Warde, Trumbull reach stalemate

Warde’s Amelia Andrews pulls away from Trumbull’s Kristen Pagliaro in Saturday’s 3-3 draw at McDougall Stadium. (Photo by Mike Suppe)

Warde’s Amelia Andrews pulls away from Trumbull’s Kristen Pagliaro in Saturday’s 3-3 draw at McDougall Stadium.
(Photo by Mike Suppe)

Tom Cunningham could have used a number of different excuses to explain how the Fairfield Warde girls soccer team allowed Trumbull to pull off a 3-3 tie on the turf at Jerry McDougall Stadium On Oct. 18.
Warde’s head coach could have talked about the penalty shot that was called against the Eagles in the second half, then taken away after a conference by the officials and turned into a goal kick. He could have mentioned the goal off a corner kick by junior Claire Pullen, a little later on, that was disallowed with no real explanation.
Warde was also coming off an emotional 1-0 victory over St. Joseph on Thursday, so the hangover angle could have been in full effect.
Instead, Cunningham gave credit where credit was due. Using a game plan similar to the one Ludlowe used to hand Warde its only loss of the season, Trumbull scored as many goals in 80 minutes as the Mustangs had allowed all season.
“I would give a lot of credit to Trumbull and the game plan they were able to put together,” Cunningham said. “They countered very well and created a lot of good chances for themselves. I wouldn’t call it a hangover. I would call it a very good game by Trumbull today.”
Trumbull (7-5-2), which has gone 4-0-1 over its last five games to solidify its hold on eighth place in the FCIAC playoff standings, came back from two different one-goal deficits to earn the tie.
Warde (11-1-2) controlled much of the first half, outshooting the Eagles, 6-1, with Trumbull’s only shot coming with 39 seconds left. Nell Carpenter put the Mustangs up 1-0 in the 20th minute off a crossing pass from Meredith Nerreau.
Trumbull totally turned the tide in the second half, jumping on the ball in the middle of the field and creating a ton of consistent offensive pressure.
Trumbull senior captain Kendall Szulimowski scored two consecutive goals to put the Eagles up 2-1, the second coming with 29:27 left on a 1-on-1 break against goalkeeper Mollie Kerrigan after a Warde defender fell down while fighting for a 50/50 ball in the center of the field.
“The ball took a bounce and as she went to get it she tripped over my heel,” Szulimowski said. “It wasn’t intentional.”
Warde came back with two goals of its own to take a 3-2 lead.
Freshman Lauren Tangney tied it with 13:39 left following a scramble in front after Trumbull goalie Aleana Paz made an initial save on sophomore Anna Glovin.
Just minutes after Pullen’s corner kick from the right side was disallowed, Warde got the go-ahead tally on a 30-yard rocket by junior Jenn Maldonado that deflected off the right post and past Paz.
Cunningham knew the lead wasn’t safe, even though the Mustangs had outscored their opponents 41-3 going into the game.
“I wasn’t comfortable because of what Trumbull was able to do earlier in the game,” he said. “We couldn’t let down at any moment and they showed what would happen if we did.”
Trumbull then shocked the Mustangs with two minutes left. Senior Kerrigan Loughman started it off, lofting a cross into the box out of the right corner.
The threat of Szulimowski sitting on the left post appeared to unsettle the Mustangs. Kerrigan punched the ball out to the center of the field and Presser was right there, slamming it back inside the left post with a left-footed shot.
For Trumbull, it was a defining moment.
“They were pretty high up in the standings and we knew we had to bring it,” Szulimowski said. “This was the seniors’ last game on the home turf so we wanted to win. This was huge because now we have a better chance at a higher seed for the FCIAC playoffs.”
“We didn’t really change anything,” Trumbull head coach Dan Uhrlass said. “I just think the girls felt like it was now or never.”
Warde, which is 7-0-2 against Trumbull dating back to 2006, is still right where it wants to be heading into the postseason sitting near the top the FCIAC standings and Class LL tournament field.
“We’re going to keep going forward. We’re still up there in the top two,” Cunningham said. “We learn from our mistakes. We talk to the girls every day about not having a letdown and playing a full 80 minutes. So we’ll learn from it.”

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