GREENWICH — Responding to adversity is the mark of a team on the rise and Staples faced a bit of it Tuesday against FCIAC lacrosse rival Greenwich.
The Cardinals struck first, scoring the matchup’s first three goals, so how did the Wreckers respond?
The way coach Will Koshansky expected his senior-laden team to.
Staples found some rhythm offensively toward the end of the opening quarter, forged a halftime tie, then seized control in the second half in its impressive 10-7 victory against Greenwich at Cardinal Stadium.
Junior attack Pat Ciquera recorded a hat trick, while junior attackman Kyle Hines registered two goals and one assist to pace the Wreckers, who are on some roll as the season approaches its midway point.
Winners of four consecutive games, Staples sports a record of 7-1, heading into Thursday’s meeting at Trumbull.
The Cards, who have dropped three straight games, after starting the season 3-0, led 3-0, before the visitors got on on track.
“Greenwich came out out really strong,” Koshansky said. “Obviously, they were fired up for this game and we did a good job of taking the first punch and answering back. It was a great job of our guys responding.”
Freshman Charlie Howard tallied one goal and two assists for the victors, who received one goal apiece from senior midfielder TJ Lynch, senior Jack Saltus (senior), Michael Thompson (senior) and Aidan Best (freshman).
“This win is huge,” Hines said. “I remember two years ago, it was our last game of the season, we lost to them in the playoffs and I was injured sitting on the bench with my foot in a boot. Now we’re out here beating them and it feels great.”
Greenwich was paced by senior attackman Jack Feda’s hat trick and two goals from midfielder Lance Large. Senior midfielder Matt Davey and freshman attack Bryce Metalios each added single goals for the Cardinals, who didn’t possess the ball much during the second half.
“It’s a battle for possessions,” GHS coach Bobby Lutz said. “They definitely had more possession time and that puts pressure on the offense to score when they have it and it puts pressure on the defense to continue to play well when you give them the extra shots and looks.”
Trailing 3-0, following goals from Feda, Large and Davey, the Wreckers’ first tally came when Hines converted a shot with 4:50 remaining in the opening quarter.
Ciquera scored off a dodge and with the Wreckers in a man-up situation following a GHS penalty, Best tallied off a laser from 15 yards out, making it 3-3 with nine seconds to go in the first quarter.
Junior Jack O’Gorman won the opening faceoff of the second quarter and moved the ball to Feda, who finished, giving the home team a 4-3 edge eight seconds into quarter. Feda then put a shot past Wreckers senior goalie Tim Luciano, extending Greenwich’s advantage to 5-3 49 seconds into the second stanza.
Thompson’s transition tally, followed by Saltus’ goal off a perimeter shot from 20 yards out evened the score at 5-5, heading into halftime.
“It was a great first half for us,” Lutz said. “We came out with some energy and momentum. It was a hard-fought, ,physical game.”
STAPLES’ STRONG SECOND HALF
The Wreckers wasted little time in building a lead in the third quarter. With senior Matt Rowan winning the opening faceoff, Howard bounced a shot past GHS junior goalie Padraig Colligan (six saves for the game), giving Staples its first lead of the game at 6-5 13 seconds into the third quarter.
Ciquera struck at the 11:26 mark and Hines added a man-up goal with 10:41 left in the third quarter, putting the visitors on top, 8-5. Lynch and Ciquera notched goals late in the quarter, putting Greenwich in a 10-5 hole.
“We had a little bit of adversity and responded to it,” Koshansky said. “With 20 seniors, it’s kind of what I expected from my guys. The leadership on this team is incredible. We weren’t nervous, or anxious during that time we were down 3-0.”
Metalios and Feda brought Greenwich to within 10-7 with fourth quarter goals. Luciano (six saves) and junior Ben Howard (two saves) registered key fourth-quarter saves for Staples, which won 13 of 20 faceoffs.
“They came out firing in the second half and we couldn’t match their intensity,” Large said. “We did not come out strong in the second half, which hurt us. We had a lot of open opportunities today that we didn’t finish, or capitalize on.”
Added Cardinals senior defender Tyler Dietrich: “We have to play a full game. Our team is going on runs and playing well in bits and pieces, but to beat these good teams in the FCIAC, we have to play well for four quarters.”
“The best part of our offense is our chemistry,” Lynch said. “We all know our tendencies and we can move the ball around really fast and get the defense on their toes. We have a bunch of dodgers and shooters and the pieces fit together.”