SHELTON — Marvin Miller often reminds the his Shelton girls soccer players to trust the system that helped provide 14 wins and the No. 2 seed in the Southern Connecticut Conference tournament.
Another reminder came at halftime Tuesday night when the Gaels began to press for a goal late in the first half.
“One of things we tell the kids is to trust the system and trust the game that got us here,” said Miller, the longtime head coach. “Believe in it and stay committed to it.”
No. 2 seed Shelton stayed committed and that goal finally came, off the foot of Mackenzie Joyce. The Gaels’ defense did the rest, shutting out third-seeded Amity 1-0 at Finn Stadium in the tournament semifinals.
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“It gets more nerve-wracking than frustrating because you know these are the shots that count toward the end when the clock is running,” Joyce said. “You have to stay composed and focused.”
While Shelton had its share of shot attempts (15), the Gaels’ defense held Amity to just one, and not on net.
“We were on our heels the whole night,” Amity coach Owen Quigley said. “We didn’t get our foot on the ball. We weren’t allowed to get a foot on the ball. Sometimes you just tip your hat. The better team won tonight.”
No. 2 seed Shelton (16-1-1) will face top seed Mercy (16-1-1) in Thursday’s final at 5:30 p.m. at West Haven High. Shelton and Mercy split during the regular season, both winning 2-0 at home.
“We’re coming for them. They believe they are the better team. I believe we dominated that game (the 2-0 loss),” Joyce said. “We are going to take it to them and show how good we are.”
Said Miller: “This is the way it should be , the best two sides should play and we will solve it on the field.”
Joyce’s goal came in the 65th minute. The senior spun left and shot. The ball deflected off the crossbar on a 90-degree angle right down on the goal line. The linesman called the goal good.
“The positioning was perfect, the ball she (Zoe Rogers) gave me was perfect. It was all her,” Joyce said. “It went from the (crossbar) down across the white line.”
Shelton shut out Amity (13-4-1) for the second straight time. The Gaels won earlier this month 3-0, a game played in the rain at Amity High.
“We were beaten well tonight,” Quigley said. “They had a good game plan and took us out of our game plan. I have no qualms, none.”