RIDGEFIELD -- Once Sean Riley got it going Saturday, he was unstoppable.
Riley, an attack on the Ridgefield boys lacrosse team, scored his first of nine goals with 6:45 remaining in the first half to tie the game. His tally started a streak of 12 unanswered goals, sparking fourth-seeded Ridgefield a 15-4 victory over fifth-seeded Staples at Tiger Hollow in the FCIAC quarterfinals.
The Tigers raised their record to 14-3 and will play top-seeded Darien Tuesday at Brien McMahon. Staples dropped to 9-8 and will begin its Class L tournament campaign after Memorial Day.
"It was one of those days where the ball went in the back of the net," Riley said. "We played loose and made our shots."
Said Tigers coach Roy Cosley: "He's (Riley) a goal-scorer. If he scored four, five or six goals, I'm not surprised, but nine is shocking."
Ridgefield attacker Sean Wilkinson, who had three goals and three assists, set up Riley's equalizer that knotted the game at 3-3.
"Sean Riley is a great player and one of the best finishers in the state," Wilkinson said. "We played together since second grade and know he can finish. We're good at getting open and finding the soft spot in the opposing defenses."
Although Riley had a day every player wishes for, he could have achieved double figures if he didn't hit the post twice.
"I hit a ton of posts," Riley admitted.
Wilkinson showed a penchant for scoring as well. Only 17 seconds into the second quarter, he tied it 2-2, and gave Ridgefield the lead for good, 4-3, when he circled around the net and tucked it home.
"My job is to be a feeder instead of scoring, but when I find an opening, I look to dodge," Wilkinson said. "I was able to dodge and put it in."
As for the Wreckers, they ran into a buzzsaw Saturday, and at times, didn't do much to try and stop it.
"They took control of the game," Staples coach Paul McNulty said. "They outworked us in groundballs and draws. We're a good team, but didn't do well today."
Staples goalie Cole Gendels was the story in the first quarter. Gendels made six of his 11 saves in the opening frame, robbing Wilkinson, Calvin Dearth, Eric Scala and Tim Kelly. His performance helped the Wreckers take a 2-1 lead on goals by Peter Paul and Kyle Murray.
"We had opportunities in the first quarter, but their goalie did an outstanding job," Colsey said. "Staples is a solid team and has a good goalie."
Riley doubled Ridgefield's lead and made it 5-3 off a centering pass from Wilkinson with 5:07 to go -- which was the halftime score.
The Tigers started to pull away in the third quarter. They scored six goals in the frame to extend the lead to eight, 11-3, and take command of the game going into the final quarter.
"We came out slow, coach told us what we're doing wrong, and we took it right to them," Riley said.
Colsey said, "Our offense is designed to create quality shots and when we do it, they usually go in."
Riley scored four of the six goals in the third quarter.
"I guess we focused on the wrong guy," McNulty said. "We focused more on Wilkinson and Scala, who hurt us in the past and get their offense going, instead of the finishers, Riley and Kelly."
STAPLES 2 1 0 1-- 4
RIDGEFIELD 1 4 6 4--15
Records: Staples 9-8, Ridgefield 14-3.
Scoring: S--Peter Paul (2g), Joey Zelkowitz (1g, 1a) Kyle Murray (1g) Colin Bannon (2a). R--Sean Riley (9g), Sean Wilkinson (3g, 3a), Tim Kelly (1g, 2a), Calvin Dearth (1g, 1a), Eric Scala (1g), Will Bonaparte (3a), Brett Baker (1a), Sam Boehle (1a). Goalies: S--Cole Gendels (11 saves); James Hines (1 save) H--Adam Winne (9). Shots: S--15; R--38.