For a game played with the feet, Emily DeNunzio sure took matters into her own hands.
DeNunzio, an All-American defenseman, played a few steps forward and sank the winning goal in Darien’s 2-0 victory over visiting Danbury at home on Tuesday.
It was a team effort.
— Emily DeNunzio
“I was playing center-mid this game,” DeNunzio said. “I had a clear shot and I just took it; see what happens.”
The eighth seed Wave (12-2-3) eliminates No. 25 Hatters (5-9-3) and hosts nine seed Shelton (12-3-2) at 2pm Thursday in round two.
“It’s really exciting, I’ve been practicing that shot for a while,” DeNunzio said of her first-half goal. “For it to actually go in, it was real nice.”
“I think that Emily definitely helped spark the team,” said Christine Fiore, getting her 11th shutout this season making seven stops. “Her in the middle of midfield definitely opens up a lot more for our forwards and midfield to score.”
And score its top scorer did.
Katie Ramsay sank the Hatters’ hopes of a comeback with a second half goal.
“It was definitely an adjustment today, but I think that Anna (Fox) and Eva (Finn) definitely started to click as the game went on,” said Fiore of the somewhat altered defense. “And (Emily) Bergwall and Nelle (Kniffin) are always strong.”
“(Finn) just kept clearing the ball,” said DeNunzio. “And that’s all that we can ask for.”
Finn returned from an injury to take up the spot vacated at center back, with DeNunzio playing most of the game at center midfield.
“It was really exciting, the defense really stepped up,” said DeNunzio. “We had a lot of chances in the beginning.”
DeNunzio scored on a one-timer midway through the first half.
“Katie Ramsay’s been playing really well,” DeNunzio added. “She’s our leading goal-scorer. And she’s been getting (shots) on target and they’re going into the back of the net sometimes and that’s all we can hope for.”
Ramsay aided DeNunzio’s goal, crossing the ball with the Danbury defender unable to corral it.
“It went right to me and I just took a one-touch shot and it went top-left,” DeNunzio said. “Yeah, it was pretty exciting.”
Ramsay’s goal came on a fluid clear-out play off a Hatters’ corner, cleared by DeNunzio.
Lauren Sulger took possession and passed ahead to Ramsay, with Ramsay blowing past the defense and billowing the netting with the insurance goal.
“It was a team effort,” DeNunzio said. “We’ve been practicing getting those through balls to the forwards; and just more getting those link-up plays; having more opportunities to get the balls on net. And I think that was done this game.”