TORRINGTON >> Holy Cross took the last wave of a momentum-filled girls soccer game to a 5-3 win at Torrington High School’s Robert H. Frost Sports Complex Monday night.
The Crusaders (10-6) play four freshman alongside just two seniors.
Torrington (8-7-1) is racked with injuries at key positions. Center midfielder Olivia Morrison; defender Kendra Covington; and goalkeeper Taylor Howe are out with serious injuries.
“At full strength, it’s an even match,” said Torrington coach Mario Longobucco. “With our injuries, they have an edge. We’ll see what we can come up with.”
The edge showed up last Wednesday at Holy Cross in a 3-1 win over the stricken Raiders.
“We went 7-2-1 with just eight goals-against when we were healthy,” said Longobucco. “Since the injuries began, we’re 1-5 with 20 goals-against.”
Monday, Holy Cross took charge right away.
“In the first 10 minutes, we had three or four opportunities. Then it evened out,” said Holy Cross coach Mike Mentone.
The Crusaders took their first corner kick (of seven for the half) five minutes into the game. Senior Keili Sullivan kicked it into the box; a Torrington defender kicked it over the net in the melee; then, with the ball coming in from the other corner, Caitlin Villano hit the right post.
Torrington got its first shot 12 minutes into the game. Cross still dominated possession and chances.
Raider Emily Manchester cleared a ball off the Torrington goal line in the 20th minute.
Torrington took its only corner kick of the half five minutes later, with twice as many green shirts as white in the box.
Throughout, the Holy Cross midfield won the majority of 50/50 balls.
Eight minutes from the end of the half, it paid off. Crusader Jordan Gilmore crossed a ball through defenders and Torrington goalkeeper Kasey Roscello (6 saves) from the right side. Claire Buckley waited by the far post to shunt it in.
Two minutes from the half, Crusader sophomore Sarah Innes scored on a similar play. Tess Carella took a shot. Innes put it in from the left post, 2-0.
“I told them, the next goal was the important one, whether it was ours or theirs,” said Mentone.
At the half, Coach Longobucco turned defensive midfielder Taylor Petritto into an attacking midfielder.
“What did we have to lose?” he said.
For the first eight minutes, that tipped the balance for Torrington.
“They pushed more. They got the second part of 50/50 balls (after the initial contact),” said Coach Mentone.
Two minutes into the half, Paige Middleton signalled the change with a hard shot to the right post, forcing a dive from Cross freshman keeper Michelina Gagliardi (5 saves), then another, just wide two minutes later.
Five minutes into the half, Torrington’s scoring machine slipped into gear.
“They scored three goals in three minutes,” said Mentone.
Middleton came down the middle and passed to freshman Alexis Tyrrell on her right. Tyrrell kicked it in from 15 yards out.
Raider pressure was set on full power.
Middleton came close again in the sixth.
In the seventh, Pestritto sailed a free kick from the top of the box into the net, 2-2.
A minute later, Middleton wheeled into the box, deked past a defender and dumped off to Tyrrell on her way down with a bad ankle. Tyrrell got her second goal of the game, from the left post.
Then the gas ran out.
“I couldn’t go to the bench; I’ve got nobody left,” said Longobucco.
Holy Cross did.
The Crusader scoring machine took over for the final momentum shift: freshman Julia Sheetz picked off a rebound from a Caitlin Villano shot in the 13th minute for the tie, 3-3; Gilmore kicked back to Tess Carella to go ahead, 4-3, in the 20th; then a final 20-yard shot from Claire Buckley for the insurance goal in the 26th minute.
Pairings for the NVL Tournament, starting Saturday, come out later in the week. At the moment, it looks like Torrington and Holy Cross for a third go.
Holy Cross 5, Torrington 3
At Torrington High School
Holy Cross 2 3-5
Torrington 0 3-3
Goals: HC-Claire Buckley 2; Sarah Innes; Julia Sheetz; Tess Carella. T-Alexis Tyrrell 2; Taylor Pestritto. Assists: HC-Jordan Gilmore 2; Carella 2; Caitlin Villano. Shots: 19-18 Torrington. Saves: HC-Michelina Gagliardi 5; Kasey Roscello 6.
Records: Holy Cross 10-6; Torrington 8-7-1.