BRANFORD – Branford and East Haven had both been struggling to score goals going into Thursday’s Southern Connecticut Conference girls’ soccer contest between the two teams.
So when Branford scored a goal nine minutes into the game, it was easy to wonder if that would be for the afternoon.
But the Hornets added two second half goals en route to a 3-0 victory at Veteran’s Park.
“That first goal gave us a little boost,” Branford coach Jen Kohut said. “We needed it.”
The win snapped Branford’s 6-game losing streak, in which the Hornets had been outscored 24-5 during that span. The Hornets are 2-6 overall.
“We finally have the people in the place they need to be,” Kohut said. “We’ve been struggling with finishing up top with those we should have put away.”
The Hornets took that 1-0 lead when Melissa Beatty cashed in on a turnover by the Yellowjackets deep in their own end. She found some open space on the left side and put the ball into the top right corner of the net over the outstretched hands of East Haven goalkeeper Molly Mazzucco.
East Haven, which has been outscored 21-2, in posting a 0-6-2 record thus far, struggled throughout the first half to get the play in its own end of the field. The best chance the Yellowjackets had in the first half came when AnnMarie DiNicola blasted a shot that Branford junior goalkeeper Nina Grabowiecki got a hand on. Still ,it headed towards the net before it was cleared away by the Hornets’ defense.
“I saw they hadn’t scored much, but I saw they tied Hand, 0-0, which is a good result,” Kohut said. “We didn’t take them lightly.”
Both of Branford’s goals in the second half came as a result of defensive mistakes by East Haven. The first came at the 10:21 mark for the second half when Wyntre Fries took a shot at the net from 25 yards out and Mazzucco misplayed it, allowing the ball to go through her legs and into the net.
Morgan Ashby added another insurance goal less than two minutes later when she dribbled the ball in on Mazzucco, who ended up in no man’s land 25 yards from the net and Ashby tapped the ball past her.
Kohut said it was also the best performance of the year from Grabowiecki, who made one save she mentioned in particular.
“She played great, but she came out strong after that one ball where she just came through everyone to get it,” Kohut said. “That’s the best save she’s made all year.”
Branford dominated in all the statistics, outshooting East Haven, 16-9, and controlled the corner kicks, 9-3. Both goalies stopped seven shots.
Branford 3, East Haven 0
East Haven 0 0 — 0
Branford 1 2 — 3
First half—BR: Melissa Beatty 8:12; Second half—BR: Wyntre Fries (Morgan Ashby) 51:00; Morgan Ashby (Melissa Beatty) 51:20;
Shots—EH: 9; BR: 16;
Saves—EH: Molly Mazzucco 7; BR: Nina Grabowiecki 7;
Records—East Haven 0-6-2; Branford 2-6