TRUMBULL — In a battle of two of the FCIAC’s premier girls’ soccer squads, St. Joseph left no lingering doubt they aren’t prepared to relinquish their grip as the top team any time soon.
The Cadets scored three times in the first half en route to a 4-1 victory over Fairfield Warde to improve to 12-0-1.
“Yeah, I mean for us it was a big game,” St. Joseph head coach Jack Nogueria said. “(The girls) are doing a good job. And they’ve been very focused and determined.”
The Cadets (the No. 1 FCIAC team) displayed their potent offense early and often. St. Joes took a 1-0 lead just 16 minutes into the contest as Samantha Grasso found an open net. Midway through the contest, teammate Lindsey Savko booted a beautiful high ball into the upper left net to give her team a 2-0 lead.
“We were fully aware of what kind of offensive firepower they had,” Warde head coach Tom Cunningham said. “We went in with game plan of…put the pressure on them. I think we struggled in the back a little bit at times. Again, they have a lot of firepower, a lot of speed in the up top, which you saw did some damage against us.”
The Cadets added a third goal before the half as Jenna Bike took a pass from Grasso, and made a move to get a clean shot off.
“To be honest, I thought it was going to be a lot tougher for us today than it evolved,” Nogueira said. “Offensively we just clicked a lot better than in previous games.”
The final 40 minutes Warde matched up with the Cadets better and were able to get more of an offense going. The Mustangs, which dropped to 8-3-1 on the season, had a few opportunities early in the contest, but couldn’t convert.
“Early on, yes we let a couple goals in early. Second half you saw some players really working hard and trying to create,” Cunningham said.
The Cadets added their final goal of the afternoon as Bike netted her second. Warde’s offense found the net in the 60th minute as Jenn Maldonado took a pass from Nell Carpenter and booted in it to make it 4-1.
Despite the loss, Cunningham was pleased with his keepers Katie Brennan and Carley Strachan who each played a half. Brennan finished with three saves, while Strachan added four.
As of Tuesday, Warde featured four tough remaining games to finish off the regular season.
“We’re facing eight out of the top nine (teams in the FCIAC) in my opinion right now,” Cunningham said. “We’re seeing what we can do, and we’ll be battle tested for the state tournament and hopefully the FCIAC tournament.”