Shelton High’s girls soccer team got a first-half goal from Kelly Hurd, set up by Zoe Rogers, and held off visiting Guilford 1-0 as goalkeeper Courtney Litts made seven saves on Saturday night.
With the win, the Gaelettes accomplished two things: they bounced back from a six game winning streak-ending defeat at the hands of Amity in a 1-0 loss on Monday, and avenged a tough-to-swallow season-opening tie with Guilford.
Shelton improved to 7-2-1.
Guilford dropped to 5-3-2.
“We wanted to give them a better game at our house,” said Shelton coach Marvin Miller, whose squad held a 1-0 lead before surrendering a free kick goal to settle for a disappointing 1-1 road tie in the first meeting, back on Sept. 12. “We had to play our best game to beat them and we relied pretty strongly on our defenders.”
The back line of Allison Panek, Heather Garrett, Erin Keary and Haley Adcox, along with midfielders Rogers and Leya Vohra, stymied Guilford on numerous attempts to move the play deep.
When the ball did get behind the back third, Litts was there to either make a save — some of which she made look very easy because of her positioning and ability to cut off angles — or charge out to break up a play by booting the ball up field.
“Courtney Litts played a monster game tonight,” said Miller, adding that his keeper’s presence near the top of and outside of the 18 yard box was key. “That took a lot of pressure off the backs.”
“That was a big win for us. I’m definitely proud of my team,” Litts added.
Hurd’s goal came midway through the opening half thanks to a nice feed from Rogers.
“It was good because they’ve been putting pressure on me to score. Zoe Rogers made an amazing pass,” Hurd said.
Shelton continued to pressure, in search of a goal or two in order to pad the lead, and did a nice job of working the ball deep into the corners, as well as over the middle for some runs.
In the second half, Maggie Howard sent a corner kick from the left side all the way to the far side of the box and the Gaelettes had a chance but couldn’t capitalize.
Mackenzie Joyce, Haley Oko, Elizabeth Herlihy, Vohra and Hurd continued to create opportunities to no avail.
Miller said he would have liked to see more finishes, but credited Guilford’s defense and goaltending for making things difficult.
The Gaelettes didn’t need more than a goal yet again as the girls got their sixth shutout of the campaign. They’ve surrendered only four goals all season, and no more than one in a game.
Miller’s squad will look to get another win streak going, with six regular season tilts left on the slate, and carry some momentum into the postseason.
After hosting Wilbur Cross on Tuesday, the Gaelettes host a tough nonconference foe Joel Barlow of Redding from the South-West Conference, on Friday at 7 p.m.
Sheehan, Lauralton Hall, Sacred Heart Academy and Cheshire also remain on the docket.
“As long as we play our best soccer they’re all winnable games,” Miller said.