Girls soccer: Trumbull Eagles upend Darien in Class LL

Trumbull keeper Avery Rice stops Darien's Emma Lesko in first half. — Darien Athletic Foundation photo
Trumbull keeper Avery Rice stops Darien's Emma Lesko in first half. — Darien Athletic Foundation photo

The Trumbull High Eagles rolled up their collective sleeves and were rewarded with a 3-0 victory over Darien High in the first round of the CIAC Class LL girls soccer state tournament on Wednesday.

Amelia Crosby scored off a pass from Jillian Presser in the 30th minute to give coach Daniel Uhrlass’ Eagles a 1-0 lead.

Brady-Ayn Lynch headed in a well-place corner chance from Skylar Jorge, who took a couple of extra seconds to roll up her socks to the chagrin of Darien faithful, to increase the advantage to 2-0 six minutes into the second half.

Julia Jager stole a clearing attempt by coach Leigh Parsons' 14th-seeded Blue Wave (9-4-4) and fed Meghan Ahearn for the third tally at 23:23 of the second session.

“We’re proud of the girls for how flexible they are because we change up formation often,” Uhrlass said of his 9-6-2 squad. “We switched up the formation at halftime, which worked out very well. We put even more pressure on Darien and the girls showed an increasing hunger.

“In the first half Darien was slightly more aggressive team. If we didn’t match their aggressiveness we were going to be in trouble, but the girls really stepped up.”

Avery Rice got the win in goal, knocking away a group of scoring attempts from Emma Lesko, Katie Ramsay and Laura Murphy.

“Avery is just a freshman keeper,” Uhrlass said. “These are big minutes for a freshman in a game like this. We’re proud of her.”

Rice stopped Darien from taking the lead when she got two hands on Murphy’s shot from distance, then gathered it in with Lesko waiting on the doorstep.

Rice’s signature save came in the 14th minute.

Lesko looked to chip in a shot from just inside the box. Rice adjusted well to the slow floater and used her left hand to knock it away before it could settle in the upper right corner of the net.

Trumbull’s backline, led by Kristen Pagliaro, Jessica Esposito, Lynch and Lauren Napolitano, never allowed Darien a good look, playing through-balls, passes over the tops and combination passes perfectly.

“Brady and Kristen are the two center backs with Eva (Solano) right in front of them. They were very strong today — decisive, committed, making plays. They did a great job.”

Solano and Daniella Milovanov won second-touch chances in their area.

Presser, Rebecca Crosley and Meghan Lesko were relentless in the midfield.

Uhrlass said, “We played well, but lost 1-0 (to Darien in the regular season), so it was good to come out on top. Now we have Ridgefield. We had two hard games with them, once in the regular season, once in FCIACs. We hope for better fortunes on Friday.”

Trumbull will visit the third-seeded Tigers (15-2) at 2 p.m.