“There is nothing negative I can say about our players,” Shelton High girls soccer coach Marvin Miller said after his ninth-seeded Gaelettes lost a 2-1 Class LL second-round road decision to eighth-seeded Darien High on Thursday.
“I asked them to be the best versions of themselves and that’s what they were.”
Darien (13-3-3) will visit No. 1 Suffield High (17-0-0) in Saturday’s quarterfinals.
Shelton finished 13-5-2.
“I’m very proud,” Miller said of his team that fielded a majority of underclassmen. “We were one of the tops sides in the SCC (division champions and SCC semifinalists).
“We had a good season, and with a strong group back I think we’ll be back here (in states).
“Darien is a very good team. I thought we controlled most of the flow, but they are big and strong. We had a few mistakes, and they are a good side and capitalized when they had a chance.”
Katie Ramsey gave Darien the lead in the 12th minute when she played a ball over the top and chipped it over Shelton keeper Courtney Litts.
Shelton tied the game when Maggie Howard scored off a free kick from distance with nine minutes remaining in the half.
“I thought we were a bit flat (in the first half) and we talked at the half,” Darien coach Leigh Parsons said. “We came out and scored in the first minute (Onora Brown) and would liked to have a couple more. Their keeper (Litts) made some key saves.”
Behind the goalkeeping of Christine Fiore, Darien had posted 11 shutouts coming into the match.
“Both keepers came up big, each more than once,” Miller said of the seniors (Litts had 7 saves, Fiore 6). “Courtney was definitely our Man of the Match.”
Fiore and center-back Emily DeNunzio received high praise from Parsons.
“Each game Chrissy goes up higher in my book,” he said. “She can make even the most difficult shots look easy. Emily is one of the best center-backs in the state. Our back four plays well every match.”