|Kiley Harnish and Holy Cross are headed to the Class S state final.|
(Copyright, Sports on CT-69, 2017 file)
The Crusaders did just that, building a 2-0 halftime lead. The Bellringers got a goal in the second half, but with just 21 seconds left in the match. By that time, Holy Cross' spot in the final was sewn up.
Morgan Murray had the first Crusader goal, then Kiley Harnish added one with a little over three minutes to go until halftime.
Tori Schaffner and the Cross defense, with the back four of Madison Bushka, Carley DeFoe, Alyssa Milburn and Meghan Diorio, nearly made the two-goal lead hold up throughout the rest of the match. The Crusaders, who started the season at 1-2-1, are now in the state final.
Phil Mongelluzzo, the all-around good guy and jovial head coach of Holy Cross, has led the team to where he said they could go when he took over the program. The Crusaders play top-seeded Old Lyme on Saturday at a time and place to be announced. The Wildcats eliminated fellow NVL squad St. Paul, the No. 4 seed, by a score of 4-2.
Old Lyme won the 2016 Class S championship and shared one in 2015, so it will be a formidable challenge for Holy Cross. Then again, the Crusaders have reached the state final after starting the season at 1-2-1. Holy Cross is in the final for a fourth time and seeks its first championship.