WILTON — For Simsbury, a long bus ride felt shorter on the way home.
Continuing their string of road upsets, the 19th-seeded Trojans defeated 11th seed Wilton 1-0 in a Class LL girls soccer state quarterfinal game Friday at Kristine Lilly Field.
Simsbury will look to continue its unexpected tourney run in Monday’s semifinal against reigning Class LL champ Ridgefield.
“We played terrible in our last two regular-season games, had a meeting with the team, and since then everything is clicking for us,” said Simsbury’s first-year head coach Steve Jarvis. “The light bulb went on as we entered the playoffs, as the team has bought into what we’ve asked them to do all season; we’re hitting our stride at the right time.”
The game’s only goal came off the game’s only corner kick with 10:54 remaining. Senior Sidney Palinkas lofted the corner kick toward the far post where it found the head of Kathryn Rutledge. Rutledge angled her head and tucked her shot into the corner of the Wilton net.
Simsbury went on the attack from the opening kickoff, but the young Wilton back line — led by Junior Oliva Gladstein — held firm.
Despite back-and-forth play, neither team was able to break into the box or mount a sustained threat. Both teams were coming off penalty kick wins in the previous games, although it seemed the Trojans had a little more energy in their tank.
“We didn’t come out and play our game today; no one stepped up and we didn’t show that will to get the job done,” said Wilton head coach Renato Topalli.
“Give Simsbury the credit; they didn’t let us play our game,” added Topalli, whose team ends the season with a 12-4-3 record. “Simsbury came out and played the way I expected them to and they were able to make good on their corner kick.”
Wilton upped its offensive play after going down 1-0 and had a long direct kick with 6:40 left. But no one was able to make a play on Gladstein’s delivery and the ball went out of bounds.
SIMSBURY 1, WILTON 0
SIMSBURY 0 1 — 1
WILTON 0 0 — 0
Goals: Simsbury: Kathryn Rutledge (Sidney Palinkas assist), 69:06. Shots: Simsbury 8, Wilton 7.