Girls soccer: Two early goals carry Tigers to win over Wilton in FCIACs

On Thursday evening, the Greenwich boys soccer team scored two goals in 86 seconds to beat Wilton, 2-1, in the FCIAC quarterfinals. Less than 24 hours later, the Ridgefield girls soccer team needed only 74 seconds to score twice en route to a 2-1 victory over Wilton in the conference quarterfinals.

Playing at home, third-seed Ridgefield began the game by applying immediate pressure on the sixth-seeded Warriors, putting a shot on the Wilton net within the first minute. The Tigers' early attack was soon rewarded with two goals in just over a minute.

Two mental mistakes on defense led to the Ridgefield goals.

“We seem to get off to slow starts in some games and today was no different,” said Wilton head coach Freya Coombe, whose team will bring a 9-7-1 record into the Class LL state tournament. “In this league, when you make a mistake teams make you pay for it.”

Katie Jasminski opened the scoring for the Tigers in the eighth minute, assisted by Natalie Brassinga. Seventy-four seconds later, Alex Damron followed with a goal to give Ridgefield a 2-0 lead. On the play, Wilton goalie Hana Previte came off the goal line to challenge Alyssa Bonanno. Bonanno didn’t have a good look and slid the ball to Damron, who was open at the far post and only needed to re-direct the ball into the net.

First-half action saw the Tigers out-hustling Wilton to loose balls and stepping into the passing lanes to cut off build-ups. Wilton was tentative in challenges and played many passes without a purpose.

But the Warriors came out with more resolve in the second half. In the 50th minute, freshman Lindsay Groves cut the Ridgefield lead in half with an unassisted goal. Groves was at the top corner of the box and lofted a shot that found the inside corner of the net to pull Wilton within 2-1.

The Warriors had several other chances to even the score, but crossing passes in front of the goal found nobody home and the Tigers came away with the win to advance to the semifinals on Monday.

Ridgefield was able to keep Wilton’s top scorer, Paisley Eagan, in check all game. The Tigers marked Eagan with one and sometimes two players, limiting her touches and making it difficult for Eagan’s teammates to get her the ball.

“It took a while for things to fall into place this season," said Coombe, a first-year coach who watched Wilton lose five of its first six games before turning its season around. "But the team came together and made positive steps throughout the year.

"Even though we got off to a shaky start to the season, we were able to achieve our pre-season goals of making both the FCIAC and state playoffs. Hopefully, the team will use this game as a learning experience and use this outcome to make them stronger."