The Staples' girls soccer team played defending Class LL champion Westhill to a draw for 70 minutes Wednesday at Loeffler Field. The first 10 minutes, however, made all the difference. Lizzie Van Name's goal in the 10th minute capped a strong start for the Vikings, which went on to a 1-0 victory.
"I was a little frustrated that we came out kind of slow,'' Staples coach Nikki Ross said. "We came out a little flat, and we were just watching. You can't do that against a good team like Westhill."
Westhill (7-2-3) had other quality opportunities in the first half. Goalkeeper Jesse Ambrose (six saves) robbed Julio Busto from in close in the 22nd minute. Westhill's Nicole Pellicano had another golden opportunity in the 28th minute. Her shot hit the post, and a defender cleared it away.
Staples (7-2-3) looked more organized defensively in the second half and had some scoring chances. They were infrequent, however, and Westhill keeper Jennifer Osher had to make only one save.
"Scoring had been difficult for us, but lately we've been a lot better at it,'' Ross said. Staples had outscored opponents 19-7 in winning five straight games. Even with the loss, the Wreckers seem likely to be a factor in the league playoffs .
"We have some tough games ahead,'' said Ross, whose team plays Greenwich on Friday in another battle of probable playoff teams. "We have to come out with more urgency. I definitely think we showed we can play with Westhill or anyone else. At least we held them out after they scored that goal."
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