NORWALK — It was raining the proverbial cats and dogs for Tuesday night’s Class LL girls soccer first-round tournament game between Brien McMahon and Cheshire
Unfortunately for the Senators, it also poured missed opportunities.
Cheshire’s Jill Klem pounced on a rebound off a Riley Pettit direct kick from 40 yards away and scored with 4:45 left in the second 10-minute overtime as the 18th-seeded Rams stunned the 15th-seeded Senators 2-1 at a rain-soaked Casagrande Field.
The defeat ended McMahon’s most successful girls soccer season in history, a campaign that included the squad’s first-ever FCIAC tournament berth and first-ever home state tournament game.
And, in the end, it came down to McMahon’s missed opportunities — especially in the first half.
“Credit to their goalie in the first half,” Senators coach Angelo Tsingerliotis said. “We had three point-blank chances, and that’s the difference. When you have a goalie that can save the game by themselves, that’s a huge difference.”
What. A. Game. @brienmcmahon for the 1st time in program history hosting a State Tournament game in #ctgscoc & they kept it close but in OT the @cheshirehigh Rams took the victory 2-1. pic.twitter.com/6IXmqh9SKz
— CT Sports Now (@CT_Sports_Now) November 8, 2017
With Chloe Ortolano controlling the midfield and Peyton McNamara on top, the Senators were creating themselves plenty of runs through the Cheshire defense.
McMahon finally timed everything perfectly when Sarah Helms sent a through ball that McNamara picked up and raced out on a breakaway.
The sophomore made a nice move to get around Cheshire goalkeeper Sam Mathews and scored in the empty net for a 1-0 McMahon lead with 28:30 left in the first half.
Cheshire’s Kaitlyn Loura evened the game with 7:36 left in the half, putting a 35-yard shot high on goal.
McMahon keeper Tatiana Arias tried to punch the ball above the crossbar but it slid off her fists and just below the top of the goal to tie the game at 1-1.
By the time the half was over, McNamara — who was robbed at point-blank range by Mathews (6 saves) twice — almost set up two more scores for the Senators.
Her cross to Ortolano was one-touched to Helms, whose shot slid just wide of the net with 19 left in the first half.
Then, with under three minutes left to play, McNamara took a corner kick which Mikayla Fosina headed on goal.
Mathews was there to make the save, though.
McMahon’s best opportunity for a goal in overtime came when Cheshire was whistled for a handball just outside the box with 1:36 left in the first 10-minute OT stanza.
McNamara took the direct kick and found a hole, sending her shot just past the left post.
Cheshire, meanwhile, made the most of its best chance after a 50/50 foul call that Tsingerliotis questioned. The referee, who made the call from the far side of the field, jogged across the field to explain his call face-to-face to the Senators coach.
“He just said he saw a foul,” Tsingerliotis said. “I just feel it’s difficult when the game is taken out of the girls’ hands. There were fouls from both sides they didn’t call.”
The call set up Pettit’s boot and Klem’s go-ahead tally.
“It was just effort, and that’s what it takes. It’s an effort goal,” Cheshire coach James Luis said. “That’s what it is. Somebody following up on something. A lucky bounce, and kudos to us. We had the effort to get there.”
Cheshire advances to face Enfield in the second round.
“We just couldn’t get the final goal,” Tsingerliotis said. “Cheshire worked hard, played hard and their goalie made some big saves. That’s the difference.”
CHESHIRE 2, McMAHON 1 (2OT)
CHESHIRE 1 0 1—2
McMAHON 1 0 0—1
Records: McMahon 10-6-2, Cheshire 10-4-3; Goals: C—Kaitlyn Loura, Jill Klem; M—Peyton McNamara; Assists: C—Riley Pettit, M—Sarah Helms; Goalkeepers: C—Sam Mathews (6 saves), M—Tatiana Arias (5 saves).