Foran girls defeat Bristol Eastern in state soccer
MILFORD —The only way to classify the Foran High girls soccer team is as winners.
Lions’ coach Casey Blake’s non-hierarchic approach to making out her lineup resulted in a 3-0 victory over Bristol Eastern in a Class L state tournament first-round game at the Vito DeVito Sports Complex on Tuesday night.
Senior Anna Lee Melton scored a goal and had an assist. Freshman Colleen Ardolino had two goals. Sophomore Georgia Malesky had an assist. Senior keeper Emily Wheaton made five saves to record the shutout.
Foran (10-5-2), seeded 15th, will play a second-round game at No. 2 seed Suffield (13-2-2) on Thursday at 2 p.m.
“We just wanted to play our game, another day on the field having fun and playing together,” Blake said. “We were able to play the ball to the feet, and we were able to get some big crosses in for some good opportunities. Everyone knew what their role was. We tightened things up in the defensive end, and I just thought overall it was a fantastic team effort.”
Ardolino’s opening goal at the 16:15 mark was a thing of beauty. She took a pass from Melton on the left side, and with a defender pressing down bent a shot right to left that carried over Lancer keeper Maura Cyr by the near post.
“(The victory) means a lot, because it really proves that all the hard work we put in this season that we got something out of it,” said Melton, who was joined in attacking the back 30 by Ariana Montero, Isabel Morales, Zoe Fallon and Anna Byers.
Foran had a 6-1 edge in shots in the opening half, with Cyr making three saves.
The Lancers came out strong to begin the second half, a session that saw both Cyr and Wheaton face seven shots.
Leah Policarpio, Avery Arbuckle and Mollie Lewis are the only seniors on coach Scott Redmen’s 18th-seeded squad.
It was Policarpio, who with freshman Emily Ventura Nelson drew extra attention from the Lions backline, who tested Wheaton off a corner in the box two minutes after the halftime break. Sara Portoff was able to clear the loose ball.
Clara Collins’ header was caught by Wheaton, and the Lion then punched out Policarpio’s shot from in front to protect the 1-nil advantage at 47:26.
Foran countered, and a handball in the box gave Melton a penalty kick, which she fed into the right side for a 2-0 advantage 10 minutes into the half.
Bristol Eastern had a chance off a corner, before Foran took the score to 3-0 at 58:46 of the match when Malesky made a fine pass to Ardolino for her second tally.
“I think it mean a lot going forward with them,” Ardolino said of what she has learned from the team’s seniors. “I’ve gotten so attached to them, they are my best friends.”
The Lancers kept coming, but the Lions’ Courtney Musante, Haley Flynn, Maxine Lynch, Lauren Ardolino, Rylee Tondora and Portoff were solid.
“As the season went on we had a better understanding of how we were going to play,” Redman said after his club finished 8-6-3. “Typical of a young team we were sporadic at times this season. Those growing pains were evident, but we played some tough teams well. We were hoping to do that today, but Foran kind of overwhelmed us.”
Blake said: “We are going to enjoy this tonight, it was a well deserved win, then get ready for Suffield. We’ve been the underdog before. We played Tolland two years ago and we beat them. They were ranked fourth and I think we were 27th. Anything is possible and on any given day you can win.”
FORAN 3, BRISTOL EASTERN 0
Foran 1 2 — 3
Bristol Eastern 0 0 — 0
Goals: Foran — Colleen Ardolino (two), Anna Lee Melton. Assists: Foran — Georgia Malesky. Goalies: Foran—Emily Wheaton (5 saves); Bristol Eastern — Maura Cyr (5 saves). Records: Foran 10-5-2; Bristol Eastern 8-6-3