WESTPORT — The Ridgefield-Staples Girls Soccer rivalry has been a treat for fans.
Ridgefield edged Staples in both the 2018 and 2017 Class LL state championship finals. Ridgefield has also captured three of the last four FCIAC Girls Soccer titles.
It is a matchup that should not be spoiled by Mother Nature.
Unfortunately, the rains came to Staples’ Wakeman B Field Wednesday. The result had the Wreckers and the Tigers splashing their way to a 0-0 tie.
“It wasn’t ideal weather conditions. But there was no wind so playing in the rain is fine,” said Staples veteran coach Barry Beattie. “I was proud how our team handled the situation.”
The deadlock left FCIAC West Division leader Staples at 10-0-1. FCIAC East Division co-leader Ridgefield also remained unbeaten at 9-0-2.
“It was an even contest,” Ridgefield coach Iain Golding said. “Both teams battled. It was a great physical and mental challenge.”
Faced with driving rain the first half and threatening dark clouds and lighter rain in the second half, the officials allowed the teams to be physical and not call a multitude of fouls to let the game’s 80 minutes run faster.
Both defenses and both goalies were the stars of the afternoon. Each goalie — Ridgefield junior Kelly Chittenden and Staples senior Marisa Shorrock — registered nine saves.
Each team’s best scoring chance came midway through the second half. But dual shutouts were the ultimate outcome.
“Credit both defenses,” Staples’ Beattie said. “It’s not easy playing with a slick (wet, hydroplaning) ball. And the wet artificial turf (which retained rather than absorbed water).”
Playing in the rain could aid both teams at state tournament time as fall weather gets worse late in the season.
Wednesday’s intense battle should also pay dividends to both teams. Ridgefield hosts FCIAC East co-leader St. Joseph (10-0-1) on Friday at 3 p.m. Staples travels to meet St. Joseph on Monday, October 21.