The Staples High School girls soccer team seemed to ride the momentum of their dramatic come-from-behind win in the final regular-season game into the first round of the FCIAC tournament on Saturday. Jaclyn Katz, who scored the game-winner on Thursday, found the net three times as the sixth-seeded Wreckers rolled over New Canaan, 4-1.
"This has been the dream we've had since my freshman year. We've been building for this," Katz said. "Getting to the FCIAC finals has been our goal since the beginning of the year and we're well on our way. We're all feeling pretty excited right now."
The Wreckers may have been ranked as underdogs, but they played like favorites. Staples did not play New Canaan during the regular season, which may have been an advantage for the Wreckers. Katz kicked off the scoring in the 19th minute, connecting during a scrum in front of the net. New Canaan's Madzie Carroll scored off a rebound with 5:54 to go in the half, as the Rams tried to shift the momentum.
Once the second-half whistle sounded, however, Staples never gave them a chance. Abbey Lake added the go-ahead goal less than six minutes into the second half, deflating the New Canaan squad. The tandem of Lake and Katz did the rest of the damage as Lake assisted on her teammate's final two goals. Both were beautiful cross passes from the left side that Katz chipped home to put the game further out of reach.
"When they tied it up, that's the point we realized we have to play our hardest," Lake said. "We needed to step it up, and we did. We communicated really well today and it led to three goals in the second half."
Staples moves on to the FCIAC semifinals for the first time since 1995. It will face the second-seeded Greenwich Cardinals. The semifinals will be played at Lily Field at Wilton High School, beginning at 5 p.m. Westhill will take on Darien in the other semifinal game.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.