No. 10 Wilton reaches Class LL semifinals with win over No. 18 Danbury

Wilton’s Heather Plowright after the Warriors’ win over Danbury in the Class LL quarterfinals on Friday.

Wilton’s Heather Plowright after the Warriors’ win over Danbury in the Class LL quarterfinals on Friday.

Scott Ericson / Hearst Connecticut Media

WILTON — The state tournament pedigree for the two teams could not have been more different.

The Wilton girls soccer program has appeared in 14 CIAC state championship games and won 10 titles, with the last one coming in 2008 in Class L.

On the other side, was a Danbury team which had never played in a CIAC state championship game in girls soccer and was playing in the quarterfinals for the first time in at least 15 years.

No. 10 Wilton took a two goal lead in the second half before No. 18 Danbury got one back and nearly tied the game in the final minute but it was Wilton holding on for the 2-1 win in the fog at Kristine Lilly Field.

“I think we deserved the win. We have worked really hard this season and it is nice to see that reward in reaching the semifinals,” Wilton coach Renato Topalli said. “It was an interesting game. Danbury fought until the end. We went up 2-0, but 2-0 is the worst lead in soccer because you get comfortable. Danbury fought and got a goal and kept pushing.”

Wilton will face a familiar FCIAC foe in the semifinals in No. 6 Ludlowe, the team Wilton beat in the FCIAC semifinals.

“Looks like we’re playing Ludlowe, who we played in the FCIAC semis,” Topalli said. “All four teams in the semis are from the FCIAC, so it’s the FCIAC playoffs again. We’re just taking it game by game at this point.”

The other semifinal will feature No. 9 Staples against the winner of No. 13 Ridgefield and No. 12 Warde.

Danbury nearly grabbed an early lead in the game but a header off a corner kick hit the crossbar.

Wilton got on the board 12 minutes into the second half with Amelia Hughes sending a corner kick into Heather Plowright, who connected for the goal.

Wilton would go up 2-0 nine minutes later when Mia Sommer followed up a rebound after a diving save by the Danbury keeper on a shot by Plowright.

Danbury would not go quietly.

The Hatters scored with 14:45 left to play with Dena Jane Gawley picking up a loose ball and finishing.

Danbury would continue to apply pressure, even ringing a free kick off the crossbar with :58 to go, but could not get the equalizer.

The Hatters, who did not qualify for the FCIAC tournament, upset No. 15 Hall and No. 2 Maloney to reach quarterfinals but could not find enough magic to keep the ride rolling.

“We came in a little sluggish, third game of the week. We had an opportunity there in the first half where we hit the crossbar on that corner. That one was a big deal because we could have scored first,” Danbury coach Jessica Halas said. “I am incredibly proud of this group, especially our two seniors, both captains. It’s been a great year.”

Danbury has only two seniors on the roster and will hope to build on this successful run next season.

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Heather Plowright, Wilton: Plowright’s goal got Wilton rolling and she was in on the action all night.

QUOTABLE

“It’s really exciting. We have worked really hard as a team this season and it’s nice to see that paying off,” Plowright said. “We’ve been working on our positioning and connecting the ball to feet with each other. That has been paying off. Amelia (Hughes) takes amazing corners and they go to similar spots every time. We have to attack there and put our body on the line and I was able to do that and put it in the back of the net.”

Sericson@stamfordadvocate.com; @EricsonSports

WILTON 2, DANBURY 1

DANBURY 0 1—1

WILTON 0 2—2

Scoring: W—Heather Plowright 1g; Mia Sommer 1g; Amelia Hughes 1a. D— Dena Jane Gawley 1g

Goalies: D — Mali Neperman 9 saves; W—Erynn Floyd 6 saves