Greenwich High School’s girls soccer team ended its regular season in style, blanking visiting Stamford, 3-0, at Cardinal Stadium today. Now it’s time for FCIAC Tournament – an event the Cardinals haven’t appeared in for quite some time.
“We set our sights and felt that it was possible and we pulled together and did it for the first time in eight or nine years,” Greenwich coach Simon Rumbold said, referring to the upcoming FCIAC Tournament.
The Cardinals earned a berth into the FCIAC Tournament by registering a record of 7-5-3, good for 24 points and an eighth-place finish in the conference standings. They are seeded eighth in the FCIAC tourney and will visit top seeded St. Joseph (14-0-1) in Thursday’s 3 p.m. quarterfinal-round.
“They are really tough, but The pressure is on them, they’re expected to beat us,” Rumbold said of St. Joseph.
Greenwich dropped a 6-2 decision to St. Joseph this past Friday, but had several bright spots during the matchup.
“I feel like we more than competed with them the first half here,” Rumbold said. “So, the challenge is to do it for 80 minutes, because if we don’t for 10 or 15, they will punish us.”
Sophomore Julia Acosta, junior Ali Pennella and senior Kelly Martyanov had one goal apiece in the Cardinals’ triumph against Stamford today. The Cardinals are 4-1-1 in their last six games.
“I’m really excited about us going into the playoffs, I know it’s the first time it’s happened in a long time and I’m glad – we worked hard to get here,” said Pennella, a midfielder. “It’s been a hard season and I’m looking forward to it.”
Greenwich, which has also qualified for the CIAC Class LL Tournament, took a 1-0 lead on Stamford 8:35 into the first half on Acosta’s goal off a give-and-go with teammate Emma Abbazia, a sophomore.
“I was played a ball out wide, I saw a defender there and I started dribbling at her and I saw Emma open and I did a 1-2 with her and I just finished the ball,” said Acosta, a midfielder. “I feel we’ve been playing really well as a team and the fact that we connected and the got goals we needed was great.”
The score remained 1-0 until there were two seconds left in the opening half. That’s when Pennella scored, putting the Cardinals on top, 2-0, heading into halftime. Acosta, Martyanov, Abbazia and Pennella paced the Cards offensively in the first half, as they each generated several shots.
Junior goalie Isabella Gega made two of her four saves in goal during the first half for Greenwich, which was led defensively in the first half by senior Skylar Scavo and junior Caroline Lawrence. Scavo captains the team, along with senior midfielder Sofia DeVito.
In the second half, Greenwich stretched its lead, courtesy of Martyanov. A forward, Martyanov tallied in the 44th minute, making it 3-0.
“I thought we got off to a little bit of a rough start, but as the game progressed, we passed the ball well and created a lot of shots in the box,” Martyanov said. “We got a lot of crosses in the box and had opportunities. I thought the defense did well, they were organized.”
Stamford (3-12) which was led by the stellar play of junior Alexandra Butler and senior Julia Salerno created a few chances in the second half, but Gega kept the visitors off the scoreboard. Meanwhile, Martyanov, Abbazia, senior Scarlett Brooks, Acosta and Haley Townsend kept the pressure on the Knights.
“Stamford plays really hard, so it was important that we stuck to our principals and we did that and I felt like our ball movement would see us through and it did,” Rumbold said. “They run a lot of teams close, so credit to them.”
While the FCIAC quarterfinals commence Thursday, the semifinals are scheduled for Monday.
“It’s great, I have been on the team since I was a freshman and we never made it, so it’s a team effort and we worked really hard to make it,” Martyanov said of appearing in the FCIAC tourney.
“We are going to go in very, very strong, because we’ve already played St. Joe’s,” Acosta added.
Said Rumbold: “It’s going to be tough, but if we shore thing up in the back and stay compact and tight, I think we can score goals. We have players who can score goals.”