Lancers roll in CIAC tournament opener
At halftime, as the players sat in a semicircle around him, Notre Dame-Fairfield girls' soccer coach Wayne Mones told his team to look around.
Across the way was the entire Lancers football team -- that had stopped practice to come watch. Boys' head soccer coach Whitey Budreckas and several of his players were also there. Massed together at midfield were several dozen students to help cheer at this history-making event.
make that, history-making, and winning, event. The Lancers played their first-ever CIAC tournament game against Classical Magnet on Tuesday and rolled to a 5-1 win, sparked by a pair of goals from sophomore Samantha LaValle and goals from Erika Quinones, Nazae Craw and Bryanna D'Arcangelo. Notre Dame, now 12-4-1 and the No. 8 seed in the Class S bracket, played No. 9 seed Bolton, a 1-0 winner over Cromwell Thursday at 4:45 at Sacred Heart.
"It's nice for the girls, it's their first-ever (CIAC win) and going through this for the first time, it's special," said Mones. "There were a lot of people here, you can't beat it."
That big crowd did provide for some early nervous moments for the Lancers before they settled into their groove and netted four goals over the final 20 minutes of the first half to put the game away.
"There were a lot of nerves throughout the whole school during the day," said sophomore Quinones, who also had an assist on LaValle's second goal. "Everyone was coming up to us saying, `You're going to do it.' This is probably the biggest crowd we've ever had. It was crazy."
"I think it took us like, five or 10 minutes to sort things out," added Mones. "I think that, initially, they thought they could just put their head down and dribble through three people. Well, it's not that way. You still have to work for each other and those were the successful passes."
It was a perfect pass from D'Arcangelo that found LaValle alone in front of the net at the 20 minute mark to give Notre Dame a 1-0 lead. Two minutes after that, LaValle controlled a rebound of a blocked shot by Quinones and drove it home to make it 2-0. Three minutes later, Quinones made it 3-0, driving home a loose ball from a corner kick.
And with two minutes left in the half, Craw headed home a shot off another corner kick that gave the Lancers a 4-0 cushion.
D'Arcangelo scored a minute into the second half to make it 5-0 before Kennedy spoiled the shutout by beating the Lancers backup goalkeeper with 10 minutes left.