BRANFORD – LanLe Crotty figured it was Branford’s best chance of the night to beat arch rival Cheshire.
And the senior forward took advantage of it.
With just 5:31 remaining in overtime, Crotty flipped a reverse shot at the cage and got it past goalie Alexis Hemstock to break a scoreless deadlock with the lone goal of the night as the Hornets stunned Cheshire, 1-0, at the James MacVeigh Alumni Athletic Complex.
The goal was set up when Branford was awarded a corner. Molly Zaffino took the corner, passing it to Sabrina Torcellini, who flicked it over to Crotty. She hit a reverse shot that dribbled past Hemstock for the game-winner.
“I thought it had a chance as the goalie lost her footing,” Crotty said. “I know Cheshire has a great defense and we were able to capitalize on our chance.”
It was a huge win for the Hornets, who improved to 6-1-0-1. Their only loss came in overtime at Hand on Sept. 18.
“That’s an excellent team in Cheshire,” Branford coach Cathy McGuirk said. “My kids are scrappy and they worked hard.”
It was Cheshire’s second loss of the season in overtime. The Rams (7-0-0-2) also fell to Hand, that coming in their season opener on Sept. 8.
“They are so disappointed and I’m seeing it in their faces,” Cheshire coach Eileen Wildermann said. “We put so much into this one, but it’s only one game.
Cheshire seemingly had taken a 1-0 lead with 6:08 remaining in the first half when Megan Daly took a pass off a corner and ripped a blast past Branford goalie Erica Klarman. However, despite the protests of the Rams, the referees waved the goal off, stating that Daly didn’t allow the ball to get out of the circle and hit it when it was right on the circle, negating the score.
“I trust my players and the girl who hit the ball is a senior captain has a ton of integrity,” Wildermann said. “She said it was outside (the circle) and she brought it in to shoot.”
The Rams had another opportunity with 26 seconds remaining before intermission when Meaghan Hogan missed a wide-open net to the left with a shot.
The second half became a defensive battle as neither team had a great chance to score. A Klarman kick save on Cheshire’s Mikayla Crowley midway through the second half was the best chance of the half.
Cheshire outshot Branford, 11-9. Klarman stopped all nine Rams’ shots, while Hemstock had 10 saves.