Girls soccer: Savko's hat trick leads St. Joseph

St. Joseph's Lindsey Savko scored three goals in the quarterfinal win over Pomperaug. — Bill Bloxsom photo
St. Joseph's Lindsey Savko scored three goals in the quarterfinal win over Pomperaug. — Bill Bloxsom photo

Jess Mazo gave St. Joseph a 1-0 lead in the first minute of the second half, and Lindsey Savko tallied the next three, to lead the No. 6 Cadets to a 4-0 girls soccer victory over No. 6 Pomperaug High from Southbury in the quarterfinal round of the Class L state tournament on Monday.

Coach Jack Nogueria’s Cadets (16-2-1) will play No. 7 Daniel Hand of Madison (12-1-3) in Wednesday’s state semifinal at Willow Brook Park in New Britain at 7 p.m.

“I think we played a little bit better in the second half,” Nogueria said. “I thought the first half, they (Pomperaug’s defense) did a good job. Once Jess scored the first goal, where she beat two or three people, it got our confidence up.”

Mazo’s spectacular run only twenty seconds into the second half didn’t undo a strong effort in the first forty minutes by the Panthers (14-3-1).

Pomperaug from the South-West Conference, where they lost to Joel Barlow in the second round of the playoffs, had three strong challenges in the first ten minutes.

Anna Carnes, Jamie Collimore, Justine Troiano and Erin Mulhall were particularly effective, but Cadet keeper Veronica O’Rourke and the backline of Christina DiCesare, Tory Bike, Alexis Mason and Hailey Vechiarelli continued to turn them back

Cadet midfielders Sophia Smith, Maia Moscova, Miranda Quint, Julia DiCesare and Mazo were in top form, getting to first and second balls and setting the ball to the wings.

This allowed Savko all the opportunities she needed to garner the hat trick.

“Those were great balls by Miranda, Jess — we’ve been playing together since I was ten. We all work well together,” said Savko, who made it 2-0 off a well-placed corner from Mason. “This is our last home game, and we had the eye of the Tiger tonight. For our last home game, I felt that I left it all out on the field. I wanted to end strong.”

Savko took the score to 3-0 off a Cadet free kick in the 57th minute.

Quint then sent a perfect through ball to Savko, who waited for Pomperaug keeper Elyssa Kipperman to commit, then hit her final net-finder in the match with 17:41 remaining.

Nogueria had scouted Pomperaug.

“They like to play to feet, so we tried to come out here and condense the field, high pressure,” he said. “We tried to make the game a little bit hectic and not let them calm the ball down and play, which worked for us.

“They play a deep sweeper. We left Lindsey with her, because we felt Lindsey could outrun her and get the balls and be dangerous, which she was in the second half.”

Daniel Hand is next.

“Hand’s going to be another tough game for us,” Nogueria said. “We’ll regroup Tuesday, get a little rest, and go from there.”