MILFORD —Foran’s Colleen Ardolino had earned a breather in the Lions’ game with Hamden on Tuesday.
A freshman combo outside midfielder-forward, Ardolino had played the wing hard for 35 minutes and was subbed out in the 36th minute. Or was she? One official waved her off; another told her to stay.
Less than two minutes later, Ardolino took possession of the ball on the left wing, dribbled through and then around a quartet of defenders before she eventually deposited a shot past Paige Campbell. Ardolino then took a seat.
Foran led 2-0 in this meeting between rising SCC programs that brought identical 3-2-1 records into the game.
Another frosh, Zoe Fallon had given coach Casey Blake’s Lions a 1-0 lead in the 14th minute.
Ardolino starts; Fallon comes off the bench.
“We are lucky to have players that we can interchange,” Blake said. “Everyone understands what they need to do and they work hard with whatever minutes they get.”
No one was working harder than Hamden’s Tiatianna Jones. With strong ball control, Jones can turn on the afterburners and threaten to score on each possession.
“We didn’t want her to dictate the game,” Blake said of Jones and her seven goals in six outings. “She is good with the ball and has a lot of speed.”
Foran marked her as tight as possible, and then looked to recover with backliners Sara Portoff, Maxine Lynch, Lauren Ardolino and Courtney Musante.
Fallon’s goal fell on the side of luck, but in the end it was a product of a great deal of effort. In the previous two minutes, Fallon had won a second ball and then challenged hard to takeaway a goal kick. Those hustle plays led to a pair of scoring opportunities. So, when Portoff hit a cross into the box, it was Fallon on the spot to knock it in off a deflection with 13:12 to play in the opening half.
Hamden took a goal back in the 57th minute.
The Green Dragons’ Olivia Maxwell, a creative distributor of the ball, was on the receiving end of a Jones’ pass and slid the it past Foran keeper Emily Wheaton.
“The girls kept going even when they were down two, including an ugly goal,” Hamden coach Ken Boucher said. “I think we were in control for most of the game. This team is fighting through every game and it will come.”
Hamden controlled the next 15 minutes by getting to all, and winning most 50-50 balls. Most of them came off goal kicks by Wheaton, who saved three shots during this stretch including a point-blank blast at the post by Sonia Ferri.
The Lions’ Musante stopped a pair of forays in the 75th minute, and Foran cleared its back 30.
Hamden’s Mairead Ryan and Foran’s Georgia Malesky were impressive in the midfield.
Foran had wins against Lyman Hall (3-0), East Haven (1-0) and North Haven (3-1). It had lost to Law (2-1), Guilford (2-0) and tied Mercy (0-0).
Hamden drew with Branford (4-4), defeated Wilbur Cross (8-3), Sacred Heart Academy (3-2) and Career/Hillhouse (8-0). Its loses were to Amity (5-3) and Law (2-0).
PLAYER OF GAME
Ardolino was a pain in the neck all game from her outside midfielder-forward position. A freshman, Ardolino showed ability to create space for her shot. She scored what proved to be the decisive goal for the Lions.
“We are lucky to have players that we can interchange,” Foran coach Casey Blake said. “Everyone understands what they need to do and they work hard with whatever minutes they get.”
FORAN 2, HAMDEN 1
HAMDEN 0 1 — 1
FORAN 2 0 — 2
Scoring: F — Goals: Zoe Fallon, Colleen Ardolino. H — Goals: Olivia Maxwell. H —Assists: Tiatianna Jones. Saves: F— Emily Wheaton (7 saves); H — Paige Campbell (7 saves). Shots: F — 13. H — 10. Records: H 3-3-1; F 4-2-1.