TRUMBULL -- When victories come as easily as they have for St. Joseph's girls soccer team, the simplest concerns might seem like a luxury for others.
The Cadets -- an FCIAC co-champion and Class M state runner-up in 2012 -- have been the most dominant team around this fall. They began this week 11-0-1 with a commanding 55-6 goal differential and a nine-point edge on the conference's second-place team.
"Sometimes it's hard when you go into games and you're undefeated and you're not being challenged to come out and play every day," St. Joseph coach Jack Nogueira said Monday.
With only 10 days left in the regular season, the Cadets were presented with a test on Monday. But as they've done all year, they didn't leave any doubt over the outcome.
This time, St. Joseph stormed out to a three-goal lead at halftime en route to a dominant 4-1 win over Fairfield Warde.
Warde, the conference's second-place team entering the day, dropped to 8-3-1 (25 points). St. Joseph, now at 12-0-1 with 37 points, won its seventh straight match.
"To be honest, I thought it was going to be a lot tougher for us today than it evolved," Nogueira said. "I just thought today offensively, we clicked a lot better than in previous games."
Sophomore forward Jenna Bike netted two goals for the Cadets, who maintained an edge in possession from the start of the match. Bike did much of the work on her first goal, collecting a feed from Samantha Grasso and deking the goalie with a move to her right to make it 3-0 in the 35th minute.
"Our forwards are really good. We're good at putting stuff away early, and we're solid throughout 80 minutes of play," said Bike, who headed home her second goal off a cross from Lindsey Savko in the 57th minute for a 4-0 lead.
The Cadets recorded a commanding 15-5 advantage in shots and had several other quality chances stymied at the last minute by Warde's defenders. Katie Brennan started in goal for the Mustangs and made three saves. Carley Strachan stopped four shots after coming in after halftime.
"(The Cadets) have a lot of firepower, a lot of speed up top," Warde coach Tom Cunningham said. "They did some damage against us. I thought Katie Brennan and Carley Strachan did a great job in goal. There could have been more goals (against us)."
St. Joseph went up 1-0 in the 16th minute when Grasso hopped on a ball that was bobbled by Brennan and booted it into an open net. Just nine minutes later, Savko drilled a shot inside the far left post for a 2-0 lead.
The Cadets have now scored at least four goals in nine of their 13 matches this season, but Nogueira believes his team also missed some chances on Monday.
"We didn't play a perfect game," Nogueira said. "Offensively, we could've done a little bit better."
Warde, which generated only five shots, broke the shutout in the 60th minute when Jenn Maldonado hammered home a pass from Nell Carpenter. That made it 4-1, but it certainly didn't prevent the Mustangs from sustaining their third loss in their last four matches.
Sandwiched between a 6-0 win over Norwalk last Tuesday for Warde are losses to Fairfield Ludlowe, 1-0, and Ridgefield, 2-1.
"We're facing eight out of the top nine (teams in the FCIAC) in my opinion right now," Cunningham said. "We're seeing what we can do, and we'll be battle tested for the state tournament and hopefully the FCIAC tournament."
Senior Molly Meehan made two saves in goal for St. Joseph.
WARDE 0 1 -- 1
ST. JOSEPH 3 1 -- 4
Records: Warde 8-3-1; St. Joseph 12-0-1.
Goals: W -- Jenn Maldonado; SJ -- Jenna Bike 2, Samantha Grasso, Lindsey Savko. Assists: W -- Nell Carpenter; SJ -- Grasso, Savko. Goalies: W -- Katie Brennan (3 saves), Carley Strachan (4); SJ -- Molly Meehan (2). Shots: W -- 5; SJ -- 15.