St. Luke's girls soccer team breezes past Wheeler in NEPSAC quarterfinals
Updated 3:01 pm, Tuesday, November 20, 2012
NEW CANAAN -- Like many people, especially coaches, St. Luke's girls soccer coach Dan Clarke fears the unknown.
Clarke was a bit nervous before Wednesday's NEPSAC Class C Tournament game because he knew nothing about Wheeler School of Providence, R.I., the Storm's quarterfinal round opponent.
What kept the third-year coach confident, however, was what he DID know ... that Salma Anastasio and Caroline Parsons were members of his team.
Anastasio and Parsons each scored three goals, leading undefeated defending champion St. Luke's to a 7-0 victory and a spot in Saturday's semifinals.
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"When you have players like Salma and Caroline, you're going to be OK," Clarke said. "They're always going to score for you."
Parsons and Anastasio have been quite the combo for the unbeaten Storm (14-0-2). Parsons leads St. Luke's with 29 goals and 15 assists this season. Anastasio, who played in six few games than Parsons, has recorded 15 goals and eight assists.
Parsons scored the first, third and sixth goals for the Storm, who had a 6-0 lead 24 minutes into the contest. Anastasio, from Trumbull, had the second, fourth and seventh tallies while Taylor Callaghan scored the fifth.
"We didn't know much at all about the school, other than their record," Clarke said of 11-5-1 Wheeler. "You just never know, so we had to take care of business early. The 6-0 lead was surprising but when we play our best, we can do this to any team"
St. Luke's, the No. 1 seed, outshot Wheeler 13-1 in those first 24 minutes (20-5 overall). Parsons recorded an assist on two of Anastasio's goals while Anastasio set up Parsons twice.
"Salma was injured and missed six or seven games earlier in the season, and Caroline took the responsibility of the offense on her shoulders," Clarke said. "Then Salma returned and they formed a good partnership."
"We were really ready right from the start of the game," Anastasio, a junior, added. "We are so fired up because we really want to repeat (as NEPSAC champs)."
Wheeler, seeded eighth, was surprised by St. Luke's relentlessness in the early going.
"It took us a while to adjust to their pace," Wheeler coach Steve Pickman said. "St. Luke's has a great offense and some players that we just couldn't handle. But they have a great defense, too."
Aside from the goal-scorers, midfielders Lillie Diomede (Norwalk), Sophia Lemmer (Darien) and Kathleen Kelly, and defenders Lindsay Bralower (Stamford), Katherine Hamill (New Canaan), Mary Pivirotto (New Canaan) and Meredith Rodgers (Ridgefield) had strong games for St. Luke's. Goalkeeper Melanie Bow of Darien had five saves.
Wheeler goalie Anna Boogaerts finished with 13 saves.
The Storm -- a remarkable 30-1-4 the last two years -- picked up a 2-0 win over No. 4 seed Pingree (Mass.) in Saturday's semifinals before being defeated 1-0 in Sunday's championship game by Brewster Academy of New Hampshire.
St. Luke's 7, Wheeler 0
WHEELER 0 0--0
ST. LUKE'S 6 1--7
Records: Wheeler 11-5-1, St. Luke's 14-0-2.