English helps Wilton girls soccer team win state opener

Haley English had her hand — make that her foot — in all three goals as the 11th-seeded Wilton High girls soccer team defeated Wethersfield, 3-1, in the first round of the Class L state tournament on Monday at Kristine Lilly Field.

English scored twice and added an assist for the Warriors, who will now play sixth-seed Joel Barlow in the second round on Wednesday in Redding.

Wethersfield, the 22nd seed, had the game’s first real scoring threat in the fourth minute when an Eagle player got in behind the Wilton defense and was one-on-one with goalie Hana Previte. Previte made a kick save to keep the game scoreless.

After Previte’s save, the Warriors got on track and controlled play for most of the first half. Junior Annika Sheehan made several long runs down the wing and turned the corner on her defender to send crossing passes into the box, but none of her teammates were there to finish.

Wilton took a 1-0 lead in the 16th minute on English’s first goal, assisted by Hannah Maatallah. Maatallah sent a centering pass to the goal mouth that English trapped and then put the ball, and herself, into the net.

English scored again with 3:46 left in the first half, with an assist from Zoe Lamason. English was unmarked in front of the goal and converted Lamason’s pass high into the net.

Wilton looked as though it was going to carry the 2-0 lead into the half, but a Warrior foul on the wing with under 20 seconds to play gave the Eagles a direct kick. Jaclyn Accarpio then placed a perfect ball in front of the goal and Shayla Bailey was there for the score.

Wilton increased its lead to 3-1 in the 50th minute. Rebecca Hersch found herself with an empty net in front of her after a pass from English. Hersch calmly deposited a shot squarely into the back of the net.

English had gotten by her defender, and that forced the Wethersfield goalie to come out and play her. English got past the charging goalie, but she didn’t have the angle for the score and fed Hersch on the door step for the game's final goal.