H.S. roundup: Old Lyme, East Lyme girls advance to state semis on PKs

Falls Village — Rarely has Old Lyme High School girls' soccer coach Paul Gleason been happier to sit on a bus for two hours.

But it was a joyous ride home for Gleason and his four-time defending state champion Wildcats on Saturday, following a 0-0 (7-5 penalty kicks) win over top-seeded Housatonic Regional in the quarterfinals of the CIAC Class S tournament.

The No. 8 Wildcats will play No. 13 Northwest Catholic, a 2-0 winner over No.12 Coginchaug, in the semifinals Tuesday or Wednesday at a site and time to be determined.

"I think I aged 10 years," Gleason said.

Goalie Sam Gray stopped three penalty kicks for the Wildcats while seven teammates converted: Katie Funaro, Emily DeRoehn, Ellery Zrenda, Grace Lathrop, Melissa Mauro, Abby Manthous and Lydia Tinnerello.

"The key today was marking their No. 17 (Sydney Segalla)," Gleason said. "I don't think she had a shot and she was dominating people. Emily (DeRoehn) did a great job marking her. Our defense (DeRoehn, Funaro, Lauren Wallace and Lathrop) held them to two shots. And Zrenda was lights out today in the midfield.

"The girls have that winning panache right now."

In other matches:

• East Lyme goalkeeper Avery Owen "played the game of her life," according to head coach Rachel Redding, and it couldn't have come at a more opportune time. Owen, a senior, made two saves during a penalty kick shootout that helped the No. 13 Vikings advance to the Class L semifinals with a quarterfinal victory over No. 4 Mercy at Xavier High School in Middletown.

After playing 100 minutes of scoreless soccer, East Lyme (11-4-5) won the shootout 3-2 and will play No. 8 Sheehan either Tuesday or Wednesday at a site and time to be determined. Sheehan upset No. 1 RHAM 1-0.

The Vikings clinched the victory in the final round of PKs when sophomore Ella Mazzulli calmly stepped to the line and ripped a shot into the upper left-hand corner of the net. Her goal came after Owen stopped consecutive attempts. Emma Belleville and Grace Wargo also converted PKs for East Lyme.

Owen was largely responsible for getting the Vikings into the shootout. She made a leaping deflection of a 20-yard blast with about a minute remaining in regulation, then punched and caught another long shot in the second overtime just before the deflection went into the net.

And now it's on to the semis for East Lyme, just a year removed from failing to qualify for the state tournament.

"We went in confident," Redding said. "I told them before, 'We're winning this game. We have the heart and desire to get this done.' (Sheehan) is going to be another dogfight, but it's fun this time of year. This is was you work for."

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