The Wilton High girls soccer team and its coaching staff knew it would take a perfect effort to beat unbeaten Ridgefield on Wednesday night at Kristine Lilly Field.
Ridgefield, the reigning Class LL state champion, entered the game with a 9-0 record and had outscored its opponents by a combined margin of 35-0.
Although Wilton was unable to pull off the upset, it did give the Tigers their toughest test so far this season.
Capitalizing on Wilton’s lone defensive mistake, Ridgefield scored the game’s only goal in the 58th minute to come away with a 1-0 victory and improve its record to 10-0.
“The team did everything we asked them to do; they worked hard, fought hard, and played a complete game,” said Wilton head coach Renato Topalli. “We didn’t clear the ball after a free kick and they made us pay for it.
“They’re a much bigger team than us, but we told our girls to go at them and battle as hard as you can,” added Topalli. “I’m proud for the way we played tonight.”
The two teams battled from end line to end line, with each waiting for the other to blink.
Wilton’s first opportunity came in the eighth minute when the Warriors looked to track down a loose ball. But Ridgefield goalie Lauren Castle came way off her goal line to get there first and deny the hosts.
Ridgefield’s initial scoring chance came in the 13thminute, but Wilton freshman goalie Erynn Floyd made the save.Floyd was at the top of her game, coming up with several difficult stops, including punching the ball away from the net twice while diving to make saves.
Floyd got great support from defenders Grace Rava, Olivia Gladstein, and Piper Chase. The trio showed good closing speed to track down loose balls and was effective at taking the ball away from attacking Ridgefield players.
“The whole team gave a great effort tonight and we are proud of the way we played,” said Rava. “We have no reason to walk off the field with our heads down. We worked hard to try to score on them first and to put some pressure on them, but we just could finish on our chances.”
Wilton’s Alex Dejana had a chance to break the scoreless tie with just over a minute remaining in the first half, but her shot attempt went wide.
The Warriors applied pressure at the start of the second half, forcing Castle to punch out a shot on goal.
The game’s only score goal came with 22:05 left to play. A free kick went into the Wilton box and found its way to Faith Arnold, who passed to Caitlin Slaminko for the score.
Notes:Wilton is now 3-3-1 going into tomorrow’s game against unbeaten Staples (8-0-1) in Westport.