Girls soccer: Freliech, Warriors stop Warde, 2-1

The Wilton High girls soccer team honored its 10 seniors on Tuesday afternoon. But the celebration didn't end there: The Warriors also registered an impressive victory.

One goal in each half carried Wilton to a 2-1 triumph over Fairfield Warde at Kristine Lilly Field. Warde (11-2-3) entered the game with a chance to be the top overall seed for the upcoming FCIAC playoffs.

"We needed it more then they did and I’m happy that we played them tough,” said Wilton head coach John Salvatore, whose team is now 8-1-6 and has clinched a conference playoff berth. "Today’s game will do wonders to build our confidence going into post-season play. I know we have six ties, but we only got beat once this year.”

Warde came out flat in the first half, as the Warriors had several early scoring chances. In the 14th minute Annika Sheehan was able to get a step of her defender and turn the corner on the wing. Sheehan sent a pass into the box to Laine Parsons, whose hard shot clanged off the crossbar. In the 20th minute, a shot by Hannah Maatallah sailed over the net.

But when it was Haley English’s turn, her shot found the back of the net in the 31st minute. Sheehan, who was racing down the field all game long, again played the ball toward the goal. Parsons controlled it and got a shot off that was blocked. English picked up the loose ball and scored to give the Warriors the 1-0 lead.

Warde’s only real chance for a goal came off a corner kick in the 17th minute, but Wilton keeper Cecily Freliech punched the ball out of harm’s way.

Wilton’s lead grew to 2-0 early in the second half on converted penalty kick. Karen Brosko fired a shot from the corner of the goal box that hit the hand of a Warde player, giving Wilton a penalty kick. Bridgette Dwyer set the ball in the circle and slammed it into the corner of the net just 2:37 into the second half.

Brosko and Ashley Vitarelli had subsequent chances to increase the home team's lead but were just off the mark.

Warde was able to finally break through with a goal with 10:22 left in the game. Alexa Montani scored off a corner kick to cut the Warrior lead to 2-1.

The final few minutes of the game saw the Mustangs pick up their intensity in trying to get the equalizer. But the star of the game (as selected by the Wilton coaches), Freliech, came up big to give her team the victory. With 2:00 to play, Freliech again punched out a Warde shot attempt and then seconds later made a save on a corner kick. When time expired, the Wilton team rushed onto the field to congratulate its goalie.

“Yeah it was very emotional being senior night and the thoughts that it could be my last game playing on this field did enter my mind,” said Freliech. “But I kept telling myself to stay focused and concentrate on my techniques to keep my emotions in check. We’ve had our ups and downs this, but today we came out fired up and ready to play."