WALLINGFORD — Smiles were hard to find in the aftermath of the girls soccer game to determine Wallingford bragging rights.
Both Lyman Hall and Sheehan went the way the wind went. The Trojans had the better of play in the first half and the Titans executed their possession game effectively in the second.
But the nets remained empty for all 80 minutes Saturday night as the teams settled for a 0-0 draw in the season’s second installment of the SCC Housatonic Division rivalry at John J. Riccitelli Field.
Sheehan (4-6-2, 1-5-1 SCC Housy) had more at stake with a Class M tournament bid pending with two more wins. Lyman Hall (1-9-1, 0-5-1) has made the road considerably more difficult, which may have been reason for a few Trojan grins.
“I could see Lyman Hall. I could see by the girls’ faces that they were happy with the tie,” Sheehan coach Rob Huelsman said. “In the first match we played (3-1 Sheehan win at Lyman Hall Sept. 25) they scored first and that lit us up. We needed to get a little eye-opener and we ended up scoring three. But that’s how it is. Game to game it changes. We’ll build a little character and get the girls prepared for the last four games.”
LH coach Charlie Liu has had to deal with an inordinate amount of injuries — there won’t be any tournament this year — but tying brought him no particular satisfaction.
“I think we had the better of this game and we should have taken it,” he said. “Which ever team made a mistake was going to cost them the game. We got lucky a couple times. They hit the goal post. We had a breakaway. It is what it is. We’ll take the tie.”
The goal post episode — the game’s best offensive sequence — came in the 62nd minute.
A shot by Deanna Funaro struck the crossbar. A rebound deflected past the goal and the resulting corner kick did not produce a chance. Nikki Kern had several opportunities but her shots got away from her.
“I wish I could have gotten it to my feet. I wasn’t on my game,” she said. “They had a good defense “I wish I could have gotten it to the feet. I wasn’t on my game. They had a good defense — four really tall backs.”
Lyman Hall, with the brisk northerly wind at its back, dominated play in the first half.
McKenzie Wall, who left the game with a hip injury 15 minutes later, had an early look but fired wide right.
Mallory Struble carved out some space along the Sheehan end line in the 22nd minute but there was no answer at the end of her cross. Two minutes later, she placed a cross in front of Kaitlyn Lindberg but her shot dribbled left of the net.
Late in the half, another ball rolled across the box in front of Sheehan keeper Joelle MarkAnthony (2 saves), but once again there was no one to finish.
Sheehan’s best opportunity of the first half came off a corner kick in the 10th minute. Amy Caplan carried toward the left post but Trojans defender Krista Peterson stuffed her directly in front of senior keeper Melissa Carrubba (4 saves).
Carrubba made three stressful saves in the game’s latter stages.
“She does not get the recognition that she should,” Liu said. “This year especially she’s worked extremely hard. She had a goalkeeper’s coach and worked the entire year to be what she is. ... Coaches see how many goals go in and they don’t see how many quality shots she stops.”
Sophomore back Laura Bennett, given a starting role because of injuries, was handed the responsibility of marking Sheehan’s leading scorer Ania Spina, and Spina got few touches in her offensive zone.
“She made the adjustment and we had her mark one of their top players,” Liu said. “She did a beautiful job.”
Perhaps Bennett’s was one of the smiles Huelsman saw.
“I’m really proud of the team for stepping up because we played a lot better in this game than any other game,” she said. “I feel like a tie was good for us because it frustrated Sheehan. We deserved to win but a tie was a good thing.”
Sheehan 3, Lyman Hall 0: Dan Taglianetti scored one goal and assisted on another as the Titans qualified for the Class M tournament with a convincing win in the nightcap of the Riccitelli Field doubleheader.
Sheehan (5-3-3, 2-3-1 SCC Housy) took a 1-0 lead in the 19th minute when Johnny Murray converted off a pass from Taglianetti. The Trojans’ best chance in the first half came four minutes later when a header by Alex Burr popped wide left.
Taglianetti put a crimp in the Trojans’ comeback plans when he scored in the 49th minute. Andrew Caplan virtually ended them three minutes later when he pounded a through ball from Esteban Santacruz into the upper right corner.
The Trojans’ best bid to avoid the shutout came with 17 minutes left when Antonio Jandreau lofted a ball in the box that Dylan Hogan headed but keeper John Oliveira made the save. Lyman Hall (6-5-1, 1-5-1) outshot the Titans 18-12 and earned nine of the game’s 11 corner kicks.