TORRINGTON >> St. Paul freshman Alexsandra Milardo broke up a physical girls soccer standoff at Torrington High School 15 minutes into the second half in a 1-0 Falcons (1-0) win over the Red Raiders (1-1) Thursday evening.
In a pose that seemed appropriate after the 80-minue on-field battle, junior Emily Wilcox sat icing her toes at the end of the game, recalling her part in St. Paul’s season-opening win.
“We brought the ball in, it deflected off someone, the goalie came out and I passed it to Alexsandra,” she said, explaining that her toes were bent back later in the game.
Wilcox will have her foot checked for fractures. The Raiders will re-live the moment she described – deflection 15 yards to the left of the goal, Taylor Howe bears down on Wilcox, the chip to Milardo in front of the goal, a sure boot to the back of the net.
“I thought we out-played them. We just couldn’t put enough balls on the frame. We out-shot them 19-8,” said Torrington coach Mario Longobucco..
St. Paul goalkeeper Mary Ranagan stopped 10 of the shots, the rest sailed wide or high, none from anywhere near the chip shot range Milardo found.
In fact, for most of the game, short of a shot count, the teams seemed to play dead even.
Certainly that was true of a first half which featured just nine total shots (5-4 Torrington).
The Raiders are an experienced group who start four seniors and a sophomore. The rest are juniors
St. Paul’s starters match that with an experienced team featuring two seniors, two sophomores and a freshman, the rest juniors.
In a game of organized probes up and down the field, the Falcons got the first shot off with nine minutes already gone off the clock.
The Raiders broke into the offensive game two minutes later, but it was also the first sign of icy shooting.
Torrington got a restart at midfield, broke down to the top of the keeper’s box, then lofted a shot well over the net.
More often, good defenses on both sides prevented the shots – a Torrington defensive clear inside the penalty box in the 12th minute, a St. Paul stop inside the keeper’s box in the 18th; then five minutes of great Torrington possession with nothing to show for it until Falcon goalie Ranagan fielded a direct kick from the side of the box in the 27th minute.
“(Ranagan) is a four-year starter. She gives us great leadership,” said St. Paul coach Flavio Pereira.
With great efforts pouring off both sides, Shakespeare could have had the first-half scoring summary: Much ado about nothing.
Intensity picked up in the second half.
Two minutes in, Torrington midfielder Olivia Roberge came off the field with blood streaming down her cheek from a collision.
Raider forward Paige Middleton got off a good shot from the right wing in the sixth, fielded by Ranagan.
Eight minutes later, a pair of young Falcons from Burlington put a one-goal cap on the game.
The Red Raiders created more chances – a long carry up the left side in the 22nd minute; an open shot for senior Aunchlee Reilly in the 23rd; a chip over Ranagan’s head in the 34th.
The Falcon defense met the charge up the sideline; Ranagan fielded Reilly’s shot; none of the Raiders ranged behind Ranagan for the chip that might have sent the game to overtime.
“This game gives us confidence,” said St. Paul coach Pereira.
The Raiders built theirs Wednesday with a season-opening 5-1 win at Ansonia.
The Falcons host Capital Prep Monday; Torrington goes to Seymour next Wednesday.
St. Paul Catholic 1, Torrington 0
At Torrington High School
St. Paul 0 1-1
Torrington 0 0-0
Goal: SP-Alexsandra Milardo. Assist: SP-Emily Wilcox. Shots: 19-8 Torrington. Saves: SP-Mary Ranagan 10. T-Taylor Howe 3.
Records: St. Paul 1-0; Torrington 1-1.