Staples High collected a milestone victory, of sorts, defeating New Canaan 8-7 in double overtime on Saturday at home.
Midfielder Will Johnson delivered the winner with 3:04 left in the extra session, beating goalie Trent Nader high. It was the Wreckers’ first win over New Canaan in program history, according to Staples coach Paul McNulty.
The Wreckers (5-2) trailed by two goals two separate times in the fourth quarter, but goals by midfielder Joey Zelkowitz and attack Colin Bannon — the latter with 18 seconds left — forced overtime. And once the Wreckers reached the extra session, they kept up the pressure.
“I think they controlled what happened in overtime,” McNulty said. “We had the ball longer and played very good defense. That’s a sign of a mature team that has strong personalities.”
- Afterward, Zelkowitz, who had three goals on the afternoon, talked about how the Wreckers tried to slow the game down early, keeping the contest at their preferred pace. In many ways, the strategy showed on the scoreboard with 1-1 score after one quarter. McNulty said that the Wreckers carried that plan through the game. “We did the same plan. We didn’t change anything,” McNulty said.
- The Wreckers have now won two straight since a 13-2 loss to Ridgefield last Tuesday. The victory over New Canaan, coupled with a 10-4 win over Glastonbury last Thursday, seemingly has them right back on track after an inconsistent start. McNulty made it clear that his team didn’t let its emotions bring it down. “We have no excuse to be down. … No excuse not to keep playing hard,” he said.
- McNulty said that Staples had never beaten New Canaan at any level prior to this season. That’s changed, however, as Staples beat the Rams on not only the varsity level, but also in the junior varsity (10-7) and freshman (7-6, overtime) games.