NORTH BRANFORD — The Old Lyme girls soccer team has owned the Shoreline Conference for years.
The Wildcats not only have dominated the regular season, but also won four straight tournament titles. Then North Branford derailed Old Lyme’s drive for a fifth straight, upsetting the Wildcats in the tournament final last November.
The Thunderbirds did it again on Saturday, beating Old Lyme 1-0 at home thanks to Alexie Rosado’s second-half goal and a sturdy defense.
“It was a hard-fought battle from the beginning,” North Branford goalkeeper Allie Augur said. “Our back line was extremely strong. After that goal, we kind of knew if we could keep the ball in front of us constantly that we has a good chance of coming out with the win.”
North Branford (2-0-1) is the only team to defeat Old Lyme (1-1) since the start of last season. The last Shoreline team other than North Branford to beat Old Lyme during thee regular season? Valley Regional back on Oct. 7, 2014.
“I like to have a really hard game like this to see what kind of character your team has,” Old Lyme coach Paul Gleason said. “And I was pretty pleased with the character our team showed because we dominated this game. We were in their (portion) of the field three-fifths of the game and we just couldn’t put (the chances) away.”
Rosado was able to score off a tough angle less than 8 minutes into the second half. The sophomore took a pass from Ana Pavic, ran down the right side and sent one in that went between keeper Samantha Gray’s legs and into the net.
“I tried to shoot it hard and low to the ground and hope for the best because it was on a weird angle,” Rosado said.
Thirty seconds after the goal, Old Lyme’s Mya Johnson, spun and fired, but North Augur was right there for the save.
The senior bound for Boston College next fall made seven saves, five in the second half as Old Lyme put the pressure on.
“She’s an awesome keeper and she just keeps proving that,” Johnson said. “I was definitely surprised (Augur was right there). You kick a ball and don’t always look up. Most of the time, I get pretty lucky where it’s going in the back of the net. She came out of nowhere. It was a great save.”
Said Gleason: “Their goalie is very talented. You can’t slip a ball by her very easily. We were really scattered on our offensive end again and we need to do some building on that.”
It did look like the Wildcats had gotten the equalizer when Britney DeRoehn one-touched a Johnson pass into the next with 4:45 left. But the goal was disallowed because DeRoehn was offsides.
“The fabric of North Branford soccer is to defend and go on,” North Branford coach Pat Kozloski said. “Old Lyme is a heckuva team, but we stay with our defensive principles, we have athletes who can recover and we have Allie Augur.”
Old Lyme, the reigning Class S state champion outshot North Branford 13-7.
“We still have a lot of work to do. We defended like the game meant something, but on the offensive side, we need to keep it so we don’t have to do all that defending. We just gave them the ball. It’s difficult to defend for 80 minutes.”
—North Branford coach Pat Kozloski
Both teams have really beefed up its respective non-conference schedules to get ready for postseason play.
North Branford plays Law (Thursday), a SCC tournament finalist last year, and Mercy (Oct. 17), both on the road and Woodstock Academy (Oc. 6) at home. Old Lyme plays at Hand (Sept. 24), the defending SCC champion, Holy Cross (Oct. 6), the team the Wildcats beat in the Class S final, at Woodstock Academy (Oct. 13) and at Cheshire (Oct. 24).
North Branford 1, Old Lyme 0
Old Lyme (0-1-0) 0 0 — 0
N Branford (2-0-0) 0 1 — 1
Goals: North Branford: Lexi Rosado (from Ana Pavic), 47:33.
Shots: Old Lyme 13, North Branford 7