Greenwich Academy is back in the FAA Soccer Tournament finals.
Third-seeded Greenwich Academy earned a return trip to the championship game of the FAA Tournament by pulling out a 1-0 win over second-seeded Greens Farms Academy in a semifinal-round game that was decided by penalty kicks on Wednesday in Westport.
The Gators, who have a record of 9-2-1 in the FAA, will travel to top-seeded St. Luke’s School on Friday for the tournament’s 2 p.m. championship game. Greenwich Academy was defeated by St. Luke’s in the title game of the 2019 FAA Tournament.
GA coach Alistair Lonsdale was highly impressed with his team’s performance in Wednesday’s semifinals against Greens Farms Academy, which posted a 1-0 regular season win against GA. The teams dueled through 80 minutes of regulation, before playing 20 minutes of overtime.
“It was an amazing win,” Lonsdale said. “Our team’s heart and determination was what it was all about. Greens Farms played very well and they have some skillful players. Our kids hung in there and played hard.”
Despite Greens Farms having the possession advantage, GA was able to hold off the Dragons off the scoreboard and the teams entered halftime in a scoreless tie.
“They first half, they dominated possession, but we limited them shots from long distance,” Lonsdale said. “Our goalie Este Tejpaul did a really good job.”
Lonsdale estimated that Tejpaul, a freshman, made 15 or 16 saves in goal.
“Este was brilliant,” Lonsdale said. “The second half, it was end to end. They definitely had more of the balance of play, but we still created chances and we defended extremely well and our kids worked very hard to stay in the game.”
Junior Ellie Burdick, junior Kit Harned, sophomore Molly Moore and sophomore Lola Tirabassi helped pace the team’s play, Lonsdale said.
When the game went to penalty kicks after it was still scoreless following the overtime session, Greenwich Academy converted three of its penalty kick attempts, while Greens Farms made one.
Tirabassi, senior Ali Jaquiery and junior Robyn O’Connor each converted their penalty kicks for the Gators. Meanwhile, GFA converted one penalty kick and Tirabassi made saves on two other kicks. One other GFA kick went over the crossbar and GA moved on t to the finals.
“I’m extremely proud, that was one of the most heartfelt team performances that I’ve been involved with in my 14 years here at GA,” Lonsdale said. “Sheer grit, determination and hard work against a very strong GFA team got us this win.”