The Wilton High girls soccer team went into Thursday’s Class LL second-round game in Newtown looking to continue the kind of offensive firepower it showed in Tuesday’s first-round win.
Unfortunately, in the third-seeded Nighthawks, the Warriors ran into something of a brick wall as they struggled to get any offense going in a 1-0 loss.
The 19th-seeded Warriors ended the season at 10-8-1.
The first half saw both sides put together attacks that led to a few dangerous balls. The game was evenly played, although Newtown had a decided advantage in terms of control, especially as the half wore on.
The second half was all Newtown, which kept Wilton pinned in its half of the field nearly all of the 40 minutes. The Nighthawks’ midfield of Grace Corcoran and Sarah Houle, along with Karsen Pirone and Sydney Howard, controlled the middle of the field and got the ball ahead to the team’s two very talented forwards, Emma Curtis and Carly Swierbut.
The Warriors’ back line — notably center backs Chloe Zimmerman and Grace Rava, but also freshmen Piper Chase, Madeline Wecker and Elizabeth Connolly — were able to keep Newtown off the board until about 18 minutes left.
The Nighthawks’ goal resulted from Houle’s free kick from 24 yards out that deflected off a defender at the top of the box. Wilton was unable to clear and Howard struck a perfectly-placed shot on the ground just inside the right post for the 1-0 lead.
The Warriors picked up the pressure in the final three minutes, with a corner kick, a throw-in deep in the Newtown end, and a free kick from midfield all resulting in dangerous situations in the box but the Nighthawks cleared the danger each time.
“They’re a good team. Credit to them. They worked hard. They were organized in the back,” said Wilton head coach Renato Topalli of the Nighthawks. “I think they physically dominated the game. We’re a little bit young in certain positions and I think they took advantage of that.
“I thought we could have defended certain set pieces a little bit better,” he continued. “We’re proud of our girls. They fought hard this season. They left it all on the field and that’s all you can ask for.”
Newtown improved to 17-3-1 with the win.