Girls soccer: Warriors down Warde in FCIAC quarterfinals

The Wilton High girls soccer team wasn’t going to let the visiting Fairfield Warde Mustangs come to Kristine Lilly Field and push the hosts around. The second-seeded Warriors held their ground and pushed back to come away with a 2-0 win in an FCIAC quarterfinal game Saturday.

Wilton will now play sixth-seed Westhill in the semifinals on Monday night at 5 at Norwalk High.

Saturday’s game saw many players end up on the ground and several fouls called, but no cards were issued for the physical play.

The first Wilton goal came as a result of a direct kick off a Warde foul, well outside the 18-yard mark. Bridgette Dwyer sent a perfectly placed ball high on net over the Mustangs’ goalie for the 1-0 Wilton lead in the 10th minute. Dwyer, one of Wilton’s anchors on defense, came up to take the kick as the Warriors packed the box with offensive players.

Wilton scored its second goal just 22 seconds into the second half. The Warriors took the second-half kick-off and quickly moved down the field. The ball found its way to Annika Sheehan on the wing. Sheehan sent a crossing pass into the box to Rebecca Hersch for the score.

With Wilton starting goalie Cecily Freliech out due to injury, sophomore Hana Previte was forced into duty in goal. After Freliech went out, the coaching staff basically told Previte she was going to be the team’s new goalie, knowing that she was  athletic and had basketball skills and had good height. Previte, who has very little experience in goal, pitched a shutout for the Warriors, making nine saves.

She got great support from a Wilton defense led by co-captain Makenna Pearsall, Jillian Lauricella and Dwyer. The trio plays smart, with confidence, and is calm under pressure.

“I’m extremely proud of the way we played today. They believe in each other and they believe in what the coaches tell them they need to do to be a championship team,” said Wilton’s first-year head coach John Salvatore. “We have players go down and someone steps up to fill their spot. Hana (Previte) was nervous about playing in goal in the playoffs, but the coaches supported her and we told her that we believed in her and that she could do the job. We coach to each player’s strengths and put them in position not to expose their weaknesses.”

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