The intensity, excitement and sense of aniticipation is undeniable. When Fairfield Warde and Fairfield Ludlowe high schools play their annual game in girls soccer, the action almost always leads to the unfolding of special moments.
This year's match, played before a packed crowd at Ludlowe's Taft Field on Oct. 4 at 7 p.m., certainly will become memorable. The host Falcons scored in the game's final 15 minutes off a corner kick that was not cleared by the Mustangs amid some confusion in their goalmouth area in which the goal appeared to have gone off a Warde defender. Senior Rebecca Girouard was given credit for the goal off the corner kick from Krissy Bradley.
Ludlowe won 1-0, which ended Warde's season-opening eight-game unbeaten streak and extended the Falcons' winning streak to five. The match's urgency did not lead to a letdown in each cross-town rival's next game. On Tuesday, Ludlowe beat Bridgeport Central 6-0 that lifted the Falcons' record to 6-4-0 and pushed the win streak to six; hours later, at Warde, the Mustangs beat Norwalk 6-0 to move to 8-1-1.
"We try to go into the game with a mindset that it's just a game," said Warde coach Tom Cunningham whose team tied Ludlowe 0-0 in 2012. "But that's not always the case. You have to throw everything away. The enthusiasm is high; the crowd is up. The girls love playing it.
"This was not a momentum killer. We just get to start another winning streak," he said.
Cunningham and his Ludlowe counterpart, Kate Dawson, who served as Warde's freshman coach, acknowledge the players on each side know the others and had played with some of their opponents while growing up with the sport on recreation and travel teams.
"We got a break in the box. I give credit to Warde's goalies, Katie Brennan and Carly Strachan -- they're both solid," Dawson said. "It looked like a deflection. That's difficult for a goalie because you can't anticipate plays like that with chaos in the box."
The goal occurred a few minutes after Cunningham substituted Brennan, an All-State selection a year ago, with Strachan. They've shared time in most games this season.
"They made a very good play (on the kick) to the back post. Every year you expect a good game," Cunningham said. "We weren't able to find the back of the net on our opportunities. It was very evenly played."