New Canaan girls soccer team gears up for playoffs
The New Canaan High School girls soccer team enters the postseason with plenty of reason for optimism. The team heads into its regular season finale riding a seven-game winning streak, which included handing St. Joseph its first loss.
On Tuesday night, the Rams fended off a hungry visiting Ridgefield team and pulled out a 1-0 win, despite not playing their best soccer on Senior Night.
With the win, the Rams leapfrogged Greenwich into third place in the FCIAC standings heading into the regular-season finale between the two teams on Thursday. Regardless of the outcome of the game, New Canaan has ensured itself of a first-round home game in the conference tourney which unfolds this weekend.
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"We've shown great character and I think we deserve it," New Canaan coach Kirk Bamford said of having home field advantage in the first round.
"Not many thought we'd be in the top four at the beginning of the season," added Bamford, who lost several key players to graduation from last year's team which also finished in the top four in the conference. "The girls have believed in it and played hard. We've got a strong group here. Everybody's pulling their weight."
New Canaan got a goal by Madzie Carroll, assisted by Anna Borea, late in the first half, and made it stand up against Ridgefield, despite the visiting Tigers dominating the second half of play. New Canaan goalkeeper Alex Yuditski made five saves as Ridgefield sent 11 shots toward the goal, only a handful of which hit the target.
Bamford believed his team outplayed the Tigers in the opening half but didn't perform at its highest level because of the emotions and distractions of Senior Night celebrations.
"It'll be a good wake-up call for the next few games. Hopefully we can come back stronger," New Canaan captain Julia Tuttle said. Tuttle believes in her team and has high hopes for a run in the FCIAC playoffs. "I think we definitely have a chance to win it all if we do our best," she said.
New Canaan sits behind only St. Joes and Westhill of Stamford in the standings with an 11-2-2 record. The Rams lost only to Westhill and Brien McMahon by 2-0 and 1-0 scores, respectively.
"We haven't been spanked by anybody and we've competed against every team we've played," Bamford said.
The team gained plenty of confidence in a 3-2 comeback win over St. Joes on Oct. 20. Lauren Holec, Eileen Dinnie and Kelly Armstrong all scored in the win. Then, New Canaan blanked a playoff-hungry Staples team 3-0 two days later. Bamford said his team will need to play with consistency to thrive in the playoffs.