Girls soccer: Wilton shocks Darien on late goal by Groves

Sophomore Lindsay Groves scored the game winner on a bang-bang play with 1:35 remaining in the game to give the Wilton High girls soccer team a 2-1 win over the Darien Blue Wave on Tuesday afternoon in Darien.

The Warriors went the length of the field in a matter of seconds for the winning score. Wilton goalie Taylor Floyd made a save on a Blue Wave shot and saw Andrea Benalcazar wide open in the middle of the field, 30 yards up field. Instead of punting the ball, Floyd rolled it to Benalcazar, catching her in stride moving up the field.

Benalcazar dribbled a bit and sent a long ball between two Darien defenders and found Groves cutting in between them. Benalcazar’s pass caught up to Groves at the perfect angle and gave her the chance to get a step on the defender. Groves had the step on the player and sent a low shot into the far corner of the goal for the score.

“Andrea sent me a perfect pass and I had the speed to get a step on my defender,” said Groves. “I saw the goalie position herself and I saw the far corner wide open and said that’s where I’m going with it.”

Groves had several opportunities throughout the game, but gave credit to Darien’s Margaret Skeats for keeping pace with her and pushing her wide.

“I kept my patience and my cool and I just kept trying to break through every chance I got,” she said.

The win pushes the Warriors record to 8-2-1 on the season, while the loss drops Darien to 6-2-3.

The Warriors got on the board first in the 17th minute of play. The ball was loose in front of the Blue Wave goal and the ball came to Benalcazar, who sent her pass back away from the goal to a wide-open Zoe Lash.

Lash had no other options but to take the long shot, as no teammate had an advantage. She settled the ball and went high with her shot over the goalie’s head for the 1-0 lead.

“I felt confident with taking the shot because I got all my bad ones out in practice,” said Lash. “It was my second goal of the year, as I am usually setting up my teammates.”

The Warriors were a slightly off their game on Tuesday and Lash commented that she felt the team was a little nervous about today’s game, and due to no school today the team didn’t have its group meeting in school to get them pumped up for the game.

Darien tied the game at 1-1 in the 28th minute as a result of a penalty kick. Wilton was whistled for a handball in the goal box and Ellen Harnish stepped to the mark and drove home the Blue Wave’s only score.

Floyd had another solid game between the pipes for the Warriors. Including today’s penalty kick goal, Floyd has allowed only five goals over the past 10 games, in which the team had gone 8-1-1. Floyd gave up two goals in the 2-1 loss to Ridgefield and one goal in each of three games, with five shutouts.

Floyd, who was also played a stellar shortstop in softball for Wilton, recently announced she is giving up softball to devote full-time to her new passion soccer.

Wilton Head Coach Renato Topalli was pleased to come away with the win with his team putting forth a less-than-normal stellar performance.

“I felt we dominated play in the first half and should have scored very early in the game,” said Topalli. “The game was emotional and intense and we gave them too many chances to stay in the game. We were slow to clear the ball from in front of the goal, which we normally don’t do. But we the team worked through these mistakes and came away with the win. I felt we outplayed them. We were just off our game today.”