Trumbull, St. Joseph tie for FCIAC East girls soccer title

St. Joseph’s Maddie Fried,competes with Trumbull’s Elizabeth Foley during high school soccer action at St. Joseph.

St. Joseph’s Maddie Fried,competes with Trumbull’s Elizabeth Foley during high school soccer action at St. Joseph.

Ned Gerard / Hearst Connecticut Media

TRUMBULL — The Trumbull girls’ soccer team opened the 2020 season with a win against an opponent it had not managed to beat since 2012, next door neighbor St. Joseph.

The cross-town rivals went head to head three times in the regular season and each game ended with a score of 2-1. St. Joseph took the second and third meetings, but it was Thursday’s fourth and final matchup that carried the most weight.

Trumbull and St. Joseph took their rivalry to a championship stage, where the teams battled for 100 minutes to a 1-1 draw and were named Co-FCIAC East champions.

“We are happy with the result but at the same time a little bit down,” Trumbull coach Rich Sutherland said. “We didn’t win it win it, but in the end, I think that was probably a fair result. St. Joe’s is a very good team that put on a lot of pressure on us, and all the games we’ve played this season have been very close.”

For Trumbull, it was the first championship game that any member of the roster had experienced after a four-year drought from any finals’ appearances.

Contrarily, St. Joseph rostered experienced players who appeared in two FCIAC finals (2017, 2019) and won the 2017 Class L state championship.

“All credit to Rich (Sutherland), he had his team ready to play,” St. Joseph coach Jack Nogueira said. “Trumbull is always a hard opponent for us because of the rivalry. We are going home with our heads held high.”

St. Joseph controlled most of the possession throughout the game and outshot a resilient Trumbull team 15-1.

With 15:14 left in the first half, St. Joseph’s Mary Lundregan connected with senior Anastasia Kydes in front of the goal for an easy finish and a 1-0 lead for the Cadets.

“I didn’t see the goal actually, I was on the floor when the goal happened, but I definitely heard the cheering,” St. Joseph captain and All-American Maddie Fried said.

Trumbull answered back in the second half with 11:30 remaining on a perfect cross from Sophia Lowenberg to freshly subbed in senior Erin Melia, who found the net.

“It was insane,” Melia said. “We hadn’t beaten them in eight years until earlier this season so with the rivalry and it being my final game as a senior, to tie up the game was a crazy moment.”

Neither team pushed anything across for the remainder of regulation and after a scoreless overtime, the teams were named co-champions.

“It is really bittersweet because I have had the best four years of my life here, and now I have to say goodbye,” Fried said. “I’ve had the best memories and I wouldn’t replace them for anything. I would never go back and change anything, not even today’s game because we did play our best. Even though we only came out with a tie, we showed up and played until the end.”

Fried highlighted a group of eight St. Joseph seniors, who started and finished their careers as champions.

“The whole senior group came in and won an FCIAC championship when they were freshman,” Nogueira said. “They won a state championship. We couldn’t compete for those two this year so we did the best we could.”

The 11 Trumbull seniors will also go out on top, having claimed their first championship together.

“We had quite a big senior group,” Sutherland said. “They’ve all done what we asked for whether they were playing or benched supporting from the side. It was a fun group and they kept pushing each other along, they came together, and they certainly deserve this.”