Lancers working their way back to the top

Claire Hurley of Waterford heads a ball during the first half of Monday night's nonleague girls' soccer game against Wilbur Cross of New Haven at Waterford. Hurley scored a goal as Waterford won 6-0.
Claire Hurley of Waterford heads a ball during the first half of Monday night's nonleague girls' soccer game against Wilbur Cross of New Haven at Waterford. Hurley scored a goal as Waterford won 6-0. Tim Martin/The Day Buy Photo

Waterford - The last two games were scoreless overtime ties against East Lyme and Norwich Free Academy.

And the next two games on the schedule for the Waterford High School girls' soccer team offer no respite either: ECC Large Division opponent Woodstock Academy on Wednesday and ECC Medium Division leader Stonington on Saturday.

"A lot of people expect us to win because we're Waterford," said senior forward Hannah Scahill, whose team has won ECC titles in 12 of the last 13 years in the Medium and Large divisions. "We were disappointed (by the ties).

"We know we should do better. (Coach Rob Brule) knew we were disappointed. He just gave us more confidence after that. He doesn't criticize; he always gives us motivation."

Waterford had the chance to work on a few things Monday in a 6-0 nonconference victory over Wilbur Cross/Hillhouse/Career. Scahill scored three times and junior Melina Spanos scored twice for the Lancers (4-0-2 overall, 1-0-2 in the ECC Large Division).

"We just have to keep working as a team," Scahill said. "We have that over other teams."

Against Wilbur Cross (1-7), the Lancers had to contend with Governors goalie Cynthia Jofre, who made a point blank save early on off a ball headed by Scahill.

Spanos broke through with one goal in the 16th minute, hitting a ball to the opposite post from the right side, but it wasn't until there was 11:43 remaining in the first half that freshman midfielder Claire Hurley made it 2-0. Hurley was tripped up on the way to the goal, stumbling as she made her approach, but regained her balance long enough to chip the ball past Jofre.

Jofre, who was injured on the play and left the game but came back to play the second half, had nine saves to that juncture.

Scahill scored her first goal 9:15 before halftime when she got a breakaway and tapped the ball into the net. Scahill opened the second-half scoring, as well, to make it 4-0, followed by goals from Spanos and Scahill again with 13:56 to go for the final margin.

Waterford outshot Wilbur Cross 33-5. Julia Zawacki made four saves in goal.

"After those two ties, we didn't know what to expect today," Scahill said. "We had to have confidence in ourselves, the things we work on every day. We're still working on winning another conference."

"You don't win a championship in September, but now we're going into October," Brule said. "At this level of soccer, every tackle we miss can lead to a possible goal. No team is good enough to be indestructible and perfect. I just want us to work hard and be on the same page."

Brule said he could tell after the ties, which came last Monday and Wednesday, his team could use a rest.

Over the weekend, the Lancers participated in a community service project and went apple-picking.

"If that's what it took, I'm the first one there," Brule said. "... We played 200 minutes in two and a half days. We had fresher legs today and you could tell.

"Today was really about confidence in the middle and the attacking third of the field. Take chances, be creative, have fun, stay healthy. We haven't played our best soccer yet; our best is yet to come."

v.fulkerson@theday.com

Melina Spanos of Waterford gets to the ball ahead of Chevelle Nesbeth of Wilbur Cross, left, in the first half of Monday night's girls' soccer game at Waterford.
Melina Spanos of Waterford gets to the ball ahead of Chevelle Nesbeth of Wilbur Cross, left, in the first half of Monday night's girls' soccer game at Waterford. Tim Martin/The Day Buy Photo
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