Wilton edges Warde in state opener
As the first half dwindled, Wilton goalie Erynn Floyd yelled a message to her teammates: Keep shooting.
The Warriors listened, and shortly after one of their attempts found the back of the net.
Freshman Heather Plowright’s goal with six minutes left in the opening half was the difference as 11th-seed Wilton edged 22nd-seed Fairfield Warde, 1-0, in the first round of the Class LL state tournament Tuesday afternoon at Kristine Lilly Field.
Wilton will now hit the road to face sixth-seed Newington in a second-round game Thurdsay at 2 p.m. Newington edged 27th-seed Hamden, 3-2, in another first-round game Tuesday.
The Warriors had beaten Warde by a score of 3-0 during the FCIAC regular season but found goals harder to manufacture on Tuesday.
“Warde gave us a great game the last time we played them and came ready again tonight,” Wilton head coach Renato Topali said. “We were a bit complacent to begin with but still found a way to win, and that says a lot for us as we head to the rest of the tournament.”
Plowright got the decider after maneuvering around a Warde defender and sending her shot past goalie Claire Harper.
“We all wanted to avoid the penalty kicks we had gotten [eliminated on] in FCIACs and I knew I had to go the distance to get that early goal,” Plowright said. “Being that freshman on varsity has always been daunting, so I was glad to help us take the next step in the postseason.”
Warde fought to stay alive in the closing minutes, but Flynn denied three rapid-fire shots to keep Wilton ahead. After narrowly deflecting a header from Caroline Marcus, Flynn stopped two shots by Alyvia Ronning.
Following Flynn’s rejections, Emerson Pattillo nearly became the second freshman to score for Wilton. Pattillo swerved past several Warde defenders before taking a hard shot that narrowly missed the goal.
“We missed some opportunities tonight, but we were able to settle back on roughly 10 subs and just the one goal,” Topali said. “We’re going to take it one game at a time and head out of the FCIAC to face Newington next — we’ll look to tack on a bigger lead and rely less on just one or two goals.”