GUILFORD — Guilford defeated Foran, 1-0 on an own goal, when they met in an SCC Hammonasset Division contest at Bittner Park on Wednesday.

It is no surprise that goaltenders were at the fore following a 1-0 soccer match.

Foran’s Luca Marinelli was the Man of the Match, as the junior keeper made 19 saves, 14 in a muddy goal area after the break. Following the contest, both referees made it a point to shake his hand.

Guilford’s John Kish, was the Man of the Moment. While less visable, the senior came sharply into focus when he stopped Ben Cogan’s dead-on shot in the 78th minute to secure the victory.

“I thought our offense played a great game,” Kosh said. “They (Foran) came out with a breakaway. Luckily, I came up with the save, and we came up with the win. Being back here as a goalkeeper is just waiting…Being in the right position at the right time and making the right decisions.”

Gulford coach Curtis Gullette said: “John is a captain (with Aidan Buchanan) for a reason. A goalie may stand for 75 minutes, like John did today, then step up. He has done that for us all year.”

The own goal came off a Guilford corner in the seventh minute, when it was ruled a Foran defender had headed the ball out after it had crossed the goal line.

Guilford improved to 9-1-4 with the win; Foran drops to 4-6-2.

Marinelli made five rather pedestrian stops, compared to what was to come, in the first 40 minutes.

Sliding from post to post and going up high to steal away shots into the box, Marinelli was a force of nature after intermission.

“We had to play hard, we knew it wasn’t going to be easy coming in,” Marinelli said. “I knew I could rely on my teammates, that I could rely all on my defensive line…That they’d be there for me when I wasn’t there for them.

Marinelli made 10 saves in the first 30 minutes following the break. Five of those were of the —That should have went in variety.

“Outstanding save after outstanding save,” Gullette said of Marinelli’s performance. “Their goalie was without a doubt the best player on the field today.”

With time winding down, and the Guilford pressure ramping up, Marinelli was even better. He slid through mud three times to rob shots from 20-yards and- in from many angles over the course of a minute and a half.

“Luca is phenomenal,” DiStefano said. “He was always athletic, and now has a better understanding of the game. He communicates so well. To have Ben Carlson in front of him, and Thomas Kummar up in the middle, well that’s as solid of a trio I’d put against anyone.”

Guilford had 28 shots in total to six for Foran.

“As I understand it, a win today gives us the division,” Gullette said. “We can look at the upcoming seeding for both tournaments (SCC, states) and say well we only have one loss. But then we have those four ties.”

“Defense from John Kish on up to our backline and middles is definitely a strength. We had three 0-0 games in a row (Hand, Xavier, Hamden), and on Monday we reversed our only loss with a 1-0 win over Cheshire.”

Foran coach Rick DiStefano was happy with his team’s performance.

“If we play the way we did in that second half, we’ll be okay,” he said. “We aren’t in the SCC (playoffs), but with a win and a tie in our final four we’ll get in states.”

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Foran’s Luca Marinelli made 19 saves on 28 shots, as the Indians rarely missed the frame. Almost none of the junior keeper’s stops were of the garden variety.

QUOTABLE

“Outstanding save after outstanding save,” Gullette said of Marinelli’s performance. “Their goalie was without a doubt the best player on the field today.”

william.bloxsom@hearstmediact.com; @blox354