Second-half surge leads Trumbull past Warde
TRUMBULL — Pele would have been proud.
A two-goal Trumbull lead had just been sliced to one and the momentum was on the side of the Warde Mustangs. It was still anyone’s game, a game crucial to the FCIAC standings, but Trumbull’s Meghan Lesko changed everything with a play for the ages.
Stationed at the right side of the field, about 20 yards out and with her back to the goal, Lesko took control the ball and then sent a bicycle kick over her head and it ended up floating just over the outstretched hands of Warde keeper Maura Dougherty, a goal that not only restored the Eagles two-goal cushion but drove Trumbull to an eventual 4-1 win over the Mustangs Tuesday night.
“It was right after they (Warde) scored and I just thought, why not try to hit it and it ended up working,” Lesko said. “I made pretty good contact with the ball and I turned around and saw it going in and I was just so surprised.”
That goal, coming with 28:34 left to play, gave Trumbull a 3-1 lead.
“That was brilliant,” Trumbull coach Rich Sutherland said. “To be fair, there wasn’t anything else she could have done with it, she had her back to the goal, but that was a little bit of ingenuity on her part. She deserved it.”
The goal forced the Mustangs to ramp up their offensive efforts. However, the Eagles were more than up for the task of keeping Warde in check and the game a back and forth affair in the midfield.
“I think coming into halftime, we were disappointed that we really didn’t test the (Warde) keeper,” Lesko said. “So, I think our mentality changed going into the second half to try and get more shots on goal and test the keeper.”
It only took Trumbull five minutes after playing to a 0-0 halftime tie, to take the lead as Meghan Lesko placed a shot into the box that Dougherty saw slide past her, right to the foot of Grace Lesko, who tapped it home for a 1-0 Trumbull lead.
Five minutes later, it was 2-0 Trumbull after Meghan Lesko took control of an Elizabeth Foley cross and beat Dougherty.
To their credit, the Mustangs didn’t fold. Warde’s Avery Oracheff beat Trumbull keeper Maryana Barone with 30:14 to play to make it 2-1. However, Meghan Lesko’s bicycle kick goal and another from Ana Carlos with just under five minutes left gave the Eagles it three-goal margin of victory.
“We didn’t make a while lot of changes, we told them just to keep doing what they were doing,” Sutherland said. “We really weren’t doing enough with the final ball, either the pass, the cross, the shot, so in the second half we did a lot better and we tested their keeper more and ultimately, we got a couple of goals to get us going.”
Testing Warde’s keeper, sadly, will be a priority over the remainder of the season. Starter Caleigh Walklet was lost for the following a knee injury suffered during spring’s lacrosse season. Back-up Clare Harper has missed the last two weeks with a concussion, leaving the playing time to Dougherty and Sarah McKay.
“We’re in every game … 4-1, it doesn’t give us justice for what the game was, it was a lot closer, but give credit to Trumbull, they finished their chances, they played tremendous,” Cunningham said. “Sarah and Maura have been put into the position where they have to play. They’ve been working hard, they’re making stops, but it’s just been a couple of unlucky breaks here and there.”
With the win, Trumbull improves to 7-3 and is still in a solid position to make the FCIAC tournament. Warde meanwhile, falls to 4-4-2 and will need a little bit of luck to make the conference playoffs.
“We have five games left and four are against FCIAC contenders, so we have the opportunity,” Cunningham said. “We have to win the majority of the games but we’re still in position, we’re not out of it and the girls know that. We’re taking it one game at a time. We’ll see what happens.”
TRUMBULL 4, WARDE 1
WARDE 0 1 — 1
TRUMBULL 0 4 — 4
Records: Warde (4-4-2, 4-4-2 FCIAC); Trumbull (7-3-0, 7-3-0 FCIAC)
Goals: T — Grace Lesko, Meghan Lesko (2), Ana Carlos; W — Avery Oracheff
Assists: T — Meghan Lesko, Elizabeth Foley