Senior Ally Dejana scored both goals as the Wilton High girls soccer team rallied from an early deficit to beat Fairfield Ludlowe, 2-1, in the opening round of the Class LL state tournament Monday in Wilton.
The 1th-seeded Warriors (11-4-3) will now play sixth-seed St. Joseph in a second-round game on Wednesday at 4 p.m. in Trumbull. St. Joseph routed Westhill, 6-0, in another first-round game Monday.
Ludlowe, the 22nd seed, caught Wilton flat-footed and scored a goal just 4:32 into the contest for an early 1-0 lead. The Warriors failed to clear the ball from the goal mouth and Ludlowe’s Georgia Hoey converted on a pass from Paige O’Connell.
Falling behind served as a wake-up call for the Warriors, who made several runs up the field in search of the equalizer.
Wilton finally broke through when Elizabeth Connolly sent a pass to Dejana in the box. Dejana got by her defender and pounded a shot high into the net to tie the score in the 16th minute.
Dejana’s second goal, which proved to be the game-winner, came in the 29th minute, as she tracked down a long through, faked a defender, and tucked her shot into the corner of the net.
“We didn’t get off to a good start and the weather conditions didn’t help, but we stayed focused and kicked into gear after they scored.” said Dejana.“Yes we had other good chances to score and we couldn’t capitalize on them, but we are excited about coming away with the win.”
The Warriors will now travel to Trumbull to face the 6thseeded St. Joes Cadets on Wednesday at 2pm. St. Joes beat Wilton 3-1 during the regular season.
Led by Oliva Gladstein, Wilton’s back line combined with goalie Erynn Floyd to keep the Falcons scoreless in the second half. The Warriors had to weather a storm late in the game as Ludlowe applied steady pressure for the final 12 minutes.
“Ludlowe gave us all we could handle,” said Wilton head coach Renato Topalli. “I’m very pleased for the way we played … we have some key injuries, but several players stepped up tonight so we could advance.
“Ally (Dejana) was our only senior on the field tonight and she showed her senior leadership for her teammates to follow,” added Topalli. “I also feel that our time off since our last game gave us time to rest and prepare for tonight’s game.”
Topalli will have far less time to get his players ready for Wednesday’s road game against St. Joseph, the reigning Class L state champion. St. Joseph beat Wilton, 3-1, during a regular-season game Sept. 22.
“I feel that on any given day we can hold our own against any team,” said Topalli. “We just have to limit our mistakes and play our game.”