FAIRFIELD — The sound as Kaela Martin’s body hit the cold Taft Field turf last Thursday evening was one where you knew she’d definitely be sore tomorrow. But less than five seconds later she bounced right back up.
It was a brisk late October evening, and with a slim hope of still advancing to the FCIAC Tournament, the Fairfield Ludlowe girls’ soccer team was going all out.
The Falcons finished the 80 minutes of play to a scoreless draw with Danbury, one of the best in the conference. A few other scenarios would have had to play out for Ludlowe to make the tournament. But as the buzzer sounded, head coach Kate Dawson was pleased with the performance and the direction the team is headed as the start tournament looms.
“I thought tonight (last Thursday) was one of our better games of the season and that the girls settled and possessed and really played together and played composed,” Dawson said. “I think that’s certainly a positive going into the postseason, into the state tournament, and now I think we just have to build off that energy.”
It’s been a roller coaster season for the Falcons. Ludlowe started the fall with four straight losses, including two shutouts. But the team picked up a huge 2-1 victory over Ridgefield on Sept. 21 that spurred them on a six-game win streak.
But as sports go, momentum shifted. The Falcons went 2-3-1 to finish off the regular season. It wasn’t the end Dawson and the Falcons had in mind.
“It was definitely unfortunate,” Dawson said. “I was really hoping we would make the FCIAC Tournament this year, these girls certainly deserve it. They work hard in practice every single day, and I think just a couple games we needed to get and we didn’t. We weren’t able to capitalize.”
The first round of the state tournament will start on Nov. 4 as Ludlowe will compete in the Class LL Tournament. Last year the Falcons won their first round game 4-0 over Shelton. The season ended for them in the next round, a 1-0 defeat to Glastonbury, which finished as the runner-up to Newtown.
Dawson said the focus going into the tournament is scoring and taking advantage of opportunities.
“Possession. We’re starting to find a possession game so it’s really consistency,” she said. “I’ve been preaching that all season to the girls, it’s one and done in the state tournament so we can’t afford a tie, we can’t afford a loss, we just have to focus on the game and trying to come out with a win.”