Late goal sinks Wave
In a clash of defensive dynamos, the opportunities were few.
But Ridgefield made its best chance count as Caitlin Slaminko scored from out in front, assisted by Faith Arnold to win it 1-0 with 6:44 to play in regulation of the FCIAC quarterfinals at Tiger Hollow on Friday.
In my mind I’m not convinced that we didn’t deserve something out of that game.
— Leigh Parsons
“Obviously all season we’ve only conceded eight goals,” said Tigers coach Ian Golding. “So obviously we’re doing something good defensively. And again it was another good defensive team performance.”
Darien’s had 10 shutouts and seen only seven goals enter its cage.
And again, goalie Christine Fiore, defenders Emily DeNunzio, Anna Fox, Nelle Kniffin and Emily Bergwall built a fortress.
The four seed Tigers (12-2-3) move ahead to semis on Monday while No. 5 Darien (11-3-3) keeps honing its game for states.
“I think the whole time it was a grind, and we kept fighting,” said Slaminko. “And I think, just finishing one was our goal. We knew we weren’t going to win by a ton.”
“I can honestly say, I can’t walk away and think we were the lesser team,” Darien coach Leigh Parsons said of the mostly even match. “In the first-half I feel that we had more of the play in their end. We had corners, play in around the box; shots; but nothing too convincing or dangerous.”
“Today was a good competitive game against a very good Darien side,” said Golding. “We competed, we battled and we got our goal in the end.”
“But in the first-half, I would say we were more on top overall,” Parsons added.
Golding seemed to concur when he told his team gathered round him following the game that it had won it by bringing it in the second half, when the Tigers out-chanced Darien with a couple of very dangerous forays into the box and to the front of the net.
Fiore (nine saves) dove to her right to stop one foray in the save of the game moments before the Tigers struck for the winner.
The rebound was in turn stopped by freshman Kniffin, who also sprawled to block the shot.
On the next play Ridgefield finished it.
“We have chances that we don’t get something on the end of,” Parsons said. “They get one chance and they get it on target.”
“Faith dribbled all the way to the end line and cut it back,” Slaminko said. “And I just hit it from like the six-yard box to (far) right post.”
“Ridgefield is a good team, but it’s frustrating to walk away losing 1-0, when in my mind I’m not convinced that we didn’t deserve something out of that game," Parsons said. “That’s the way it goes.”
Ellen Harnisch, Katie Ramsay, Kate Bellissimo, Nathalie Bravo, Eilanna Dolan, and Maddie Joyce all found themselves a stride, or a good bounce away from breaking in with bids, in what was a frustrating day for the hard charging offense.
Lauren Castle made six stops in goal for Ridgefield.
“If you put it on goal you have a chance,” Parsons added. “In the last 15 minutes we didn’t do enough to test their keeper, rather than long range shots. Even on free kicks we had in good positions, we didn’t put them into good areas. It was just kind of miss-hits and lack of focus.”