Fall sports

Greenwich High girls soccer team finishes strong regular season with a home victory against Stamford; FCIAC tourney up next

Greenwich’s Adriana Jones looks to move the ball up the field during a game against Stamford on Oct. 25.

The FCIAC Girls Soccer Tournament begins Friday and Greenwich High School is certainly entering it with plenty of positive momentum.

Indeed, October has been a great for the Cardinals, who are unbeaten this month, sporting a record of 4-0-3. That impressive mark, which featured a victory over Ridgefield and ties against St. Joseph, Wilton and Danbury propelled the Cardinals into the FCIAC Tournament.

“We hit our first aim in making it to playoffs,” said Greenwich coach Simon Rumbold, following the Cardinals’ regular season finale against Stamford on Tuesday. “Now, we’ll see what we can do.”

After dueling St. Joseph, the No. 1-ranked team in the FCIAC, to a scoreless draw last Friday, Greenwich registered a decisive 7-1 win over Stamford Tuesday at Cardinal Stadium – a triumph that improved its seeding for the conference tournament.

Greenwich’s win versus Stamford earned it the No. 7 seed in the FCIAC Tournament. The Cardinals will visit second-seeded Ridgefield in the FCIAC quarterfinals Friday at 3:30 p.m.

Greenwich’s Emma Abbazia, right looks to control the ball along the sideline while being pursued by Kaitlyn Fox of Stamford in an FCIAC girls soccer matchup held on Oct. 25, 2022, at Cardinal Stadium. Greenwich was victorious.

Greenwich’s record is 7-4-4 heading into the FCIAC tourney, while Ridgefield is 11-2-2. The Cards hosted Ridgefield on Oct. 7 and scored a well-earned 1-0 victory over the Tigers.

“I have a good feeling about the playoffs,” Cardinals senior forward Haley Townsend said. “Our passing has gotten a lot better and we are working better as a team.”

In Tuesday’s game against the visiting Black Knights, junior Julia Acosta scored two goals to pace the Cardinals, who received scoring from six players.

Julia Acosta has helped ignite Greenwich’s offense this fall.

“We worked as a team and knew we had to win today,” Acosta said. “Once it came to finishing, we got our shots in. It’s been a few games ago that we couldn’t score. So it was good to finish.”

During the month of October in which it has gone 4-0-3, GHS has posted five shutouts, while allowing only two goals. Cardinals senior goalie/tri-captain Isabella Gega recorded another shutout, turning away all the shots that came her way against Stamford.

Meanwhile, Greenwich lit the scoreboard numerous times, which was a welcome sight to the squad, after battling to scoreless draws against Wilton and St. Joseph in their previous two games.

“We moved the ball well and were in control for the home game which is nice, because we obviously needed the win,” Rumbold noted. “The manner of the goals was good – they looked like what we were trying to do in practice, which is nice to see. It was good to get a lot of girls time the last regular season game.”

Greenwich’s Lauren Dionis, right, dribbles the ball along the sideline against Stamford at Cardinal Stadium.

Acosta opened the scoring against the Knights, tallying in the third minute off an assist from senior midfielder/tri-captain Ali Pennella.

“I initially got the ball in the middle and I started dribbling and I got fouled and then I knew I had to follow up the ball,” Acosta said of her goal, which gave GHS a 1-0 lead. “When Ali got it, I ran straight toward the goalie and finished.”

Sophomore Taylor Carrescia gave the Cards a 2-0 advantage at the 18:46 mark of the first half, then Acosta struck again in the 23rd minute, making it 3-0. Pennella sealed the first-half scoring, tallying in the 35th minute for a 4-0 lead.

Greenwich defeated Stamford, 7-1, in FCIAC girls soccer action at Cardinal Stadium.

Junior midfielder Emma Abbazia scored Greenwich’s fifth goal with 24:35 to go in the second half and 50 seconds later, sophomore Skylar Aysseh scored, putting the Cards on top, 6-1. Stamford’s goal cane with 27:50 left in the second half. Townsend concluded the scoring for Greenwich in the 71st minute.

“I think we’re doing really well and we’ve definitely grown as a team throughout the season,” Townsend said. “Especially since the beginning of the season.”

Haley Townsend helped pace Greenwich’s victory against Stamford at Cardinal Stadium.

Friday’s FCIAC Tournament quarterfinals includes No. 1 St. Joseph going up against No. 8 Danbury, No. 5 Fairfield Ludlowe visiting No. 4 Fairfield Warde and No. 6 Brien McMahon traveling to No. 3 Staples. Greenwich enters the conference tournament against Ridgefield as a team on the rise after playing so effectively and efficiently this month, with its matchup against St. Joseph being the highlight.

“It was one of the best games we could have played,” Acosta said of the team’s game against St. Joseph. “We worked as a team and were able to move the ball. Our whole defensive line was great. Even though we didn’t get finishes in that tie, it meant a lot for us and I think it got us into FCIACs.”

Said Rumbold: “They (St. Joseph) are one of the strongest teams in the league, so to get a result shows what we are capable of.”

Greenwich senior Emma Viviano looks to pass the ball during a home match against Stamford.

“We have a lot of depth, we have very good players overall,” Townsend said. “That St. Joseph game was definitely a boost of confidence for us and the Ridgefield game also gives us a boost of confidence going into the postseason.”

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