It was the perfect way for the Danbury High girls soccer team to celebrate Senior Night.
After honoring their four seniors, the Hatters went out and scored a thrilling 2-1 victory over Fairfield Warde in a key FCIAC game Wednesday night.
Taylor Moore's goal off an assist from Kailyn Strain with 11:27 remaining put the Hatters ahead to stay. Howe scored unassisted in the first half -- with a blast from about 40 yards out -- to put Danbury up 1-0. Jenn Maldenado tied it for Warde with 25:02 remaining.
Entering play Wednesday, Warde sat in first place atop the FCIAC standings. Danbury was 11th.
"The kids have really worked and worked and worked, and we haven't really been able to get on the other end of our opportunities," Danbury coach Jessica Halas said. "Tonight was different."
It was an emotional night for the four Hatter seniors, who were recognized along with their families prior to the game.
"It's very, very bittersweet," Howe said. "I remember walking in as a freshman and not knowing what to do. I was scared. Now, I feel like we've grown so much and I've grown so much as a person. This team is my family, and I'm going to miss them so much."
Goalkeeper Rebecca Gartner made four saves to preserve the win for the Hatters (5-5-3) on a night when the scoring chances were at a premium for both teams. Carley Strachan made three saves for Warde (9-3-2). The Mustangs' Virginie LaRouche fired a shot in the final minute from about 35 yards out that sailed high and wide of the goal, barely missing its intended target.
"I'm so happy with my team right now," Howe said. "We work so hard on the field. We played together, we possessed, we finished, and that's all that matters."
Ridgefield and St. Joseph are the only other teams which have beaten Warde so far this year.
"This is the kind of game we have to put behind us," Warde coach Tom Cunningham said. "It's a tough loss. Danbury showed up on their Senior Night, and they're a tough bunch of players. Tough, hard players and they showed that they wanted it. They took it to us."
WARDE 0 1 -- 1
DANBURY 1 1 -- 2
Records: Fairfield Warde 9-3-2; Danbury 5-5-3. Goals: FW--Jenn Maldenado; D--Liz Howe, Taylor Moore. Assists: FW--Nell Carpenter; D--Kailyn Strain. Goalies: FW--Carley Strachan (3 saves); D--Rebecca Gartner (4 saves). Shots: FW--10; D--9.