Girls soccer: Branford tops Wilton in state quarterfinals
The third-seeded Branford Hornets ended the Wilton High girls soccer team's Class L state tournament run — as well as the Warriors' season — by defeating the visitors, 1-0, on Friday in a quarterfinal game in Branford.
The 11th-seeded Warriors finished the season with a 15-4-3 record.
The game’s only goal came with 15:14 left in the first half. Sara Consolo lofted a pass from the wing to in front of the Wilton goal, where Tanya Altrui was unmarked and put the ball past Wilton goalie Hana Previte for the score.
Although the Hornets were beating the Warriors to the 50/50 balls, Wilton was the team getting most of the quality scoring chances, but the Warriors came up empty. Branford did a good job of getting Wilton out of its rhythm and keeping the Warriors from making long runs up the field, using great anticipation to break up several point-to-point Wilton passes.
“We had the looks; we just missed on our opportunities, which has kind of been our problem all year,” said Wilton head coach John Salvatore. “They had fewer chances than us, but they put their one good chance in the goal, that’s the way the game goes. They’re a very good, skilled team and got a good game from the keeper."
Wilton had a chance in the second minute of play when Annika Sheehan sent a crossing pass to Rebecca Hersch. Hersch's shot went wide, and that would be the beginning of the team's missed opportunities. The Warriors held Branford without a shot on net for the first 19 minutes of the game.
Wilton came out of the break firing, with Hannah Maatallah putting two shots on net in the first three minutes of play that were saved by Hornets goalie Rebecca Vitale.
“The team took a huge step forward this year," said Salvatore. "We made them believe they could be competitive with any team they faced. There were no selfish attitudes on the team; they all wanted to play for each other and work with each other. This loss is going to be hard for them to take because they know they had the chances to win the game.”