Wreck­ers get past Lud­lowe

Sta­ples breaks through in sec­ond half fol­low­ing missed chances in 1st half

The Norwalk Hour - - SPORTS - By Chris Els­berry

WEST­PORT — Some­times, no mat­ter how good you are, it pays to be a lit­tle bit lucky.

Nearly 60 min­utes into a score­less bat­tle with Lud­lowe, the Sta­ples girls’ soc­cer team was feel­ing a lit­tle snake-bit. Over a half­dozen solid scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties in the first half came up empty and the Wreck­ers had to be won­der­ing what it was go­ing to take to fi­nally get on the score­board.

A fluke goal did the trick. Ash­ley Wright’s 30-yarder from the mid­dle of the field some­how got through the hands of Fal­cons’ keeper Mad­die Her­ron with 22:43 to play and Sta­ples added a pair of late goals to come away with a 3-0 vic­tory on a rainy Satur­day morn­ing at the Wreck­ers field.

“I ac­tu­ally sighed, I was like, ‘thank you so much,’” Marlo Von der Ahe said, who’s goal with 7:55 to play gave Sta­ples a 2-0 lead. “Be­cause I knew af­ter that, I knew we would start scor­ing again. But up un­til that point, it had been frus­trat­ing be­cause we had had a lot of chances.”

Es­pe­cially Von der Ahe. In the first 15 min­utes alone, the ju­nior striker hit the post, put two shots just wide and boomed an­other into the chest of Her­ron, who was spec­tac­u­lar the en­tire game, mak­ing nine saves.

“It was very frus­trat­ing in the open­ing min­utes be­cause I was get­ting so many chances … chance af­ter chance and I couldn’t con­nect,” Von der Ahe said. “My coaches kept telling me to keep my head up and have short term me­mory, just for­get it and keep play­ing. I did that and fi­nally got one.”

With Her­ron ston­ing the Wreck­ers every chance she got, the game went to half­time dead­locked at 0-0.

“Mad­die played well. She def­i­nitely is a leader back there,” Lud­lowe coach Peter Nikac said. “She’s been get­ting a lot of shots on goal and she’s been re­spond­ing re­ally well.”

Early in the sec­ond half, Lud­lowe had a chance to find some magic off a di­rect kick when a Fal­cons’ player was put down just out­side the Sta­ples’ box. But McKenna For­rest’s shot was blocked by the Wreck­ers’ wall.

The game con­tin­ued back and forth un­til Wright’s long blast made it 1-0. With just un­der eight min­utes left, Von de Ahe took a cross from Ana Simunovic and de­flected the ball past Her­ron, who had no chance, to make it 2-0. A minute later, Wright fed So­phie Mul­h­ern, who made it 3-0.

“We’ve been work­ing a lot lately on the for­ward move­ment,” Sta­ples coach Barry Beat­tie said. “I think what we saw to­day that it’s ac­tu­ally start­ing to work. We weren’t do­ing any­thing wrong in the first half, we were strik­ing the ball clean, we were just miss­ing the tar­get. A lit­tle bit frus­trat­ing but the play­ers were play­ing well. The mes­sage at half­time was just keep do­ing what you’re do­ing.”

The win kept Sta­ples (11-0-3) in first place in the FCIAC play­offs stand­ings, clinch­ing a post­sea­son spot. Lud­lowe fell to 5-6-1, still on the out­side look­ing in for a place in the top eight with four games to play.

“It’s on to the next game, we have a big week com­ing up,” Nikac said. “We need to move for­ward. If we keep play­ing like this, we’ll be OK. The girls re­ally stepped up to­day. Af­ter that first half, their con­fi­dence grew, and they re­al­ized that they could take ad­van­tage of cer­tain weak­nesses that they had. Un­for­tu­nately, that goal set us back. It hap­pens.”

Erik Traut­mann / Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia

Sta­ples’ Ash­ley Wright and Lud­lowe’s Grace Sha­has bat­tle for the ball while Lu­dowe’s Brid­get Paul­mann looks on Satur­day in West­port.

Erik Traut­mann / Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia

Sta­ples’ Marlo Von der Ahe (25) moves the ball away from Lud­lowe’s Maya New­ton (26) in their FCIAC girls soc­cer game at Sta­ples on Satur­day in West­port.

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