GREENWICH — With the regular season well past its midway point, the Greenwich High School girls soccer team knows it must begin stringing victories together in order to qualify for the postseason.
Monday, the Cardinals got going on the road toward such a goal.
Greenwich followed a tie against Danbury on Friday with a 4-0 Senior Day win over Westhill on Monday in an FCIAC game at Cardinal Stadium.
After a scoreless first half full of near misses, the Cardinals tallied four times during the second half on their way to the victory. Junior Bea Owens scored two goals, while junior Sophia Bastek and sophomore Kelly Martyanov added one goal apiece for Greenwich (3-7-1). The Cardinals must finish with at least six wins and a tie to make the Class LL Tournament. They have five games remaining on their regular season schedule.
“This is another game we had to win,” GHS senior co-captain/midfielder Jordan Moses said. “This is one we needed to pick up, so we can hopefully, make it to FCIACs and states.”
Westhill forged a 0-0 halftime tie, behind standout play from Niamh Keogh in goal. Keogh registered 11 saves, a number of which came during the opening half.
“At halftime, we were definitely disappointed,” Moses said. “We were moving the ball a lot, but we were dribbling too much. So at halftime we talked about picking our head up and making the right passes.”
Said Cardinals coach Simon Rumbold: “Our team identified what they needed to do at halftime. They knew they needed to be more ruthless in the box and tackling areas. After that first goal, our team calmed down and we played better throughout the second half.”
Martyanov gave the Cardinals a 1-0 lead in the 42nd minute, converting a shot from approximately 20 yards out after receiving a pass from senior Claudia Caruso.
After the Cards drew a penalty kick with a foul, Owens knocked the kick past Keogh in the 47th minute, putting the home team ahead, 2-0.
“I felt confident and stepped up and kicked it far right,” Owens said. “We are definitely playing better and working toward getting six and a half games.”
In the 52nd minute, Bastek tallied off a pass from Owens, putting Westhill in a 3-0 hole.
“Bea put it toward me and I headed it into the goal,” Bastek said. “I took a touch toward the goal and shot it into the right corner. We are focused on getting more victories to get to states.”
Owens sealed the scoring scoring off a corner kick in the 65th minute from junior Kristen Berzolla.
“I saw the flight of the ball and was able to get a touch on it and hit it into the top of the corner,” Owens said. “It was a good corner kick.”
Greenwich senior goalie/co-captain Clay Garrett made five saves for the shutout win.
“Going into the game, we had a lot of emotion,” Garrett said. “This was a good parting game for our seniors. We wanted the win, we played really well and we followed through on Senior Night.”
In the first half, GHS put a lot of pressure on the Vikings with Caruso, Carly O’Brien, KK Feureman Martyanov and Bastek leading the way. Natalie Bacon and Malina Lasicki led the way defensively for Westhill in front of their goalie.
Keogh was challenged in the first half with shots by Feureman, Martyanov, Moses, O’Brien and Bastek, put kept it a scoreless game until the Cards found their scoring touch in the second half.
“One lapse in judgement, one mental error and it could lead to a couple of mistakes,” said Vikings coach Ryan Perkins, who was Greenwich’s JV coach last season. “We had a couple of mental errors, that ultimately unlocked the door. After those first couple of goals, I thought we responded well. I’m proud of how we defended throughout the game. Our back four are our strong point.”
Up next for GHS is a game against host Wilton on Wednesday.