New Canaan girls soccer falls to Danbury
DANBURY -- In a game featuring stellar goalkeeping and clear-cut momentum shifts, the Danbury girls soccer team outlasted visiting New Canaan 2-1 and gave itself a nice boost for its playoff hopes. New Canaan, meanwhile, is running out of time to turn around its season.
New Canaan (5-7) had hoped that its impressive win against Trumbull four days earlier would help propel them to a sustained winning streak, but Danbury (7-1-4) just had too many weapons, beginning with their All-FCIAC goalkeeper Rebecca Gartner, who made several dazzling saves.
While Rebecca Gartner anchored the defense, the Hatters also had a serious threat on offense in sophomore midfielder Jessica Robbins. Danbury dominated the first half of play thanks in large part to the offensive thrusts that Robbins engineered.
It was Robbins who first put Danbury on the scoreboard eight minutes into the match, when forward Sara Dasilva fed the ball to her at the top of the box. Robbins pivoted and then blasted the ball to the low corner just past the reach of New Canaan goalkeeper Katie Donovan.
"We do a good job staying in control and staying intact," co-captain Rachel Gartner said. "When the other team has fire you just have to play with it."
Throughout the first half, the Hatters continued to control time of possession, shots on goal, and the overall pace of the game.
Two occurrences in the first half, though, shifted momentum in New Canaan's favor. First, and most obviously, New Canaan scored. With 12 minutes remaining Kelly McClymonds threaded a beautiful through-ball to Gabby Borea, who deftly put it past Rebecca Gartner for the equalizer.
A few minutes later, New Canaan was called for an illegal slide tackle inside their box resulting in a penalty kick for Danbury. Donovan read the kick perfectly and with feline quickness sprung to the left to deflect the shot. Donovan's heroics helped raise the Rams' intensity level, which carried well into the second half.
"They brought the momentum of scoring in the first half into the second half, which kind of caught us by surprise," admitted Danbury co-captain Olivia DeBellis, "but we finally locked in."
While the Rams were fired up throughout the second half, they simply could not punch through.
Even a 30-yard breakaway on the goal by the Rams' Marina Braccio was denied when Gartner made yet another spectacular save.
"We did a great job of getting momentum in our favor; everyone won every 50-50 ball they could," said New Canaan co-captain Lizzy Burke. "In the second half, we saw how close we could get."
During a scramble in front of New Canaan's goal with 10 minutes remaining, the Hatters' Taylor Moore was able to put a foot on the ball in what would prove to be the game winner.
In the end Danbury put eight shots on goal compared to six for New Canaan. The Hatters also maintained a 6-3 edge in corner kicks.
"They had to fight tooth and nail to get that win," said New Canaan coach Kirk Bamford. "The girls gave everything out there, and we were in there right to the end; we just didn't get a break when we needed one."
Danbury coach Jessica Halas had a similar take. "They really showed up to play tonight; I give New Canaan a lot of credit. We had a hard time winning the 50-50- balls and that means if we're not winning them, they're winning them.
"Obviously, though, we're re happy with the result," she added.
The Rams need just one win in their final four games to make it to the state tournament, but they are five points out of the FCIAC playoffs and will need help to qualify for the eight-team field.
DAnbury 2, NEW CANAAN 1
Danbury 1 1 -- 2
New Canaan 1 0 --1
Records: Danbury (7-1-4); New Canaan (5-7). Goals: D--Robbins, Moore; NC--Borea.
Assists: D--DaSilva; NC--McClymonds. Goalies D--Rebecca Gartner (5 saves); NC-- Katie Donovan (6 saves).