Staples makes it 3 for 3 vs. Bears this sea­son in FCIAC bat­tle

Staples makes it 3 for 3 vs. FCIAC ri­val Bears this sea­son

The Norwalk Hour - - FRONT PAGE - By Rich DePreta

WEST­PORT — There is lit­tle ar­gu­ment that the FCIAC is the strong­est league in the state in the sport of field hockey.

One re­sult, un­for­tu­nately, is that the Class L field hockey tour­na­ment takes on the char­ac­ter of the movie “Ground­hog Day.”

In essence, much of it has been a re­play of the FCIAC field hockey play­offs.

On Fri­day, No. 2 seed Staples High School met No. 10 seed Norwalk High for the third time this sea­son.

And the Wreck­ers emerged vic­to­ri­ous for the third time as they grabbed a 1-0 home tri­umph at Ginny Parker Field just be­fore the rains came.

“This state tour­na­ment is a fa­vor­able com­men­tary on the strength of the FCIAC,” said Staples coach Ian Tap­sall. “Our de­fense is very strong so the op­po­si­tion doesn’t get many op­por­tu­ni­ties. We just keep the pressure on with our quick play­ers and strike in tran­si­tion.”

Staples’ lone of­fen­sive strike of the con­test came with 1:24 left in the first half. Kyle Kirby hit a long pass into the cir­cle and sopho­more Ju­lia DiConza scored from in close for what was the game-win­ning goal.

“We were able to grind it out,” Staples’ Tap­sall said.

The vic­tory means Staples (20-1 over­all) will meet No. 6 seed Darien (18-2-1) in the Class L semi­fi­nals at a neu­tral site on ei­ther Nov. 13 or Nov. 14. Darien ousted No. 3 seed Hall 4-0 in West Hartford on Fri­day.

No. 5 seed New­town and No. 1 seed Cheshire will bat­tle in next week’s other Class L semi­fi­nal.

This Staples-Darien meet­ing will be an­other pas­sion play. Darien handed Staples its only loss of the sea­son, 2-1 in the FCIAC cham­pi­onship on Nov. 1.

And Darien cer­tainly re­calls

Staples’ 1-0 win over the Blue Wave for the 2017 Class L ti­tle. The ri­vals were Class L co-champs in 2016 fol­low­ing a 0-0 (2 OT) deadlock in the fi­nals.

For Tap­sall, field hockey is a chess game played with hu­man pieces at warp drive.

Norwalk, which fin­ished its sea­son at 13-6-0-1 over­all, fought tooth and nail. But the Bears and marvelous sopho­more for­ward Tessa Al­brecht didn’t test Staples se­nior goalie Brid­get Mul­loy (5 saves, all in the sec­ond half ) the fi­nal 21 min­utes.

“We knew how tough Norwalk would be from our other meet­ings. It’s a game of inches and I just got my leg on their last shot in the clos­ing minute,” said Mul­loy, one of just three se­niors on the Staples’ ros­ter. “But our se­niors (Mul­loy, de­fender Elle Fair, Alexis Tuc­ci­nardi) wanted this last home game here at Ginny Parker Field to be spe­cial. We’re used to hav­ing the big tar­get on our backs. We like ris­ing to the chal­lenge.”

Norwalk se­nior goalie Jes­sica Mon­teiro fin­ished with 14 saves.

“Staples showed their talent to­day. But I’m in­cred­i­bly proud of the ef­fort of our girls,” said Norwalk’s vet­eran coach Kyle Se­aburg. “It was a great sea­son.”

Chris­tian Abra­ham / Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia

Staples’ Kyle Kirby, left, and Norwalk’s Ju­lia Vac­caro chase the ball dur­ing Fri­day’s CIAC Class L quar­ter­fi­nal in West­port. The Wreck­ers won 1-0 and will play Darien in the semi­fi­nals next week.

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