Girls soccer: Wilton blanks Stamford on Senior Night, 4-0
Thursday night’s game was Senior Night for the Wilton High girls soccer team and the seniors came away with the 4-0 win over Stamford on their special night at Kristine Lilly Soccer Field.
Senior Andrea Benalcazar tallied two goals and an assist to pace the Warriors, who needed the win to maintain the eighth and final spot in the upcoming FCIAC playoffs.
Seniors nights always hold a special place in a young player’s high school career, but tonight it was extra special for senior Carly Lattimer.
Lattimer, who was a mainstay in the Warriors’ backline last season, hasn’t played all season due to an injury and has been sorely missed.
Wilton won the coin toss and took the opening kick. Head coach Renato Topalli put Lattimer on the field to take it. Wilton proceeded to kick the ball out of bounds so Lattimer could leave the field and be greeted by her teammates in an emotional display.
As for the game, the Warriors dominated the action for most of the time, scoring two goals in each half. But give the team from Stamford a lot of credit. The Black Knights showed no quit, battling to the end and had their best chances to score late in the game when they were down by four goals.
With the victory, the Warriors (8-6-1) picked up three points to make their final regular-season game against Fairfield Ludlowe on Tuesday for all the marbles. Ludlowe currently is the ninth seed. A win or tie on Tuesday locks up the FCIAC playoff berth for Wilton, while a loss puts the Warriors on the outside looking in, waiting for the state playoffs to commence.
Tuesday’s game is at 4 at Lilly Field.
“The team came out tonight and did what they had to do, which was win the game,” said Topalli. “Winning on Senior Night is always special, but we now need to turn our focus to Tuesday night’s game. Our game against Ludlowe is not going to end up in a tie — they need it to get into the FCIACs, so they will be bringing their best, I just hope we can match their intensity and play how we are capable of playing.”
He continued, “We have some things we need to work on to get ready for them and we have to bring our best play to the field. Making the FCIAC playoffs was a goal we set at the beginning of the season and it’s within our control to get there.”
Wilton opened the game and went right on the attack. Senior Lily Macdonald put a shot on goal in the first minute of play and the Warriors never took their foot off the gas. In the sixth minute, senior Olivia Roman’s shot hit off the post to keep the Warriors off the board. But Roman would get another chance for the Warriors, only this time she assisted Benalcazar on her goal in the ninth minute for the 1-0 lead
With 4:11 remaining in the first half, Benalcazar lofted a pass to the wing, where Zoe Lash was driving toward the net. Lash got a step on the Stamford defender and found the back of the net. Wilton led 2-0 at halftime.
Wilton kept the offensive pressure on in the second half but couldn’t add to the lead until 11:03 left in the game. Paisley Eagan threaded the ball through several defenders and the Black Knight’s goalie for the 3-0 lead.
Benalcazar capped off the scoring with her second goal of the game with 6:05 left. Benalcazar was on the right wing and with her left foot hooked her shot into the goal for the 4-0 final.
“I’m not a left-footed player, I just wanted to get another goal in the game,” said Benalcazar, who then commented on her emotions on Senior Night.
“It was actually a very special day for us seniors. We came into school and the freshmen greeted us to kick off the day and we ended it with the win tonight,” she said. “Seeing Carly (Lattimer) on the field was very inspiring for the team. She played a big part in our success last year and hasn’t been able to play this year. That’s why you got to go out and give it your all, as you never know when your last game going to be.”