FAIRFIELD — For as long as he can remember, Warde coach Tom Cunningham has told Kaitlyn Walsh that whenever she has the opportunity to put the ball on goal. Close in or far out, if you’re open, kick it toward the net.
Because usually when she does that, good things happen.
It was that way on a rainy Wednesday night at Tetreau-Davis Field. Walsh found herself with possession about 30 yards out midway in the first half and she sent a shot that went just over the goalkeeper’s hands and just under the crossbar for the game’s lone goal in a 1-0 Warde victory over Trumbull.
“We preach that to Kaitlyn. She has the ability to strike a very good ball,” Cunningham said. “She can shoot from 25, 30 (yards) out and we try to encourage her to do that and when she took advantage of it, we really benefitted.”
The win was the third straight for the Mustangs (9-3) and Warde’s seventh win in its last eight starts. But it still leaves them in fourth place in the FCIAC East standings behind Ridgefield, St. Joseph’s and Darien.
Meanwhile, Trumbull (6-4-3) finds itself looking up at Staples and McMahon in the FCIAC West.
“It was two very talented teams going at it,” Cunningham said. “We knew that it was going to be a battle.”
The game-changing moment came in the 26th minute as Walsh sent a shot into the back of the net, the only play that Golden Eagles goalkeeper Maryna Barone didn’t make.
“Maryna was excellent tonight, fearless in there,” Trumbull coach Dan Uhrlass said. “Warde capitalized on our one mistake with a very nice shot from distance and I also thought they held their composure and passed the ball nicely under pressure. Second half, we were trying to push for a goal, we didn’t create enough and I thought Warde did a very nice job keeping hold of the ball, playing calm.”
While Warde was content to play the possession game, they also put together several scoring chances — all from Walsh — which forced Barone to have dive to her right to knock away a blast from the right wing and then leap to get a hand on the ball and deflect it off the crossbar.
“The game plan throughout the first half and deep into the second half didn’t change, keep going forward, keep attacking,” Cunningham said. “The best defense is a good offense and we wanted to keep that mentality and limit their opportunities.”
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Trumbull goalkeeper Maryna Barone. Despite allowing a first-half goal, the junior kept the Golden Eagles in the game until the end, making 11 saves against an ever-attacking Mustangs’ offense.
KICKING FOR A CURE
The Warde players wore pink shirts before the game with “Kicking for a Cure” on the front as they looked to raise money for the Norma Pfriem Breast Care Center at Bridgeport Hospital.
“Every October, we want to do our part and not just on the soccer field. So, we choose a game to raise money for the Norma Pfriem Breast Cancer Center. We just want to give back to the community.” — Warde coach Tom Cunningham.
WARDE 1, TRUMBULL 0
TRUMBULL 0 0—0
WARDE 1 0—1
Records: Trumbull 6-4-2; Warde 9-3. Goals: W—Kaitlyn Walsh. Shots: W—12; T—2; Goalies: T— Maryna Barone (11 saves); Warde—Caleigh Walklet (4).