Annabel Edwards, right, moves the ball against Wilton in state playoff action last year. Edwards and the defending state champion Wreckers get back at it with a visit to Ridgefield to begin the season Thursday. / File photos by Andy Hutchison
Evelyn Chudowsky, right, battles for possession.

By Andy Hutchison

WESTPORT — Entering the 2023 fall campaign, the Staples High girls soccer team is looking to complete some unfinished business — and repeat its title success.

The Wreckers, who advanced to last year’s FCIAC pinnacle game before falling to St. Joseph High of Trumbull, then went on to capture the Class LL State Championship with a 4-1 win over Cheshire.

The Wreckers, though, do not have anything to prove.

“This group of girls has only known success and finals. People always see a loss in a final as a failure, but I do not,” Coach Barry Beattie said.

“It’s about the bigger picture. Only two teams make it there from all of the teams. We have to have done something right over the course of the previous 18 games to get there,” he added. “If we lose, we learn from it and improve. Which is what we showed in our state run last year.”

Staples graduated a dozen players, including a trio of starters. But the Wreckers bring back experience throughout the field. 

This year’s captains are Evelyn Chudowsky (striker), Coco Crombie (defender), Gaby DeBrito (defender), Talia Moskowitz (midfield) and Annabel Edwards (midfield).

Goalkeepers are Ashley Podziba and Sammy Henske.

Coco Crombie, right, takes control.

Beattie said the team’s biggest strength is having an ability to pass the ball quickly through the positions and create goal scoring chances.

“As for now, we are trying to get off to a good start to put ourselves in a good position for the playoff run. We always aim to win everything, but that isn’t done in the early weeks. It’s a marathon for us,” the coach said.

The FCIAC, of course, is loaded with talented teams so the Wreckers stand to be challenged throughout the campaign.

“Yeah, it comes with the territory of being in the FCIAC and Class LL. Packed full of quality. Luckily for us we are packed with quality, too, so we will compete at the top and give our all to retain our title,” Beattie said.

It all gets started with the opener at 8 p.m. Saturday against Notre Dame in Fairfield; the initially scheduled Sept. 7 season opener against Ridgefield has been pushed back to 4 p.m. Sept. 14 at Ridgefield. (Game schedules are subject to change; click for the latest CIAC updates.)

Andy Hutchison has been covering school sports — including Staples athletics — as well as news and feature stories in Fairfield County, since the 1990s.