TWIST: No hometown discount in tournament finals

TWIST: No hometown discount in tournament finals



WALLINGFORD — One goal separated both the Wallingford Youth Soccer League’s U11 Wolves and U13 Wildcats from possible TWIST girls division championships as the event’s 32nd year wound down Monday morning on the fields of Choate Rosemary Hall.

With the coffee just perked and the bread still toasting at 8:45, the Wolves dropped a 2-1 decision to the Drop Kick Divas of Tolland County. The Wildcats were unable to compensate for some early difficulties and lost to Ole Select Orange of Fairfield 3-2 in a 10 o’clock start.

Both teams were coached by Steve Platt, who needed TWIST’s efficient golf cart brigade to get him from Field 5 to Field 7 so he could guide both sides. Each displayed the results of Platt’s fitness regimen to their benefit despite the outcomes.

“We did force the tempo,” he said. “The girls played with heart. We’ve played together on the town team for a long time, but we’re in a tournament with teams like this that have a lot of premier players and showed we can hang with anybody.”

The Wolves (3-2) also lost to the Divas (4-0-1) in the tourney opener Saturday by a 4-1 count. The Wildcats (3-2) previously fell to Ole Select, also in the first round by a goal.

The Wolves took a 1-0 lead in the first half when Kaitlin Casorla played a ball forward to streaking Kelsey Newman, who went the distance. Newman locked the defender away from the ball on her right shoulder and dribbled a shot past the keeper with her left foot.

The Divas stepped up their pressure late in the half, but the Wolves’ defenders — Alondra Lopez, Dylan Smith and Olivia Platt, among others — used effective spacing and quickness to protect keeper Emma Malone. Se-Hanna Mars knotted the score when she broke into the clear with about three minutes remaining in the half.

The Wolves controlled play in the second half. Smith made her free kicks count and sent the attack deep in the box but couldn’t regain the lead. Isabella Connelly displayed exceptional footwork to prolong possessions. On one of the few advances by the Divas early in the half, Malone used a well-directed goal pass to stir a counter.

“We had a good strategy against them,” Coach Platt said. “They were put together with a whole bunch of premier players, which is fine because we have a good team as well and I don’t want to take anything away from them. We played tough and left it all out on the field, which is all I can ask for.”

Sydney Cuticelli marked well in the midfield in helping deter any Diva breakouts.

The Wolves’ best second-half opportunity was created by exchanges between Shea Barron and Juliana Crispino resulting in a shot by Connelly that sailed high.

The Divas gained the upper hand with six minutes remaining. Maria Cayward sent a perfect cross from the right wing that Abigail Bajorek converted for the victory.

In the U13 encounter, Sara Portoff scored one goal and set up the other two for Ole Select. Sarina Kapoor had a goal and assist for the Wildcats.

Portoff’s cross to Courtney Glovin accounted for the first Ole goal 10 minutes in. Portoff gave the down-staters a 2-0 lead when she redirected a cross from Ashley Shaw. The Wildcats cut the halftime deficit to a goal when Grace Gagliardi settled Kapoor’s cross and beat the Ole keeper to the left side of the net.

Ole Select (2-1-1) restored the two-goal lead early in the second half on a Portoff cross that Shaw finished with a header. The Wallingford side made matters interesting with 16 minutes left when Madison Platt crossed to Kapoor. The Wildcats’ best chance to draw even came with three minutes left, but a 35-yard shot by Hayleigh Lagasse carried too high.

“I’m proud of the way both my teams represented,” Coach Platt said.

“We went to the finals and it’s not too often that you can do that.”





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