Sports: Old Lyme girls beat St. Paul, 4-2, and ad­vance to Class S state soc­cer final

Top-seeded Wild­cats earn the op­por­tu­nity to de­fend Class S ti­tle by de­feat­ing St. Paul

The Day - - FRONT PAGE - By MIKE DiMAURO

Meri­den — The ac­com­plish­ment was not lost on Paul Glea­son, a man who un­der­stands his pro­gram's tor­tures of tour­na­ments past against "choice" schools.

The ac­com­plish­ment of mak­ing the Class S state girls' soc­cer final? Nah.

The ac­com­plish­ment of lit­tle ol' Old Lyme de­feat­ing St. Paul of Bris­tol, a "school of choice" with the abil­ity to at­tract kids from mul­ti­ple towns.

And the top-seeded Wild­cats, who have been elim­i­nated by choice school Im­mac­u­late of Dan­bury alone nine dif­fer­ent times in their state tour­na­ment his­tory, did the elim­i­nat­ing Tues­day night at Fal­con Field. They dis­patched No. 4 St. Paul — Glea­son's alma mater — 4-2 and moved to Satur­day's state cham­pi­onship game against, yes, choice school sec­ond-seeded Holy Cross of Water­bury.

The CIAC is ex­pected to an­nounce Satur­day's site and time on Wed­nes­day.

"Does it feel good? Yes it does," Glea­son said. "They have a huge area where they can draw from. We have 34 kids. And it feels pretty good to

take them and get them to play at this level with­out go­ing be­yond our nat­u­ral bor­ders to get play­ers." And to think it al­most didn't hap­pen. Old Lyme (20-1) nearly lost a 3-0 lead, hav­ing to per­spire for a while in the final 15 min­utes with a one-goal lead un­til Danielle McCarthy's sec­ond goal of the game — from what felt like the park­ing lot — al­lowed a group ex­hale on the Old Lyme side­line.

"When they got it to 3-2, I re­mem­ber kneel­ing down and go­ing 'oh, no.'" McCarthy said. "But I knew our de­fense could hold up. I thought we could score again. I just kind of shot it from a long way. I saw it go in and I was so happy."

McCarthy, Mad­die Ouel­lette and Mya John­son have the Wild­cats a 3-0 lead in the first 20 min­utes. Also in the first 20 min­utes: Caro­line Wal­lace ducked in be­hind goal­keeper Emily Rivera to pre­vent a St. Paul shot from cross­ing the line, a play whose sig­nif­i­cance in­creased once St. Paul closed within 3-2.

"I was pretty calm," Glea­son said, al­lud­ing to St. Paul's rally. "We have a very good team here. I kept telling the kids to shoot the ball, be­cause on a night like this on this turf, a ball could eas­ily skip past a goalie. That's what hap­pened. I'm very proud of my play­ers."

Old Lyme is the de­fend­ing Class S champ, de­feat­ing Old Say­brook last sea­son in the fi­nals. They'll have to con­quer an­other school of choice that split with St. Paul dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son. Holy Cross de­feated No. 11 East Hamp­ton 2-1 in Tues­day's other semi­fi­nal.

"It was a spe­cial night," Glea­son said. "I think I had 15 old bud­dies from Bris­tol here. Even my ac­coun­tant showed up." m.dimauro@the­day.com

SEAN D. EL­LIOT/THE DAY

Old Lyme’s Danielle McCarthy (2) races to cel­e­brate her goal with team­mates Mad­die Ouel­lette (16) and Mya John­son (12) dur­ing Tues­day night’s Class S girls’ soc­cer tour­na­ment semi­fi­nal against St. Paul at Fal­con Field in Meri­den. The top-seeded and de­fend­ing cham­pion Wild­cats ad­vanced to Satur­day’s cham­pi­onship match against No. 2 Holy Cross with a 4-2 win. Visit www.the­day.com to view a photo gallery.

SEAN D. EL­LIOT/ THE DAY

Old Lyme’s Mya John­son pokes the ball past St. Paul goalie Nina Zwolin­ski for a goal dur­ing the Wild­cats’ 4-2 vic­tory over the Fal­cons in Tues­day’s CIAC Class S girls’ soc­cer tour­na­ment semi­fi­nal at Fal­con Field in Meri­den. Old Lyme will play Holy Cross for the state ti­tle on Satur­day.

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