The opportunities were plentiful, but the goals weren’t for the Greenwich field hockey team in the first half of its game against Stamford on Wednesday.
That changed in significant way during the second half.
Ahead by just one goal at halftime, the Cardinals applied relentless pressure during the second half and scored five times on their way to a 6-0 victory over Stamford in an FCIAC West Region game.
With the win, the Cardinals raised their record to 4-2-1 heading into Friday’s 4 p.m. matchup against rival Darien.
“As far as the goal-scoring goes in the first half, it was a little slow, but we’ve been working on getting off quicker shots and we did,” Greenwich coach Megan Wax said. “Their goalie is very good. She’s fantastic and was making some awesome saves, but I’m really pleased with how our girls didn’t give up on it and played those deflections.”
Junior forward Justine Liguori tallied twice, while sophomore forward Klara Mueffelmann registered one goal and one assist for the Cardinals. Liguori’s goal with 4:40 remaining in the third quarter gave Greenwich a 2-0 lead. Stamford goalie Piper Fine, who made more than 10 saves, blocked a shot from Mueffelmann, but the rebound went right to Liguori, who finished in front of the cage.
“When I scored I couldn’t believe it, because we had been trying for so long and we kept hitting the goalie’s pads and then finally I was able to lift it over the goalie’s stick, so it was a good moment,” Liguori said. “I feel like scoring the second goal motivated the team to really want it.”
Greenwich took a 1-0 lead when senior Agustina Ferrario sent a pass to Mueffelmann, who was positioned at the right post. Muffelmann drove a shot from close in into the cage, making it 1-0 at the 13:44 mark of the second quarter. The Cardinals controlled possession the majority of the first half, but Fine kept it a 1-0 game with several standout saves.
Junior Isa Lattuada’s goal off a rebound with 11:52 to go in the fourth quarter put the Cardinals ahead 3-0 and ignited a four-goal quarter.
“Overall, we started off kind of slow, but slowly especially the fourth quarter we started speeding it up, using our give-and-goes and that helped us,” Lattuada said.
Mueffelmann tallied in transition, senior Johnna Pastore scored on a penalty corner and Liguori notched a second goal to seal Greenwich’s scoring.
“One thing that we’ve really been working a lot on this week is our give-and-goes,” Ferrario said. “Just getting it out wide and going where the defenders are is something we had to work on and it improved throughout the game. This whole season, all we’ve been doing is improving and improving.”
Senior Jorja Pastore made three saves to earn the shutout in goal. Fine stopped over 10 shots for Stamford.
Greenwich plays Darien and New Canaan, before beginning action in the postseason on Nov. 7.
“It took a while to get our momentum, but once we got it going the girls figured out that we needed to be more intense,” Greenwich senior Ellie Ybarra said. “We’ve been working a lot on smaller passes and making our leading passes and it showed in today’s game.”
Said Liguori: “I’m super excited for the playoffs. We have a really good chance to go far.”