FAIRFIELD — Weston girls soccer coach Gustavo Reaes had one last message for his players coming out of Saturday’s halftime speech.
“You aren’t the underdogs!” Reaes said twice.
Weston may have been the underdog seed-wise in this South-West Conference South Division final, but the Trojans didn’t play like it in the second half.
Freshman Rian Goertz scored twice in the second half and Weston’s defense did the rest as the No. 3 seed Trojans knocked off top seed and previously undefeated Notre Dame-Fairfield 2-0 on the road to claim the title.
“I know it’s really a big deal for the seniors and stuff because they haven’t won one,” Goertz said. “This was the game we really wanted to win all year.”
It was the first league tournament title of any kind in the sport for the Trojans (11-1). Normally, there is just one league championship, but teams had to stay in their own regions even for the postseason due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So the SWC held a South and a North Division tournament.
The only time Weston has reached the SWC tournament final was in 1995, the league’s first year of existence.
“This year, with all of the things gong on with COVID and all the problems society is facing, for our girls to have the opportunity to be on the field right now playing soccer is phenomenal,” Reaes said. “We are very thankful to have finished the season on the last possible day. To end with a W is just icing on the cake.”
The Lancers (10-1) came up short in a league tournament final for the second straight year and are still searching for their first league title.
“It’s always hard to break through. You have to be in these games long enough to learn how to win and learn how to approach it,” Notre Dame coach Wayne Mones said.
— Joe Morelli (@nhrJoeMorelli) November 14, 2020
Goertz made her way into the starting lineup after Julia Rosenberg went down with a season-ending injury, according to Reaes. Goertz scored her first goal 8 minutes into the second half after an initial Trojans shot attempt was deflected by a defender to her.
Goertz was on the far post and knocked it in. Her second goal came 8 minutes later. She was left all alone in the middle of the box and knocked it past Notre Dame goalkeeper Veronica Rrapi.
Mones noted that although Notre Dame won the regular-season meeting between the two teams 4-1, Notre Dame was outshot 22-6.
“But we countered and made our shots count,” Mones said. “Overall, they are an experienced team. They added an element of physicality (on Saturday). They were beating us to balls.”
Weston was able to thwart any scoring opportunities Notre Dame could muster — and there weren’t many. The Trojans rotated defenders on star forward Toni Domingos throughout the game.
“We rotated players on her and tried to man-mark her when we lost possession,” Reaes said. “To shut out a powerful team like Notre Dame at home in the last game of the season speaks volumes about the attitude of the team.”
Domingos departs Notre Dame as the school’s all-time leader with 106 goals. She will play at the University of Maryland next season.
“It meant the world. I’m really going to miss this field and these girls, but I am excited for the next chapter in my life. It’s sad this one had to end,” Domingos said.
Said Mones: “We’ve been on the doorstep the last four years and that’s because of Toni She not only brought scoring and skill, but also the passion and willingness to want to win. It was a great experience for our five freshmen. … As I have said before, in 42 years of coaching. I’ve never seen that much of a pure scorer.”