Foran girls split SCC divisional games
SHELTON — In the two games played in the regular season this year between Shelton and Foran, the Lions used a late goal to tie in the initial meeting, while Shelton needed three goals in less than four minutes late in the second contest to pull out the victory.
Looking to avoid any drama, the Gaels were ready to go from the start Thursday evening. Behind three goals from senior Noelle Garretson, including the first under two minutes in, top-seeded Shelton rolled to a 5-0 victory over third-seeded Foran in the Southern Connecticut Conference Division A final at Finn Stadium in Shelton.
Coach Casey Blake’s Lions had knocked off second-seeded West Haven 2-0 in the semifinals. Anna Byers scored an unassisted goal in the first half and Colleen Ardolino’ scored unassisted after the break. Hanna Della Bitta-Falkowski had 5 saves and Foran led in shots 11-5.
Shelton turned that table around behind Garretson, who lived up to the billing as one of the best players in the area when the senior continually worked well with classmate Liz Porto who finished with three assists in the contest.
Foran was in chase mode from the start as Garretson took a feed from Kayleigh Bartlett, then deked and dribbled past Della Bitta-Falkowski for a 1-0 advantage 1 minute, 26 seconds into the contest.
Just 3:20 later, Shelton was on its way to another title as Bartlett took a feed in front from Porto off a corner kick and found the back of the goal for a 2-0 lead.
“I thought we came out a little flat,” Blake said. “The weather certainly didn’t help, but they came out guns blazing and kept on going. Give them a lot of credit. We couldn’t find the back of the net.”
The Gaels (10-1-1) controlled play in the rainy opening half, holding an 8-3 shot advantage, and more importantly, a 3-0 lead on the scoreboard after Garretson scored on a breakaway after easily depositing her second of the game.
Things did not get any better for the Lions in the opening half as Della Bitta-Falkowski appeared to injure her hand on a sliding play and was replaced in goal by sophomore Lauren Roth.
Roth needed to make only one save during the remainder of the opening half, but came up big in the second half, turning aside several tough shots, including a point-blank breakaway attempt by Garretson with 15:15 remaining.
“We fought for 80 minutes,” Blake said. “The girls never give up. I am proud of these girls. They came every day to practice and worked hard. They were focused and mentally ready every day. We grew as a team. We got better and we had fun doing it.”
Garretson eventually recorded the hat trick when she took a feed from Porto and broke in on Roth with 12:31 to go for a 4-0 advantage. Lindsay Taylor capped the scoring with 25.8 seconds remaining off an assist from Porto.
Della Bitta—Falkowski finished with two saves, while Roth had five saves for the Lions. Julia Pulley and Emily Codere each finished with three saves for Shelton.