GREENWICH — Until Wednesday’s soccer matchup against Sacred Heart Greenwich, Greenwich Academy defender Schuyler Sargent never played a game in goal, but with Ella Fugelsang sustaining an injury, Sargent volunteered her services.
Sargent rose to the occasion, playing admirably in her debut as a goalie and the duo of Katie Goldsmith and Tessa Brooks once again, provided the offense Greenwich Academy needed.
Goldsmith recorded two goals, Brooks tallied three assists and Sargent made five saves in Greenwich Academy’s well-earned 3-1 win over visiting Sacred Heart in a physical FAA game.
Fugelsang, a junior goalie, left the game in the 15th minute, after accidentally taking a foot to the head, while retrieving a loose ball. She collided with a Sacred Heart player who was also attempting to control the ball.
The Gators’ starting goalie was sidelined the remainder of the game and watched the action from the bench, while being observed. In stepped Sargent, who answered the call.
“This was the first game I’ve ever played in goal,” said Sargent, a junior. “We don’t really have a backup goalie, so he (coach Alistair Lonsdale) asked if anyone played basketball and I volunteered and he put me in.”
Indeed, Sargent admires the goalies’ role.
“I have so much respect for goalies, that was not easy at all,” Sargent said. “Everyone stepped up and had high intensity.”
The Tigers (4-2) received a goal from junior forward Alana Frederick, who has tallied five times in the team’s past three games. Sacred Heart headed into halftime trailing, 2-1, in what was a rematch of the 2018 FAA Tournament semifinals won by GA on penalty kicks.
“I am proud of the way we played,” Tigers coach Stuart Smith said. “We were competitive, played good soccer, got the ball on the ground and were physical with them.”
GA (4-1-2) took a 1-0 lead in the 1:50 into the first half on a set piece. Brooks served her corner kick into the box and senior centerback Christina Maldonado rose up and headed the ball by Tigers freshman goalie Daphne Hartch, making it 1-0.
The Gators extended their advantage to 2-0 when Goldsmith tallied off a pass from Brooks in the 19th minute.
“The ball was played over the top and I got it and was able to chip it over the goalies’ head,” Goldsmith said. “It was definitely a fast-paced game and very physical. Both of these teams really wanted it and it was a hard-fought game.”
Sacred Heart closed to within 2-1 in the 24th minute of play. Sargent attempted to clear the ball, but Frederick, who was charging toward the goal got to it and deposited a shot into the open goal, cutting GA’s lead in half.
“We didn’t defend the corner as well as we would have liked to, which was a bit of a setback, but I thought we responded well,” Smith said.
Greenwich Academy regained its two-goal edge with 30:49 remaining in the second, half courtesy of another set piece. Brooks’ corner kick found the foot of Goldsmith, who finished at the far post, giving the Gators a 3-1 lead.
“I am really proud of how everyone played, this is one of the biggest games of our season,” Brooks said. “I’m proud of how everyone rose to the occasion. When Ella (Fugelsang) came out of the game, it was very upsetting for us, but it motivated us to do it for her. She has done so much for us the past few years.”
The Tigers were paced offensively by Frederick, senior Ameilia Sheehan, junior Lara Patricio and senior Leah Atkins and on defense by senior Taylor O’Meara. Paige Lipman and junior Taylor Lane helped lead GA in the midfield, while Goldsmith and Brooks applied a lot of pressure throughout.
Sargent and Fugelsang combined for six saves, while Hartch stopped five shots for Sacred Heart.
“The goal in the first few minutes crushed our momentum a little bit,” Sheehan said. “The second half we put some good pressure on them, after dominating some of the first half in terms of possession. We didn’t get the result we wanted, but we are going to keep on going.”
“Sacred Heart always brings the energy,” said Lane, a senior co-captain. “They bring so many fans to away games and that just fuels our energy to play a full and complete game.”
Said Lonsdale, who credited sophomore Alexa Burdick and freshman Elizabeth Burdick for their overall solid play: “It was a tough game from the start, the atmosphere was high and there was a lot of tension. Schuyler was great in goal, she volunteered to go in.”