Warde girls boot St. Joseph, advance to semifinals

Lauren Tangney takes possession of the ball against St. Joseph. (Photo by Bill Bloxsom)

Lauren Tangney takes possession of the ball against St. Joseph.
(Photo by Bill Bloxsom)

Fairfield Warde’s Lauren Tangney is a sparkplug well respected by her teammates and FCIAC girls soccer rivals alike, and the diminutive freshman gained even more stature with a tie-breaking goal with five minutes remaining to give coach Tom Cunningham’s sixth-seeded Mustangs a 3-2 victory over No. 3 St. Joseph in the Class LL quarterfinals in Trumbull on Sunday.
Warde (16-3-3) will play No. 10 Ridgefield (13-3-3) Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the semifinals at Newtown High. The Tigers defeated No. 2 Middletown, 2-0, in their quarterfinal. The Mustangs won the regular season match, 1-0.
“It feels amazing,” Tangney said. “I knew we were only going to get one opportunity in the end. I had missed that one early (in the final minute of the first half). Time was winding down.”
A quick sequence of passes saw Alexis Montani cross the ball to Tangney, who lofted the ball over Cadet keeper Veronica O’Rourke to snap the deadlock.
St. Joseph (13-3-3) had knotted the game in quick fashion. Jenna Bike scored on a penalty kick and 51 seconds later Tory Bike took a free kick on her foot from Marissa Grasso and the freshman booted it cross net with 13:30 left in the second half.
FCIAC co-champions, the Mustangs had broken the scoreless match at 33:15 of the second half on a well-constructed attack up the far sideline.
The 70-yard advance began with Nell Carpenter — with Claire Pullen and Hannah Allen pushing past their markers — before Tangney left the ball for Larouche, whose riser from 25 yards out sailed under the crossbar.
Anna Glovin then headed home a corner from Larouche with 22:57 remaining to give Warde a 2-0 lead.
“That’s what we are capable of,” Cunningham said. “We know how to build passes to create. Anna Glovin got on the backside of that corner after Virginie Larouche had a wonderful strike to give us the lead.”
Warde keeper Mollie Kerrigan had four saves, including a stunning stop on Jenna Bike midway through the first half.
After a cross from Glovin to Allen at 20:30 of the half saw O’Rourke (four saves) make the stop, St. Joseph countered quickly.
Jenna Bike got behind the defense and with the large crowd on its feet, Kerrigan blocked her blast.
“Mollie’s save as a huge momentum shift,” Cunningham said. It is what she is capable of and why she is the best keeper in the state.
“Jenna Bike is a lethal weapon with the ball. We played more zone and had Nicole Ciccarelli mark her. We marked up on both Jenna and Lindsay Savko.”
St. Joseph coach Jack Nogueria said, “I thought they played well and I thought we played well. Unfortunately, one of the teams has to lose, and that was us.
“If I don’t win an FCIAC championship or a state championship, to me the season was a failure. Here at St. Joseph we look at a season as winning a championship.”

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