Eagles go out fighting in match with Shelton

Caroline Crosley had a pair of brilliant set pieces to provide the offense, but coach Daniel Uhrlass’ 18th-seeded Trumbull High girls soccer team lost to 15th-seeded Shelton High, 5-2, in a Class LL state tournament first round game on Nov. 4

Kaleigh Panek and Samantha Hartmayer scored two goal each for the Gaelettes (11-5-3), who will play at No. 2 Middletown High (13-2-1) on Nov. 6, at 2 p.m.

Crosley assisted on a Kerrigan Loughman’s goal to bring the score to 2-1 and then scored with a bender from 30 yards out to close the gap to 3-2 before Shelton extended its lead.

We played with a lot of heart,” Trumbull coach Daniel Uhrlass said. “We came back twice. I think Shelton was very good — they absolutely deserve the win.

“We had trouble with their athleticism down the middle... We did what we could. But they were continually powerful winning balls and going right at us.”

“I’m going to miss these seniors so much. I’ve known most of them since sixth grade. As a team we missed Kendall Szulimowski, who was injured last week...I’m really going to miss all of them.”

Shelton took leads of 2-0 and 3-1 only to see Trumbull respond.

“They’re very resilient,” Shelton coach Marvin Miller said of Trumbull (8-7-2). “They fight for everything. It was a struggle. We’ve played a lot of FCIAC teams through the tournaments, and one thing’s for sure, they fight for every minute of the game.”

After Shelton scored in the 16th and 21st minute, Crosley had a free kick from 25 yards out to the left of Gaelette keeper Elysia St. George.

The senior caught St. George playing off the line and lifted the ball her head. Loughman positioned a defender at her hip and got behind her to tip the ball into the open net with 5:20 remaining in the first half to make it 2-1.

The Eagles owned the final five minutes of the half, as Loughman, Lily Clarke, Ashley Storino and Dani McGillicuddy pressed for the equalizer.

Shelton had one last chance as the clock counted down to zero, but Devin Cuevas came over to take Hartmayer off the ball and the shot carried wide of the net.

Cuevas, Caroline Crosley, Kyriaki Marinos, Kristen Pagliaro, Alex Galletti protected the goal area.

Jill Presser, Amelia Crosley, Rebecca Crosley, Aileen Maloney, Meghan Ahearn, Julie Keckler were tasked with slowing the Shelton attack from the midfield.

Shelton staked itself to a 3-1 advantage on a beauty of a goal by Panek, who carved out space in the box and placed the shot high over keeper Aleanna Paz’ right shoulder in the 14th minute of the second half.

Caroline Crosley then turned the game upside down only 36 seconds later. The senior launched a laser off a free kick from 30 yards out to the right of the goal and it settled under the crossbar and into the net.

Shelton almost got the tally back on Hartmayer’s bouncer, but Paz (five saves) tipped the ball off the crossbar and the Gaelettes had to settle for a corner, which was cleared.

Trumbull had a chance to tie the match in the 58th minute when Keckler made a run.

Shelton’s Carly Shomsky provided a defensive gem, as the senior stopper ran stride for stride with Keckler and made it difficult for her to get full motion on a shot from five yards out. St. George made the save by the near post.

Hartmayer took a quick counter pass from Alexis Zoppi (three assists) and beat Trumbull goalie Paz with 15:26 remaining to put the Gaelettes up 4-2.

“We’ve been working really hard on our ability to attack through the center with the ball on our feet,” Miller said. “We struggled with that off and on all season, and I think the last couple weeks we’ve really started to show that we could do that. You saw that today.”

Devin Cuevas, Lily Clarke, Kendall Szulimowski, Dani McGillicuddy, Kerrigan Loughman, Aileen Maloney, Caroline Crosley, Tiffany Monteiro, Aleanna Paz, Haley Fuimara and Alex Galletti were rostered seniors for the Eagles.