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The Guilford girls’ soccer team scored three goals in a 15-minute span in the second half of its SCC Tournament final duel versus Branford and rallied for a 3-1 victory at East Haven on Oct. 30. The win improved the Indians to 17-2, marked their first SCC title since 2002, and their fourth overall.
“This is the most amazing feeling,” said senior forward Nikki Basilicato, who scored Guilford’s first goal to tie the game. “We’ve worked so hard for four years, we knew what we wanted to do, we grew, we played well, and we finally won.”
Branford (16-2-1)—which won last year’s SCC tourney—scored the game’s first goal just 9:39 into the contest, when Rachel Cholewinski converted a corner kick from Sara Consolo for a quick 1-0 lead.
The Hornets took their one-goal lead to halftime, but then Guilford started generating more offensive chances in the second half. With 16:30 left to play, Basilicato headed home junior midfielder Julia Carr’s corner kick and the game was tied 1-1. Eight minutes later, senior forward Kyera Bryant passed the ball over a Hornets’ defender to junior midfielder Allison Stephens, who put home the go-ahead goal and a 2-1 advantage. Carr then sealed the victory by scoring with 29 seconds remaining.
“It feels so good. We came together at halftime and, when Nikki tied the game, we knew we could do it,” said Stephens, whose twin sister Emily was Guilford’s goalie in the game. “We all got pumped up were winning every 50-50 ball.”
Coach Scott McMahon knew that the Indians didn’t play their best in the opening frame, yet was pleased to see his athletes come out with a head of steam in what proved a historic second half.
“We were kind of a like a deer in the headlights in the first half, but then we started finding feet, making nice passes, and that’s the kind of soccer we play,” McMahon said.
McMahon then discussed what winning the SCC title means to his program.
“This win definitely puts us back on the map.”