Plenty was at stake in Thursday’s matchup between FAA soccer rivals Greenwich Academy and St. Luke’s.
GA needed a victory to claim the FAA regular season title and secure the No. 1 seed in next week’s conference tournament. St. Luke’s, meanwhile, would gain the conference’s regular season title and the top seed in the tournament with a win or a tie in Thursday’s showdown.
The Storm forged a tie and got the No. 1 seed for the FAA tournament and the regular season championship.
Sophomore Tessa Brooks tallied twice for host Greenwich Academy, while Lily Tencic and Ali Gall each scored for St. Luke’s, as the squads played to a 2-2 draw.
St. Luke’s is 8-0-1 in the FAA and 11-0-1 overall, while Greenwich Academy finished the regular season 7-0-2 in FAA play and is 9-3-3 overall. The FAA Tournament begins Monday, so St. Luke’s will have home field advantage throughout the tourney. Greenwich Academy will host a quarterfinal-round game on Monday.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game, it always is with GA,” Storm coach Dan Clarke said. “We did enough today to come out with a tie and clinch the league title.”
Trailing 2-1, the Gators knotted the score when Tessa Brooks scored directly off a free kick, as her well-placed arcing shot deflected off the hands of leaping goalie Ashley Barton with 15 minute remaining in the second half. Brooks’ first goal of the game also came off a free kick.
“With those free kicks, I just take them and whatever happens, happens,” Brooks said. “Obviously, a win would have been nice, because we would have won the regular season title and it would have helped us in the tournament. We could have pulled it off. But we played well and we’re happy with the tie. It was a really good game.”
St. Luke’s took a 1-0 advantage in the 20th minute. With the visitors applying pressure, Tencic received a cross in the box and found herself wide open for a shot, which she converted from five yards out, giving the Storm a 1-0 lead.
The home team tallied the equalizer late in the first half, courtesy of Brooks’ free kick, which bounced past the goalie inside the right post.
“It was a great battle,” GA coach Alistair Lonsdale said. “The first 15 minutes of the game they had the momentum, then we came back. In the second half, the first 15 minutes they also had the momentum, but we came back again. We played well, we just need to have to be better in terms of ball possession.”
GA fell behind 2-1 when Gall tallied from the left side early in the second half. Greenwich Academy sophomore goalie Ella Fugelsang finished the game with 10 saves, while Barton stopped five shots for St. Luke’s.
Greenwich Academy celebrated Senior Day, with Karina Toub, Olivia DeGulis, Paige Keating, Emily Hock and Daisy Stuart being honored.
“We started off shaky, because we have been talking about and preparing for this game for a while,” said Toub, who turned in a strong all-around effort. “We were supposed to play it last week (it was postponed due to Saturday’s inclement weather), so we were really excited for this game. After they scored that first goal, we got back into it and settled down. We are looking forward to the FAA tournament, we’ve played everyone that we are going to face, so we will be ready.”