NEWTOWN — Fairfield Warde goalie Cormac O’Day went from despair to hero in the matter of moments after two hours of madness Monday night.

Such is the life of a goalie in a penalty shootout.

O’Day made one save late in the shootout, then watched as a Newtown kick sailed over the crossbar to seal an upset 3-2 win (9-8 in penalties) for the 29th-seeded Mustangs in the Class LL first round. Warde will visit FCIAC foe Norwalk on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. in the second round.

With the shootout tied 8-8 entering the ninth round, O’Day was summoned to take a penalty himself. His effort was saved by Nighthawks goalie Cam Trivers, giving No. 4 Newtown a temporary advantage. O’Day had no time to think about his miss as he trotted back into the goal to protect it. Newtown’s next penalty was saved to restore parity.

“When I was told I was going to be the ninth shooter, I just didn’t think it was going to get to me,” O’Day said. “Part of me didn’t want to take it but part of me did. After I took it I just had to regroup; I didn’t want this to be our last game.”

Warde’s Sam Stalling then converted a penalty to go up 9-8, and when the Nighthawks hit their final kick over the bar, the Mustangs rushed O’Day to celebrate.

“They just willed this one out,” Warde coach Justin Ottavio said. “It was a tale of two halves; I thought we played well and had more possession.”

Trailing 2-0 with 21 minutes left, the only thing going for Warde was a blustery wind that picked up and blew towards Newtown’s goal. That played a small part in giving the Mustangs a lifeline as Anthony Zarlenga curled in a free kick from well outside the box that went into the top corner.

The goal lifted the visitors, and up stepped another senior to extend the season. Nathan Ulman scored with less than 10 minutes left with a low shot into the bottom corner.

Newtown had a chance to win late in regulation as a cross was cleared off the goal line, and Warde responded late in the first overtime with breakaway that was cleared by Trivers outside the box.

“We looked comfortable until the wind picked up and they got that first goal,” Nighthawks coach Nick Booth said. “I thought we dealt with it well; that second goal was a good strike.”


Newtown posted a 12-2-2 record during the regular season in Booth’s first season , but only have a SWC semifinal appearance and a first-round state exit to show for it. First-half goals from Jack Oltran and Nick Weiland gave the hosts a 2-0 advantage.

“I always thought we were going to win, even when it was 2-2,” Booth said. “I knew Cam would make a save because he’s done well in practice. In a big spot you have to bury those PKs if you want to move on.”


Cormac O’Day, Warde: Many would have went into a shell after missing a penalty, but O’Day rose to the occasion to make the vital save.


“Going down 2-0 wasn’t easy and we just fought hard to be able to come back and win it,” O’Day said. “There isn’t much pressure on (the goalies), because I think it’s on the shooters. Even when nine go in, it’s all about that one save. We each made one save, and they put it over. We got lucky.”,


WARDE0 2 0 0—2

NEWTOWN2 0 0 0—2

Records: Warde 6-7-4, Newtown 12-3-2. Goals: W—Anthony Zarlenga, Nathan Ulman; N—Jack Oltran, Nick Weiland. Goalies: W—Cormac O’Day (5 saves); N—Cam Trivers (6 saves).