WILTON — Magic seems to happen when the ball finds its way to Lauren Tangney’s feet.

Whether it’s dribbling around defenders like they’re orange practice cones, or burying shots that spend too much time bouncing around the box, Tangney is a difference maker in Fairfield Warde’s girls’ soccer lineup this fall.

It was the senior forward’s latest goal that proved to be the difference in Warde’s 1-0 win over Wilton on Monday at Kristine Lilly Field.

“Good things happen when Lauren has the ball at her feet,” Warde coach Tom Cunningham said.

There were 22 minutes left in the first half when the ball found its way to Tangney’s feet in the worst way -- from Wilton’s point of view.

After Warde’s Clare Corcoran carried the ball up the sideline and sent a pass into the box, Wilton’s defense had multiple chances to clear it back out. Instead, as the ball pin-balled off defenders, it finally found its way to Tangney at the far post.

“I just knew if I was that close to goal, I had to put it away,” Tangney said. “I put it in the upper left corner of the net.”

Multiple times throughout the game Tangney also found herself creating Mustangs scoring chances with her quick feet.

“I guess my feet move faster than my brain because I don’t think about it at the time,” she said of her foot skills. “I just move around the defenders and don’t really realize what I’m doing.”

BACK ON TRACK

After falling to Staples (2-0) and St. Joseph (3-2) earlier this season, Cunningham was pleased to see his Mustangs come out with a win against an FCIAC playoff contender.

“The FCIAC is loaded with tough teams and this year it’s wide open,” Cunningham said. “We wanted to come into Wilton and give them a good game. Again, it’s two top-eight teams, two teams fighting for an FCIAC spot, and I thought it was well played on both sides.”

The Mustangs defense might have been the difference.

While a Wilton miscue on defense staked the Mustangs to a 1-0 lead, it was Warde’s defense that kept the Warriors from getting too close to test goalkeeper Caleigh Walklet (five saves).

Katie Rigione and Olivia Seymour shined in the center back position with Claire Cherniske and Cara Bebey aiding from outside. Caroline Brown also spelled defenders at times.

“They contained a very talented (Wilton) offense,” Cunningham said. “We wanted to limit their opportunities to some outside shots at the most and the girls did a good job with that.”

MOMENTUM SHIFT

A big momentum shift for Wilton came with 22 minutes left in the game when Warriors goalkeeper Cova Perez Pelaez stopped a penalty kick from Warde’s Teresa Andres. One minute after Pelaez went to the ground to make the stop, Wilton had its best scoring opportunity as Sophia Sudano lofted a blast from 25 yards out that clipped the crossbar. Lindsay Groves also sent a perfect left-to-right cross into a wide open far post, but no Warriors could crash fast enough to score the tying goal.

“We’re still kind of finding ourselves,” Wilton coach Renato Topali said. “We’re still trying to find the best system for us with our personnel and I thought today we did create some good chances.”

WARDE 1, WILTON 0

WARDE 1 0—1

WILTON 0 0—0

Records: Fairfield Warde 4-2, Wilton 3-3; Goals: FW—Lauren Tangney; Assists: none; Goalkeepers: FW-Caleigh Walklet (5 saves); W-Taylor Floyd (1 save), Cova Perez Pelaez (3 saves).