With the midseason mark upon them, the Rams’ girls’ soccer squad upped the ante last week in winning two of their three conference games, beating Old Lyme and Hale Ray before falling to Coginchaug in a close contest.
On Sept. 19 versus Old Lyme, Saybrook won 2-1. Molly Beck scored six minutes in on a strong individual effort after breaking through the Panthers’ defense and dribbling towards the goal, blasting a shot right over the goalkeeper’s head. Old Lyme came back just six minutes later and scored off a corner kick, followed by some solid chances by the Panthers in the second half, but the Rams’ defense did a solid job in shutting down Old Lyme’s defense. With about 15 minutes left in the game, Arianna Heonis got a breakaway and was taken down in the box, giving Saybrook a penalty kick. Mary Kate Morrison scored the penalty kick and gave the Rams the 2-1 win.
“It was a great win for us after struggling to beat Old Lyme last year,” said Coach Larry Bright. “This was the first win of the year.”
Old Saybrook then beat Hale Ray 1-0 at home on Sept. 23. The game went scoreless into halftime, but 15 minutes into the second half Gabby Rose made a pass through the Hale Ray defense to Beck, who was breaking behind the defense. Beck took once touch on the ball and put it in the far corner, beating the Noises’ keeper. Saybrook had a few other solid chances after that goal, but couldn’t put another one in for a cushion. Hale Ray put pressure on the Rams’ defense of Mary Kate Marshall, Morrison, and Amanda Simoni in the final minutes, but the group played very well to maintain the lead. Senior keeper Mia Neas had four saves.
“We started the game kind of flat and without much intensity. We had several good chances to score, but were unable to convert,” said Bright. “We tend to play to the level of the opposition and when Hale Ray came up without much intensity, we followed suit.
Our defense played great in this game and we were moving the ball and playing with much more intensity in the second half. Overall a good effort.”
On Sept. 26, Old Saybrook fell 2-1 to Coginchaug in a hard-fought game at home. The Rams scored first when Morrison got a goal off a Beck corner kick with about 10 minutes to go before the half. After scoring that goal, Coginchaug picked up its intensity and scored two goals in the next eight minutes.
“Coginchaug is the best team in the Shoreline so this was a good test to see where we are as a team,” said Bright, whose squad is 2-2-1. “Although we lost the game, I felt we should have won as we outplayed Coginchaug for a good portion of the game, including the second half. Unfortunately, we gave up a couple of easy goals in the final 10 minutes and missed several great opportunities to score in the second half. I have to give credit to Coginchaug for playing a solid game throughout and not making any critical mistakes. They were solid defensively and kept our defense, along with Mia Neas in goal [who had six saves], under pressure. We are almost halfway through the season and we are getting into a must-win situation over the next couple of weeks in order to make sure we qualify for the state tournament.”