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Trumbull girls soccer advances on penalty kicks

Updated 12:21 am, Tuesday, November 13, 2012
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TRUMBULL -- The Trumbull girls soccer team overcame Westhill's tying goal in the final seconds of regulation and eventually kept its season alive on penalty kicks Monday night.

The Eagles were able to advance 3-2 (4-2 penalty kicks) and will play at No. 4 Mercy at 2 p.m. in Wednesday's quarterfinals.

"It was frustrating to have them score when you think the game is almost over," said Trumbull's Katie Sullivan, who took her team's third penalty kick, a shot that caromed in off the post. "You just have to stay together as a team, and that's just what we did. We spend the last 10-15 minutes of practice on penalty kicks."

The Vikings were outplayed badly at the outset, yet managed to score the opening goal and the tying goal by freshman Anna Rogers with just 1.5 seconds left.

After being put on the defensive in the two overtime periods, the fifth-seeded Eagles regrouped, converting all four of their attempts in the shootout while the Vikings failed to put two of theirs on goal.

During a frenetic finish to regulation, the Vikings were awarded a direct kick from about 15 yards out, and Jess Laszlo hurried to set the ball as time wound down. Her shot, struck with nine seconds left, hit off the crossbar. It bounded out on the right side to Rogers, who was true with her try, setting off a rousing celebration.

Prior to the play, Trumbull (12-2-3), still reeling from being eliminated in the opening round of the FCIAC tournament after winning the regular-season title, had held a 23-6 advantage in shots and 11-1 in corner kicks.

"I have to give a lot of credit to Westhill," said Trumbull coach Daniel Uhrlass. "They showed a lot of heart and we looked fatigued in overtime. Our finishing was terrible tonight. Maybe we were too excited. We rushed. The midfielders moved the ball really well but there was not enough composure by the attackers in the box."

On a night of stark emotional extremes, the Eagles saw their early dominance result in a deficit when Laszlo drilled a shot from 30 yards out in the 13th minute for a 1-0 lead.

The Vikings' good feeling was fleeting; Ana Tantum equalized seconds later for Trumbull, which took a 2-1 lead in the 61st minute when Westhill goalkeeper Zhenna Stewart made a nice save on Marissa Piccolo, but Kendall Szulimowski put home the rebound.

That looked to be the difference until Rogers scored.

The 21st-seeded Vikings (9-7-2), who missed qualifying for the league playoffs, played a much better second half and had the better of the play in overtime, when Stewart and the Eagles' Emily Doris both stepped up with critical saves.

Gabriella Reggiano, Tantum, Sullivan and Lindsey Gilson calmly stepped to the line during the shootout and kept their team's season alive.

"I think (Trumbull) is a very good team," Westhill coach Dave Flower said.

"I was happy to be in the game with a few minutes left. This game was kind of like our season with the ups and downs. Penalty kicks are penalty kicks. You know it is tough. I'm proud of what we did during the game."

Class LL second round

WESTHILL 1 1 0 0--2

TRUMBULL 1 1 0 0--2

Records: Trumbull 13-2-3; Westhill 9-7-2

Goals: W--Jess Laszlo, Anna Rogers; T--Ana Tantum, Kendall Szulimowki. Penalty kicks: W--Laszlo, Christina Belmonte; T--Gabriella Reggiano, Tantum, Katie Sullivan, Lindsey Gilson. Assists: W--Laszlo; T--Taylor Pratcher, Marissa Piccolo. Goalies: W--Zhenna Stewart (7 saves); T--Emily Doris (4 saves). Shots: W--11; T--24.