Field hockey: Warriors rally to top Cards in OT, advance to FCIAC finals
The Wilton High field hockey team is back in the FCIAC championship game for the third year in a row, and fourth time in five years.
The Warriors rallied from two goals down to beat top-seeded Greenwich in overtime, 3-2, in the semifinals on Monday night at Brien McMahon High School in Norwalk.
Olivia Hahn scored the winning goal 48 seconds into the extra session, off a pass from Jess Hendry.
The fifth-seeded Warriors (13-4-0-1), the reigning FCIAC champs, will play for the title on Thursday night at 7 at Brien McMahon against third-seeded Darien, which beat Norwalk 4-0 in Monday’s other semifinal.
It was Wilton’s second overtime win in a row, and fourth overtime game overall this season.
The Warriors held possession all 48 seconds of the extra session, working the ball around before Hendry made a push down the right side and sent a pass into the arc that Hahn slammed into the goal.
“We know in the 7v7 overtime period, we are no strangers to that as a lot of our games have gone to that point,” said co-coach Toniann Cortina. “We practice it. They know it’s a passing game because there’s so few players on the field. I think our patience with it is what helped go get that final goal.”
After a scoreless but exciting and back-and-forth first half, the Cardinals came out strong to open the second half, scoring two goals in a span of 41 seconds.
The first came after Maggie O’Gorman intercepted a pass and dribbled into the circle, before firing a shot into the left side of the cage, with 26:39 left in the second half.
Samantha Chabot made it 2-0 at 25:55 when she put a shot at the end line, just to the right of of the goal, into the far corner.
Greenwich nearly scored again two minutes later when Wilton goalie Megan Kaeyer denied O'Gorman's shot from five yards.
As the half passed the midway point the Warriors began to apply more pressure, and finally got on the board with 13:49 left, on a penalty corner, when Hendry’s blast deflected high into the cage.
Wilton went right back on the attack and nearly scored again with under 11 minutes left, on another corner, when Greenwich goalie Emily Gunzman stopped a shot by Hendry and then a rebound attempt by Sophia Kaplan.
Four corners later, the Warriors tied the game as Emma Rothkopf took Maddy Pagliaro’s insert pass and sent the ball to Hendry on the right. Hendry then sent it to the left post, where Pagliaro knocked it in to make it 2-2 with 5:41 left.
Wilton finished with a 12-5 edge in corners.
Gunzman made eight saves for the Cardinals and Kaeyer had nine saves for Wilton.
The Warriors played without senior center midfielder Emma Rosen, an all-FCIAC player who suffered a muscle strain in the team’s quarterfinal win over Staples.
But that loss, like the 2-0 deficit, wasn’t about to keep the Warriors from making it back to the finals.
“From the moment we stepped on the bus and the second we walked on the field, the whole team was pumped,” said Hahn. “We have such a positive vibe about our team and we all wanted it so bad.”
“At practice yesterday we talked about mental toughness being a big thing for us. I think they remembered that, they used it, they knew not to get down, that they had to stay tough, and they pulled through,” said Cortina. “The girls knew what they had to do in order to pull out the win, and they did it.”