WOODBRIDGE — With plenty of emotions swirling around Amity High for Senior Day, Cassie Giza had one thing in mind.
Knowing the postseason is up next, Giza showed her team what is expected from this point on as the senior scored twice and assisted on another goal in Amity’s 3-0 win over West Haven.
The win helped Amity finish the regular season at 10-3-3, with only three goals separating the Spartans from an undefeated season. Amity, the fifth seed in the Southern Connecticut Conference tournament, will travel to play fourth-seeded Cheshire on Saturday at 5 p.m.
“I thought we did a really good job with our passing and with our runs,” Giza said. “Everyone worked hard today.
“I think from our first game to today, every single game we have gotten better. I didn’t think much of it (Senior Day) today because we still have more games here.”
Giza was all over the field for the Spartans and her persistence paid off with 10 minutes, 26 seconds left in the first half. Sophomore Alexa Gibbs sent the ball forward and Giza picked up the loose ball and beat West Haven goalkeeper Janiene Tuinman for a 1-0 lead.
Giza’s goal was huge, especially with Amity’s defense playing so well and West Haven playing without some key players in Alexis Campbell, Alexia Perez and Tory Lavery.
“We were missing some starters,” West Haven coach John Camara said after his team fell to 8-7-1. “Missing Alexis Campbell made a big difference. She is very solid in the back. They took advantage of it.”
The Spartans wore the Westies down with their constant attack in the first half and Tuinman was forced to make several big stops.
Jacquelyn Smith fed Dakota Kelly, who ripped a laser at Tuinman from in front but the West Haven goalkeeper punched the shot away with 7:18 left in the half.
After Gabi Prisco’s corner was kicked around in front and Ava Gambardella shot over the goal for West Haven, Amity came back with a golden opportunity with 1:10 left in the first half. Tuinman was up to the challenge again, making a diving save on a shot by Giza.
“I thought we played very well,” Amity coach Owen Quigley said. “We moved the ball very well and the three goals we scored were very good goals.
“I thought Cassie (Giza) was good today and Dakota Kelly was very good. She runs the show from midfield. Ally Gibbs also played well. It was the best she has played in a while.”
Knowing they needed a quick goal in the second half, the Westies saw their chance slip away 1:15 into the half. Prisco’s corner kick sailed toward the goal, but Amity goalkeeper Zoie Reed punched the ball away.
The play by Reed proved to be big as the Spartans and Giza connected 37 seconds later for a 2-0 lead. Giza’s header beat Tuinman and Amity was firmly in control.
“We were looking to get some good shots and make good passes,” Giza said. “I thought we played well.”
West Haven had two opportunities within 1 minute to get on the board but each time came up empty. Prisco’s corner was headed wide and Allyson Hemstock’s shot from 20 yards out was one of six saves Reed needed to make on the day.
“She is the best goalkeeper in the conference,” Quigley said of Reed. “She controls play out there. She has very good footwork. She does a great job out there.”
Tuinman finished with 13 saves for the Westies and her best saves came in the second half. Smith broke in alone on Tuinman and the West Haven goalkeeper made a great hand save with 29:40 left.
Giza set up the final goal with 21:27 remaining when she sent a perfect pass in front. Smith fired the shot past Tuinman for the three-goal lead.
Reed was forced to make one final save to preserve the shutout. That save came with 16:48 left when Melanie Reiss’ shot from an angle was turned away.
“It is good to get some competition, but we did not want for the regular season to end on a bad note,” Camara said of his team, which will play top-seeded Guilford in the opening round of the SCC tournament. “We wanted a little momentum going into the tournament.”