Darien residents contribute to success of GFA soccer team
The GFA girls soccer team competed in the New England Class C tournament last week. The Dragons defeated the Wheeler School 2-1 in overtime (penalty kicks) in the quarterfinals but lost in the semifinals to Brewster Academy 1-0.
Against Wheeler, neither team could capitalize early. GFA displayed its speed in the midfield with senior captain Emily Caldwell (Fairfield) and junior Caroline Vanacore (Darien), as well as up top with junior Phebe Wong (Darien). The defense, with its normal stoppers of senior captains Kate Tomlinson (Darien), Sam Brown (Old Greenwich), junior Blair Pelley (Darien) and freshman Olivia Lennon (Southport) turned away numerous balls from Wheeler, leaving them with only two shots on goal in the first forty minutes.
In the second half, Wheeler took the 1-0 lead with eight minutes left on the clock. GFA responded with immediate pressure as the Dragons earned a direct kick from the 45-yard line. Caldwell found the back of the net placing a beautiful shot into the corner of the cage to tie the game at 1-1.
Both teams played strong in overtime, but neither team capitalized on opportunities. In penalty kicks, GFA outshot Wheeler 5-4 to win the game with goals by junior Kiki Kauffman (Darien), Tomlinson, Vanacore and Wong with the game winner by Caldwell. Sophomore Caroline Kruk (Easton) had a diving save on Wheeler's second shooter.
Although GFA outshot Brewster Academy 12-4 in the semifinals, Brewster was able to register one goal in the first half when a crossed the ball founded its way into the corner of the net for the 1-0 lead. GFA's best opportunity came in the second half as junior Blair Pelley (Darien) sent a corner ball into the box where Vanacore hit it past a diving Brewster goalie. However, the goal was called back due to a handball and GFA fell 1-0.