FAIRFIELD — In a game where the momentum can change in a matter of seconds, the Fairfield Warde girls’ soccer team made sure to seize control early and do their best to keep it. Wednesday afternoon the Mustangs Jenn Maldonado found the net less than five minutes into play and the defense did the rest, holding off a physical and dangerous Staples squad 1-0.
“That intensity we played with in the first 10 minutes, getting opportunities and putting them away early kind of gives us a little bit of relief,” Warde head coach Tom Cunningham said. “We played strong, we played hard, we played a full 80 minutes today.”
Maldonado who has found the net multiply times already this season, received a pass from teammate Anna Glovin near the right side and booted it past Staples’ Mary Bennewitz two minutes and 57 seconds into the game to give her team the 1-0 lead that held.
“Anna Glovin gave me a really, really good ball and I just wanted to get it right in,” Maldonado said. “It felt really good. The first five minutes and the last five minutes are most important and we always try to go as hard as we can.”
While Warde struck quickly, Staples responded. Defensively led by senior Meghan Lonergan and junior Megan Root, the Wreckers denied Warde another goal, including a last five minute flurry that saw multiple shots. Bennewitz finished with eight saves for Staples (5-4), who has dropped its last three games.
“We’ve had a lot of really tough games lately and they’ve played very well,” Staples head coach Heather Driscoll said of her team.
While the Staples defense held Warde scoreless the rest of the game, the Mustangs countered that with their own attack. Led by senior keeper Katie Brennan, the Mustangs (7-0-1) posted their seventh straight shutout. Staples had a few opportunities to score, including a free kick from junior Lauren Garcia about 30 yards out but couldn’t connect.
“Yeah, Staples is always well coached,” Cunningham said. “We knew what to expect from them… physical and very well-played soccer. They have a solid defense. We knew we’d have to try and crack that.”
Staples will get another tough test on Friday against St. Joes, while Warde travels to face rival Ludlowe.