Neva Mermegan controls the ball during action earlier this fall. Mermegan scored what turned out to be the decisive goal as Staples beat Warde 5-4 Saturday. / Photo by Andy Hutchison

By Andy Hutchison

FAIRFIELD — The Staples High School girls soccer team won an unusually high-scoring tilt with host Fairfield Warde, pulling out a 5-4 nail-biter Saturday afternoon. 

The Wreckers remained unbeaten at 5-0-3 and are in the midst of nearly a week off before games, returning to action when Trumbull visits at 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 7. Warde fell to 5-2-1.

Warde is one of the tougher teams in the conference and this was a key victory, said Staples Coach Barry Beattie, whose team was coming off a scoreless deadlock at Darien on Wednesday.

“After the tie against Darien we viewed this as a must win to stay in the mix at the top. We were prepared for Warde to be physical but these games are normally low scoring,” Beattie pointed out.

This contest was anything but the norm when it comes to matchups with an edge of physicality.

Warde went 1-0 up and Staples scored an equalizer when Annabel Edwards found the back of the net. It was tied at the half and just out of the break Edwards scored again. Warde made it 2-2 just three minutes later.

Edwards took a corner and Coco Crombie headed the ball into the goal to make it 3-2 Staples. Warde again had a quick response, striking just four minutes later to make it a 3-3 game.

The Wreckers had a quick response of their own. Natalie Chudowsky dribbled past Warde’s outside back and passed to her sister Evelyn, who scored to make it 4-3 only a few minutes after Warde’s tying tally. Then, a few minutes later, Neva Mermegan made it 5-3 Staples. 

Barry Beattie and Mackenzie Pretty, coaches of the Staples girls soccer team, speak to players at halftime of a game earlier this season. The Wreckers remain unbeaten through their first eight games. / Photo by Andy Hutchison

Warde got its fourth with 30 seconds remaining, but did not have enough time to mount a comeback. 

“It was a complete thriller, but weirdly we remained calm during it,” Beatie said. “It was a great contest and [Assistant Coach Mackenzie Pretty] and I had fun coaching it. We definitely let in more goals than I would have liked, but we went there for a win at their home and we got it. To score five goals against a team like Warde is a great achievement.”

Quite an accomplishment indeed — especially considering what Warde has done, shutting out three straight opponents and yielding no more than two goals in a contest prior to the Staples scoring barrage.

After hosting Trumbull, the Wreckers visit Stamford at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 11.