Girls soccer: Wilton plays Cadets tough in scoreless tie

On a picture-perfect day for the last day of the summer, the Wilton High girls soccer team when toe- to-toe with the St. Joseph Cadets, one of the best teams in the conference over the past few seasons, to come away with a 0-0 tie Saturday at Kristine Lilly Field.

Both teams had golden opportunities to score and come away with the victory. Wilton got a solid effort in goal for the second game in a row from Taylor Floyd to keep the Cadets from scoring. The visitors clearly had many more shots on net then the home team. Floyd was also assisted by the pipes, as one St. Joe’s shots hit the post and another hit the crossbar.

Game action was back and forth early in the contest, with neither team posing a scoring threat. In the 10th minute, the Cadet’s Jessica Mazo’s shot hit squarely off the post for the game's first scoring action. The far corner of the net was open, as the play was at the near post, but the post made the save.

After the close call by Mazo, the Cadets picked up their play and kept the pressure on the Warrior defense. But the Wilton defense and midfielders, led by Chloe Zimmermann, Paige Gladstein, Brady Faria, Sophia Sudano and Zoe Lash, were up to the challenge and held the line.

In the 19th minute, Floyd made a diving save going to her left as Mazo got a good look at the net.

The Warriors’ first good chance for a score came just after the save, as senior co-captain Ashley Vitarelli played a long ball deep into the Cadets’ zone, but found no one home for the pass.

Vitarelli, who has battled the Cadets the past few years, praised her teammates for their effort after the game.

“The entire team gave a great effort today and we have come a long way since our opening season loss to Westhill,” said Vitarelli. “Sure, we had chances to win and so did they, but we gave them a battle and we never stopped working hard. The team has been show good work ethics on the field and in practice since our first game. The coaches also changed our formation and things are flowing much better.”

Early in the second half, Floyd got an assist on a save by Lash, who stepped in to clear the ball tracking toward the net. Less than a minute later, Taylor had fall to knees for the save, as an another Cadet player attacked the net looking for a rebound.

The Warriors didn’t get the ball past the midfield stripe for the first nine minutes of the second half, but soon after they had two great chances to get on the board. In the 52nd minute, Ally Dejana lofted the ball toward the midfield circle where Lindsay Groves was left wide open. Groves settled the ball and raced out behind the defense and was one-on-one with the Cadet keeper. Groves saw the far corner open, but she sent her shot wide of the far post, keeping the game deadlocked at 0-0.

With less than 20 minutes to play, it was Groves turn to feed Dejana. Groves played the ball from the wing for the open Dejana, who had split the two St. Joe's defenders. Dejana wasn’t able to get a foot on it to get off a shot before the defense collapsed on her.

In the 64th minute, the Cadets’ Lindsey Savko got in on goal and had an open corner, but her shot also hit solidly off the post.

With just over four minutes to play, the Cadets had another chance to break the scoreless tie. A St Joe's corner kick was played into in front of the net, where the close range shot hit off the crossbar.

Wilton gave a complete team effort in battling a team that has been tough to beat over the last two seasons.

The Warriors fought hard and have clearly fixed some things since their opening-game loss.

“They battled the entire game and everybody who took the field contributed,” said Wilton head coach Renato Topalli.

“St. Joes is a very good team and we played them well. We didn’t have a set game plan coming into the contest, we planned to adjust to what they presented to us,”“ he said.

“The team should be proud of themselves and the fact that they are a little upset that they didn’t win is a good thing and should motivate them for the next game. We feel this is our field and the tradition of the school and the player the field is named after makes us want to win every home game. We need more playing experience and show composure around the net. Our skills create our scoring chances; we just have to work on some little things.”