St. Joseph wins battle of soccer unbeatens

Marissa Grasso broke a scoreless deadlock with a goal in the 48th minute to carry the St. Joseph High girls soccer team to a 1-0 victory over host Fairfield Warde at Tetreau-Davis Field in Fairfield on Saturday.

“A lot of people put a lot of stock in this game,” St. Joseph head coach Jack Nogueria said after his team improved to 13-0. “My girls were wired...I thought we played well.”

The decisive play came with Maia Moscova looking to place the ball over the top to Grasso. The ball kicked off to Jenna Bike before it found its way back to Graso, who sliced a shot past Warde keeper Mollie Kerrigan into the right corner of the net at the 33:12 mark.

“We had a bunch of chances in the first half, but didn’t finish,” said the Bryant University bound Grasso. I’m very happy with the way our team is healthy (with the return of Samantha Lello) at center-back.”

Warde, 12-0-1 coming in off a 2-1 win over rival Fairfield Ludlowe and St. Joseph made every possession difficult to earn and harder to maintain.

“Two quality opponents and I thought we did a good job (in possession) at the midfield,” Warde head coach Tom Cunningham said. “They (St. Joseph) is very lethal going forward with their forwards and midfielders.”

Cadet keeper Veronica O’Rourke was challenged twice in the later stages of the game, and the sophomore came up with big stops on both occasions.

“Our goalkeeper is the player of the match,” Nogueria said of O’Rourke. “My worry (coming in) was on the back line (against Warde’s dangerous attack) and thought the back line played well. Veronica was amazing.”

With 13:19 remaining, O’Rourke used both hands to punch out Alexa Montani’s direct shot. Five minutes earlier shot came off her line to grab the ball off Taylor Gabrenas ’s foot.

“I stayed on my toes and followed the ball,” O’Rourke said. “(With the lead) I’ve have to keep myself in the game. Today it felt good to help out (in a low-scoring contest).”

It was St. Joseph’s eighth shutout win of the season.