Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Holy Cross, St. Paul pull off stunning victories to reach NVL final

Erin Goggin scored the game-winning goal in overtime for Holy Cross
vs. Watertown in the NVL semifinals. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69, 2017 file)
It wouldn't have been far-fetched to expect a matchup between top-seeded Woodland and second-seeded Watertown in Thursday's NVL girls soccer tournament final.
No. 3 Holy Cross and No. 5 St. Paul had other ideas on Tuesday.
The Falcons started the festivities with a 2-0 win over the Hawks in the first game of a doubleheader at the Robert Frost Complex in Torrington. In the nightcap, the Crusaders provided the stunning conclusion, beating the Indians 2-1 in overtime to reach the final. The game starts at 5 p.m. on Thursday at DeBarber Field in Seymour.
Keeper Nina Zwolinski and the St. Paul defense gave Woodland only
its second shutout loss of the 2017 season.
(Copyright, Sports on CT-69, 2017 file)
Holy Cross and Watertown were tied 1-1 at the end of regulation. In the seventh minute of overtime, Holy Cross' Adalisse Padilla put a ball into the Watertown box. A scrum ensued, but the ball rolled away from the scrum toward the right side of the goal.
Crusader senior Erin Goggin was there and put the ball over the line to give her team a 2-1 victory and a berth in the final. Holy Cross keeper Tori Schaffner kept her team in the match with 13 saves. The Crusaders make their second straight appearance in the final.
St. Paul's win was less heart-stopping, but no less thrilling for those who support the Falcons. To no one's surprise, Kendall Davis scored both St. Paul goals, one in each half. The first one was off an assist from Hannah Duffany, the second from Briana Senese.
There were a pair of firsts for the Falcons in the victory over the Hawks. Most important, it puts St. Paul into its first championship game. The win was also the first ever for the Falcons against Woodland.
St. Paul doesn't get to the final without keeper Nina Zwolinski. She had 17 saves, but she also got help from her defense, which included big-time efforts from Bella Griffin, Emma Cretella, Catherine Ciampi, Hannah Stanford and Romi Bagdasarian. It was only the second time Woodland has been shut out all season.
Falcons head coach Jim Husbands used the words "outstanding" and "incredible" to describe what was a total team effort.
Two big-time games, two big-time wins. Holy Cross and St. Paul have certainly earned their way to the NVL final.

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