Trumbull searching for more scoring

It seems as if the fortunes of the Trumbull High girls soccer team have turned on something no longer than a toe. In fact, that’s exactly what it has turned on.

The Eagles opened the season with great optimism, as well as a spotless 4-0 record.

But when talented junior midfielder Kendall Szulimowski went down with a potential season-ending injury, breaking her toe during practice just after the St. Joseph game, things quickly began to spiral downward.

Trumbull just hasn’t been able to make up for the speed and play-making ability they lost with Szulimowski, the team’s leading scoring.

Producing offense has been tough. Winning has been even tougher. And after Trumbull’s latest setback, a 3-1 loss to Fairfield Warde on the road on Oct. 17, qualifying for the FCIAC playoffs might be the greatest challenge of all.

Trumbull (6-4-3 overall), which went into the game holding a tenuous grip on seventh place in the FCIAC playoff standings, is now 2-4-3 since Szulimowski suffered her injury.

“That’s been a huge loss without her there in the middle of the field,” Trumbull head coach Daniel Uhrlass said. “She scores and creates and just puts the other team under so much pressure.”

The Eagles, also playing without senior goalkeeper Maggie Parisi, will finish the regular season with games against Norwalk, Greenwich and Bridgeport Central, hoping they can hold on to earn one of the FCIAC’s eight seeds.

“It’s definitely going to go down to the wire for us,” Uhrlass said. “Injuries and losing other players has really affected us a lot.”

Trumbull managed just seven shots against the Mustangs and had only a handful of scoring chances.

The only goal the Eagles scored came on a penalty kick by senior midfielder Nicole Schwartz with 17:32 left in the second half after a foul in the box both coaches agreed was questionable.

Trumbull’s defense, led by senior Julia Lisi and sophomore Kyriaki Marinos, held the Mustangs in check during the first half, limiting Warde to just five shots.

Warde’s only good scoring chance came on a header by junior Virginie Larouche on a corner kick by senior defender Julia Delaney in the final minute.

The Mustangs finally broke through in the second minute of the second half.

Once again it was a header by Larouche off a corner kick by Delaney. But this time they got it right with Larouche knocking a high cross from the left side past goalie Jackie Rose for a 1-0 lead.

Rose, now starting in place of Parisi, made three saves.

Warde (9-3-1), which strengthened its hold on fourth place in the FCIAC standings with the victory, responded to the penalty kick with a goal by junior midfielder Kaleigh Fidaleo to make it 2-1 and the Mustangs never relinquished control after that.

Sophomore midfielder Jenn Maldonado iced the victory with 1:02 left in the second half.

“Trumbull’s a very good team and they still kept coming at us,” Fairfield Warde head coach Tom Cunningham said. “We were able to play more of a possession game and were able to dictate things, but they were still a good countering team.

“After they got their first goal, we had to make sure that didn’t take the wind out of our sails, and it didn’t.”

Trumbull moved the ball well at times behind Schwartz and fellow senior captain Lauren Hyde, but just couldn’t produce enough sustained pressure on Warde goalie Katie Brennan to mount a comeback.

“We played well at times and then I think we lost our composure after the second goal,” Uhrlass said.

Trumbull, now 7-4-3, is currently seeded No. 8 for the FCIAC playoffs. It defeated Norwalk, 6-0, on Friday and played host to Greenwich (6-6-2) yesterday. The Eagles play at Bridgeport Central (0-13-1) today at 4.