Gaelettes keep pressuring opponents

Mackenzie Joyce advances the ball for Shelton in its match with Guilford. The Gaelettes have outscored their rivals, 31-5. — Andy Hutchison photo

The trajectory of their shots usually find the goal, and, most times, they’re into the upper regions of the net.

The 2017 girls soccer team at Shelton High has, indeed, set lofty goals for itself.

After finishing off Joel Barlow out of the South-West Conference, 3-0, last Friday night at Finn Stadium, the Gaelettess had once again put up some gaudy numbers.

They out shot their out-of-conference rivals, 31-1, putting 19 of those shots on net and forcing goalkeeper Laurel Winslow to stand on her head at times.

Shelton got a pair of first-half goals, added one in the second 40 minutes and never let the opposition put a single shot on net.

It pushed Shelton’s season goal total to 36 — it has only given up five in posting their seventh shutout of the year.

“We’ve got four games left in the regular season (which began last Monday night at Sheehan in Wallingford) and, mind you, they’ll all be good matches,” said veteran coach Marvin Miller. “Then, we’re looking forward to the postseason. We’ve set some lofty goals there.”

Miller, who never stops chewing gum while he guides his team, watched as the squad found spaces in Barlow’s defense and worked the ball from the back to the front with almost absolute perfection.

Midfielder Leya Vohra, a sophomore, got them started, scoring from 30 yards out on a blistering shot  that, yes, went into the top of the goal, far over the head of Winslow. The score came 6:57 in. It was Vohra’s initial goal of the campaign and earned her player of the match honors from the coaches and team members.

Junior midfielder Maggie Howard almost made it 2-0 at the 22:40 mark, but she couldn’t quite reach the ball after a cross just outside the goal-mouth on the left side.

Then, with 7:37 showing on the clock, Mackenzie Joyce converted after a scramble in front of the goal with an assist going to senior Elizabeth Herlihy.

Shelton finished the first half with 12 shots and Winslow knocked nine of them aside.

Shelton completed its night with a score from Kelly Hurd, a senior who can either play forward or midfield, in the game’s 57th minute.

Hurd received a crossing pass from Joyce and finished to the right of Winslow. She now leads the team in both goals and points.

Shelton continued to pressure, taking 19 shots in the game’s second 40 minutes.

Winslow’s busy night included 16 saves.

On the other end, Shelton’s defensive four of senior Ally Panek and juniors Erin Keary, Heather Garrett and Haley Adcox, created a stone wall.

Keepers Courtney Litts (first half) and Arianna Malek combined for the shutout.

“I’d put our back four up against any other combination in our conference (SCC),” Miller said.

Shelton improved its record to 9-2-1. Barlow dipped to 4-5-3.

Miller simply likes his team’s overall look.

“We’re stepping into the right spaces,” he said. “Our passing has been crisp and accurate. We also have lots of kids who can put the ball in the back of the net. It’s great having that kind of arsenal. We just need to stay consistent, to continue moving the ball well from the back to the front.”

The Gaelettes are currently ranked sixth in the Class LL tournament standings.

Roundup: Shelton High played Sheehan High to a 1-1 draw on Monday. The Gaelettes are 9-2-2. Sheehan is 9-2-1. Haley Adcox scored the Shelton goal, with Leya Vohra getting the assist. Kelsey Burr, from Olivia Dubac, scored the Titan’s goal. Courtney Litts made six saves. Anna Medici stopped 13 Shelton shots.

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