MILFORD – With a player as talented as Lauralton Hall junior Caroline Monahan, sometimes it is not a matter of if, but when she will get going. Case in point was Tuesday afternoon’s contest against Cheshire.
With her team off to a slow start, Monahan scored her first two goals of the season in a span of less than 6 minutes during the second half, helping the Crusaders to a 2-0 Southern Connecticut Conference interdivision victory at Lauralton Hall.
“Some of the things she does, you can’t teach,” Lauralton Hall coach Nicole Andreesen said after her team improved to 1-0-1. “She does something every game. Even a game some might consider bad is a memorable game for her. She doesn’t have bad games. She just seems to be able to turn it on.”
With the game scoreless in the second half, Monahan tapped a shot wide just a minute into the half. A short time later, Monahan took over.
With several classic moves in and out of the defense, Monahan cut to the middle and rifled a shot low to the left corner for a 1-0 lead.
“Obviously, they have a tremendous player (Monahan) and we did not do a good job of handling her,” Cheshire coach James Luis said after his team dropped its season opener. “We did not capitalize on our opportunities early and we struggled after.”
Just 5 minutes, 49 seconds later, Monahan gave the Crusaders a 2-0 lead. Taking a soft touch pass from Molly Rotondo, Monahan went down the left side, cut in, drew the defense to her, stopped and drilled a shot to the middle of the left side with 23:03 remaining.
“This team plays so well together,” Monahan said of the Crusaders. “We work so hard, We have good team work. Everyone worked really hard today. I think we showed what we can do when we work hard. We were up 2-0 against Mercy and it ended 2-2. It was tough because we thought we should have pulled out the win. It was good for us to come back today.”
The Rams put on constant pressure in the final 13 minutes and looked as if they would make the game come down to the wire.
Elizabeth Lurz fired a rocket from the box, but was denied by Lauralton sophomore goalkeeper Julia Rush, before a pass from Kaitlyn Loura to Sarah Clark resulted in a chipped shot just wide one minute later.
Cheshire’s final golden scoring opportunity came with nine minutes to go as Allison Leonetti looked to have a wide open goal to shoot into, but was stopped when Lauralton’s Patricia Gildea hustled back to block the shot.
“I thought they had the better of the play,” Luis said. “I thought we played well in the first 15 or 20 minutes of the game, but we kind of died out. I think we were a little fatigued. They dominated the rest of the game.”
Loura looked as if she might get the Rams on the board in the first half when her hard shot was denied by Rush, who made 12 saves in the game, with 23 minutes left in the half. Monahan answered with a threat of her own six minutes later as she dribbled in and out of defenders, before tapping a shot, which keepr Zoe Riccio denied.
“I think we got stronger as the game went on,” Andreesen said. “We did not attack like we can in the first half. In the second half, the intensity came up and I thought our fitness level carried us through.”
Cheshire held a 16-14 shot advantage in the game.
Lauralton Hall 2, Cheshire 0
Cheshire 0 0 — 0
Lauralton Hall 1 1 — 2
First half—LHA: Caroline Monahan ; Second half—LHA: Caroline Monahan ;
Shots—CH: 11; LHA: 11;
Saves—CH: Sam Matthews 6; Zoe Riccio 6; LHA: Julia Rush 9;
Records—Cheshire 0-2; Lauralton Hall 1-0