Field hockey: Wilton rebounds from loss, blanks Trumbull

After a lackluster performance last Thursday night at Norwalk that ended in a 2-1 overtime loss, the Wilton High field hockey team was not going to make the same mistake when the Warriors visited Trumbull Monday night.

Wilton was aggressive and focused right from the opening whistle, earning a penalty corner just 30 seconds in the game.

They never let up throughout a dominating first-half performance, taking a three-goal lead en route to a 3-0 win.

With the win, Wilton improved its record to 10-0-2-1.

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The Warriors are currently second in the FCIAC points standings with 22 points. They are behind by Norwalk (11-2-0-1, 23 points), but could leapfrog the Bears by winning its final two regular-season games.

Wilton hosts New Canaan on Wednesday at 4 and Fairfield Ludlowe next Tuesday at 6 to close out the regular season.

Staples (9-0-2-0, 20 points) is third in the FCIAC standings and Darien (9-1-1-0, 19 points) is fourth; both have three games left. New Canaan (9-3-0-0, 18 points) fifth and Trumbull (7-5-0-0) is tied for sixth (with Ludlowe) with 14 points.

Monday’s win helped take the sting away from last Thursday’s loss, which was Wilton’s first defeat to a state opponent this season.

“I think they answered back from Norwalk, and that’s exactly what I wanted from them. Norwalk was a tough loss,” said head coach Deirdre Hynes. “They came out ready to play.”

The Warriors pushed the ball into the Trumbull circle repeatedly over the first 15 to 20 minutes, earning six corners in the first seven minutes before Caroline Ferro knocked the ball in on a corner, off a Emma Rothkopf assist, at 22:41.

The Wilton assault continued nonstop but it was still a 1-0 game with under seven minutes left in the first half. Trumbull goalie Maddy SanAngelo was a rock in goal, turning away several blasts from the outside and blocking many rebound shots in traffic in front of the goal, as well as reaching high to swat away a couple of Molly Thomas aerial shots.

The Warriors, however, kept at it and finally scored again with 6:25 left in the half, on a corner, when Gwen Hall scored right in front off a pass from Emma Rosen. The corner had resulted from a impressive push up the center of the field by Rosen, who got off a rocket from the top of the arc that SanAngelo blocked.

Three penalty corners later, Wilton made it 3-0 when Rosen poked the ball in after a scramble in front of the cage, with 2:33 left in the half. Delaney Chase got the assist.

SanAngelo finished the first half with eight saves, in addition to multiple times where she kicked the ball clear of danger with a pack of Warriors perched in front of the goal.

The Warriors had a 15-0 edge in corners in the first half, and outshot the Eagles 11-0 in the half.

Wilton came right back with heavy pressure to open the second half, but as the half went on the Eagles began to even out the midfield play and keep Wilton’s attack at bay. Trumbull had its best (and only) scoring chance of the night with 13 minutes left to play, when Lauren Louw carried the ball into the left side of the arc and got off a clear shot that goalie Erynn Fray made the save on.

For the game, Wilton had a 17-0 edge in corners and 14-1 edge in shots on goal. Fray and Emma Likely each played a half in goal for Wilton. SanAngelo finished with 11 saves for Trumbull.

“I was pleased with Bridget Ward’s play and Delaney Chase’s play. I thought they played excellently tonight,” said Hynes.

Norwalk

In Thursday’s loss at Norwalk, the Warriors had the better of the play in the first half, with a 3-1 edge in shots on goal and 3-2 edge in penalty corners. They took a 1-0 halftime lead thanks to Chase’s goal with 8:52 left in the half, off a corner. Madeline Pagliaro had the assist.

But the Bears came out fired up after halftime and took control, tying things up 1-1 just over five minutes into the second half on Jacqueline Mirabile’s goal.

After halftime, Norwalk had a 7-1 edge in corners and 6-2 edge in shots on goal. Frances Mirabile scored the game-winner two minutes into overtime.

“Norwalk out-hustled us for almost every ball. They picked it up a notch and they dominated in the second half. We should have capitalized more on our opportunities in the first half and we didn’t,” said coach Hynes.

Likely finished the night with seven saves for Wilton, while Samantha Troetti made three saves for Norwalk. The Bears outshot the Warriors on the night, 7-5, and had a 9-4 edge in corners.

“We learned a lesson the hard way on Thursday, which is better to learn during the regular season and not in the postseason,” said Hynes. “We have all the skill in the world but it doesn’t matter if you don’t have heart. Any team that out-hustles you, they can upset you any time. We’ve got to have out heart in the game, every time.”