien, which beat the Bears 2-1 last Thursday.
Darien’s lone loss came from New Cannan (14-2), which defeated Norwalk, but lost to Staples earlier in the season.
The Tournament figures to be extremely competitive with six teams finishing the regular season with four losses or less.
“Any given lucky bounce can change a game,” Tapsall said. “If you are talking about the top four teams in the FCIAC, anyone can win. You’ll never have 6-0 or 8-0 blowouts in the finals and semifinals. You just don’t have it. With those top teams, you just have to get everything set and play for the luck. I’ve said it every season, if you get it in the circle a lucky bounce can win a game.”