Wilton beats Warde 3-0 in FCIAC field hockey semifinal
NORWALK -- Fairfield Warde entered its FCIAC field hockey semifinal against Wilton with plenty of momemtum. The Mustangs now hope they can recapture it when the CIAC Class L state tournament begins next week after their 3-0 loss at McMahon's Casagrande Field on Tuesday afternoon.
Juniors Megan Cunningham and Kristen Godin each supplied a goal and an assist for the second-seeded Warriors, who improved to 16-1-0-0. Wilton will chase its elusive first-ever FCIAC championship on Friday against Darien, a 3-1 winner over New Canaan in the other semifinal, though the Warriors have four state titles in six championship-game appearances, including back-to-back Class M crowns.
Warde, seeded sixth, which chalked up a pair of victories last Thursday night and Friday afternoon, dropped to 9-6-2-1 overall, but coach Jodie Shannon is hoping the conference semifinal loss won't derail the Mustangs from the winning track they were on.
"This is good momentum for us going into the states," Shannon said after the match. "Playing in this tough league really prepares us for the states. We knew we were going to be in for a challenge. They make good, precise passes, and they have good stick skills.
"We knew if we could connect and get some room, we'd have some chances. We knew we had to move quick. But to get room against them is a challenge. It seems Wilton had six or seven players within five yards of the ball when we had it," Shannon said.
Wilton coach Deirdre Hynes said the FCIAC semifinal was a wake-up call for her team. She said the Warriors know they'll have to play better in the final to win the conference championship.
"Tonight it was real," Hynes said. "If they (Warriors) didn't pick it up, the FCIACs was going to be over for us. Warde came in with a lot of momentum. They beat Ridgefield Thursday night, then upset Greenwich Friday (in an FCIAC quarterfinal). They were living the dream. They came out with a lot of momentum, and I respected that."
Warde's surge of good play was interupted in the 11th minute of the game when Jill Detrick-Yee's long shot was deflected into the far corner by Cunningham past Mustangs' junior goaltender Katy Stepsis, who wound up with four saves. The Mustangs hadn't reclaimed their momentum when Cunningham's shot was knocked in after Godin had taken a shot off a penalty corner not even five minutes into the second half.
Godin was credited with an assist on Emily Arrix's goal with 7:20 remaining in the match that wrapped up the scoring.
Wilton had more possession than Warde, and consistently strung together more passes, though Hynes was not pleased with the Warriors' passing game, she said. The Mustangs registered but two shots on Wilton goalie Lizette Roman-Johnston, who recorded two saves.
Shannon was impressed with the defensive work of her forwards, who she said limited Wilton's transition game. Junior Rebecca Mitri, a Warde defender, was busy because of Wilton's frequent possessions, but her positioning and stick work often thwarted Wilton attacks.
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Wilton 3, Fairfield Warde 0
WARDE 0 0--0
WILTON 1 2--3
Records: Fairfield Warde 9-6-2-1; Wilton 16-1-0-0. Goals: W--Megan Cunningham, Kristen Godin, Emily Arrix. Assists: W--Jill Detrick-Yee, Megan Cunningham, Kristen Godin. Goalies: FW--Katy Stepsis (4 saves); W--Lizette Roman-Johnston (2 saves). Shots: FW--2; W--7.