OLD LYME >> The Lyme-Old Lyme girls soccer team sure picked a good time for its biggest offensive outburst of the season.
Freshman Mya Johnson poured in a career-high five goals, senior Kyra Teixeira tallied two goals and sophomore Maddie Ouellette dished out six assists as the Wildcats defeated Coginchaug, 10-4, in the Shoreline Conference tournament semifinals Tuesday morning at Old Lyme.
The top-seeded Wildcats (13-2-2) will face No. 2 Morgan (13-3-1) in the championship Friday (7 p.m.) at Portland High School. The Huskies defeated Valley Regional, 1-0, in Tuesday’s other semifinal.
Old Lyme defeated the Blue Devils 1-0 back on Sept. 28 and Wildcats coach Paul Gleason knew the team’s history of close games, including Old Lyme’s 1-0 win in last year’s SLC tournament final.
“Coginchaug and Old Lyme is always a consummate battle,” Gleason said. “I didn’t sleep last night, that tells you how anxious I was coming into today.”
After the Wildcats exploded for five goals in the first 24 minutes, Gleason could finally feel at ease.
“It was a pretty impressive display with these kids today,” Gleason added. “I don’t like scoring 10 goals on a team but the shots that they were making were just pretty stuff and our passing game was right on. It’s very tough to tell them to pull back, especially when they are making a run on the goal.”
Teixeira scored on two headers and Johnson lifted a shot inside the far post — all on perfectly placed corner kicks from Ouellette — to give the Wildcats an early 3-0 advantage.
“We’ve been practicing corners for a long time and it’s really worked out well for us,” Gleason explained.
Johnson made it 4-0 when she lifted a shot in off another crossing pass from Ouellette. Just a minute later, Johnson netted her third goal off a direct kick from 30 yards out for a 5-0 lead with 16:26 still left in the first half.
“We gave up five goals on five set pieces early and that’s been our Achilles heel,” Coginchaug coach Megan Kavanaugh said. “We just don’t have the physical size and Old Lyme can hurt you in so many ways. They’ve got speed, athleticism, size and that’s hard to combat. They were the better team today. I think we can play with them but we got ourselves into a hole and we couldn’t find a way out of it.”
The Wildcats scoring barrage continued late in the first half on Johnson’s breakaway score and sophomore Keelin Hurt’s goal on a terrific shot that sailed over Blue Devils keeper Taylor Marino from 25 yards out to extend Old Lyme’s lead to 7-1 at intermission.
Juniors Mary Bolles and Jenna Peduzzi added second half goal for the Wildcats, who have won nine of their last 10.
“I honestly didn’t expect this but we came out hard and worked for it,” Johnson said. “Over the season we’ve really bonded and we really got to know each other and learned how each other plays. Maddie (Ouellette) is just an amazing player. I can’t even explain how good she is. She knows where to put the ball all the time our players know where to be.”
Johnson’s fifth goal came on a breakaway midway through the second half. It was her 23rd goal of the season.
“She has this irrepressible personality,” Gleason said. “And when she gets a little older and starts developing that left-footed shot with a knuckle on it, she’s going to be pretty impressive.”
Junior Lauren Fairchild had two goals, while seniors Larissa Cade and Jessica Drop netted second half goals for the Blue Devils. Fairchild and Drop scored less than two minutes apart with Drop’s tally cutting the Wildcats lead to 8-4 at the 55 minute mark.
“(At halftime) we talked about pride and the fact that we didn’t think the score was reflective of our ability to play with them,” Kavanaugh said. “We got a little unlucky. We had some opportunities to score in the first half. So we talked about playing for 40 more minutes.”
The No. 4 Blue Devils (7-7-2) have dropped five of their last six games.
“We’re going to regroup,” Kavanaugh added. “We have a couple of injuries that we’re hoping we’ll have another week to recover. The fact that we did score some goals in the second half will help because it shows that the kids are willing to fight. They could have rolled over at halftime and they didn’t.”
Old Lyme 10, Coginchaug 4
(at Old Lyme)
Coginchaug 1 3 — 4
Old Lyme 7 3 — 10
First half—OLM: Kyra Teixeira (Maddie Ouelette) 8:42; Kyra Teixeira (Maddie Ouelette) 13:49; Mya Johnson (Maddie Ouelette) 17:02; Mya Johnson (Maddie Ouelette) 22:30; Mya Johnson 23:34; COG: Lauren Fairchild (Amy Arcari) 32:57; OLM: Mya Johnson 35:10; Keelin Hurtt 37:00; Second half—OLM: Mary Bolles (Maddie Ouelette) 44:33; COG: Larissa Cade 50:20; Lauren Fairchild 54:00; Jess Drop 55:23; OLM: Mya Johnson 57:58; Jenna Peduzzi 64:00;
Saves—COG: Taylor Marino 7; OLM: Tori Sims 2; Olivia Ellis 1;
Records—Coginchaug 7-7-2; Old Lyme 13-2-2