FAIRFIELD >> Two years ago the Staples and Fairfield Ludlowe girls’ lacrosse teams battled to a tie in overtime.
Flash forward to Saturday afternoon at Taft Field, and not a lot has changed.
The two clubs exchanged goals back and forth in a tightly contested early season game, as Staples’ senior Paige Murray netted the game-winner with 18.3 left seconds left in the second half of overtime to propel the Wreckers to the 13-12 victory.
“I think Ludlowe is a very good team and to come in here and go down 5-2 and sneak out an overtime win is great for our group, we can build on that,” Staples’ head coach Pete Najarian said.
Murray’s game-winner was set up by a collaborative effort as the Wreckers are still without starters Jenn McNicholas (offense) and Amelia Heisler (defense).
Freshman Christine Taylor came up big in extra time for the Wreckers in draw as she gained possession and helped set up Murray for the game-winner.
After Murray’s goal, Taylor once again stepped up in draw as the Wreckers seized control and were able to run out the clock to end the game.
“They were huge,” Najarian said of the draws.
Added Taylor: “It was a lot of pressure because the game was very close toward the end. But I had a lot of confidence…and I knew we would get it boxing out or ground balls.”
In a high-scoring first half, that saw Ludlowe build a 5-2 early advantage, Staples made some second-half adjustments, including draw and slowing down on the offensive end.
Murray, who finished with four goals, scored to put her team up 12-11 with 8:19 left. But a young and determined Falcons’ squad didn’t go away.
Junior midfielder Regan Steed, who is committed to Columbia, scored a game-high five goals, including one with 4:14 remaining to tie the game at 12.
“She’s a leader on the field in every capacity,” Heather Lewsey said of Steed. “This is her year where she’s breaking out.”
Still early in the season Staples (2-0) was encouraged by the offensive spread as six players found the back of the net. Taylor and teammate Siobhan O’Loughlin each scored three times, and goalie Alexa Moro played well in net for senior starter Emma Boland who was absent.
“It wasn’t a one man game, we played as a team, which was awesome,” Murray said. “Huge confidence booster, they (Ludlowe) played such a hard game, it was a really good beginning game to start our year off.”
The Falcons were led by Miranda Rosenfeld’s four goals and one assist, freshman Mary Edmonds added two assist and a goal, and Steed also chipped in two assists. Freshman Grace Flink finished with 10 saves.
Lewsey said she was pleased with what she saw today and during Wednesday’s 11-5 loss to two-time defending Class L champion Darien.
“Even though we’re 0-2 right now, we’ve done a lot of positives things against two very good programs that we respect,” she said.