Ga­tors claim third straight crown

Greenwich Time - - SPORTS - By David Fierro

GREEN­WICH — One goal re­sulted in one hard­fought win and one more FAA Tour­na­ment ti­tle for the Green­wich Academy soc­cer team on Fri­day.

Over­com­ing in­juries and ad­ver­sity, it cer­tainly wasn’t easy, but the Ga­tors added to their col­lec­tion of con­fer­ence ti­tles.

Fresh­man Tay­lor Glanville’s goal late in the first half stood up for sec­ond­seeded Green­wich Academy, which recorded a wel­learned 1-0 win over a tough fourth-seeded Greens Farms Academy squad in Fri­day’s rainy FAA fi­nal.

The tri­umph gave Green­wich Academy its third con­sec­u­tive FAA Tour­na­ment cham­pi­onship — it de­feated Hop­kins School for the con­fer­ence ti­tle the pre­vi­ous two sea­sons.

The matchup marked the third game in five days for the Ga­tors and Dragons and it showed, as both squads were a bit worn down at times after play­ing so much soc­cer.

“They gut­ted it out,” GA coach Alistair Lons­dale said of his squad. “It was so tough to play again, after play­ing two games in a short pe­riod of time. But we grinded it out. We played so well on Wed­nes­day in our win in the semi­fi­nals against Sa­cred Heart and to­day, we man­aged to make it hap­pen.”

Glanville made the cham­pi­onship postgame cel­e­bra­tion hap­pen, con­vert­ing a shot from just out­side the

box late in the open­ing half, giv­ing GA a 1-0 edge.

“All I re­mem­ber is the ball came in, I turned and shot it, not even look­ing where it went and it went in,” Glanville said. “It feels amaz­ing to get this win. We just had to work to­gether to get this win.”

Not sat­is­fied with a ten­u­ous 1-0 hal­time lead against a Greens Farms Academy team that knocked off top-seeded St. Luke’s School, the Ga­tors knew they had to step up their play in the sec­ond half.

“We just de­cided that we needed to work harder, fight harder,” said GA ju­nior for­ward, Tessa Brooks, who along with ju­nior Tay­lor Lane and Glanville helped cre­ate chances for the Ga­tors. One of our main goals of the sea­son was to win the FAA ti­tle, so it feels great.”

Brooks nearly gave the Ga­tors a two-goal ad­van­tage, but Greens Farms fresh­man goalie Lane Mur­phy leaped and de­flected Brooks’ shot with her left hand late in the sec­ond half. Mur­phy made eight saves for GFA, which played GA to a 1-1 draw dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son.

“She was alert and smart in goal,” Greens Farms coach An­drew Henry said of Mur­phy. “We’ve had a lot of games lately, but no ex­cuses, we didn’t play well enough to­day. We didn’t play our best soc­cer, but some days it’s like that. Green­wich is a good team and they play tough.”

Kelly Van Hoe­sen, one of the Dragons’ se­niors helped pace her team’s de­fen­sive ef­fort.

“Our se­niors were great, with­out our se­niors, we don’t get here,” Henry said. “Their lead­er­ship, the way they kept ev­ery­one up and play­ing the way they play, was great. They will be missed.”

Sopho­more Schuyler Sar­gent and se­nior Christina Mal­don­ado were solid on the back­line for GA, which re­ceived six saves from sopho­more goalie Ella Fugel­sang.

“It was def­i­nitely tough with the con­di­tions and ev­ery­one was a lit­tle ner­vous at first, but we just held them the rest of the game,” Sar­gent said. “They were tough and phys­i­cal and in the game, but we held them.”

Added Fugel­sang: “We were so strong de­fen­sively. Our de­fend­ers did ev­ery­thing they could to not them by and did ev­ery­thing they could to get it out. We had some good mo­men­tum dur­ing the game and tried to keep it go­ing.”

A se­nior tri-cap­tain Ka­rina Toub helped an­chor the mid­field play, along with se­nior Emily Hock, while fresh­man Lau­ren Hartveldt chipped in de­fen­sively.

“It was a tight game and it was slip­pery out there, so any­thing could have hap­pened,” Toub said. “Get­ting that goal early on was good, but we learned from the past that one goal is not good enough. We tried to get two or three to se­cure the lead, but one was enough to­day and were able to pull out the win.”

In good po­si­tion to qual­ify for the NEPSAC Tour­na­ment, which be­gins next week, GA trav­els to West­min­ster School on Satur­day.

“We are 100 per­cent look­ing for­ward to New Eng­lands,” Sar­gent said. dfierro@green­

David Fierro / Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia

Green­wich Academy cap­tured the FAA soc­cer tour­na­ment ti­tle for the third straight sea­son with a 1-0 win over visit­ing Greens Farms Academy on Fri­day.

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