In need of a win to qualify for the upcoming Class LL state tournament, the Shelton High girls soccer team faced a formidable opponent, Sacred Heart Academy of Hamden, in its final regular-season game of the season on Oct. 24.
Angela Ciaramella netted a hat trick plus one, as the Pacers defeated Gaelettes, 4-1 at Finn Stadium to put an end to what had been a long, and sometimes demanding, season for the Gaelettes.
Sacred Heart Academy had also beaten Shelton by the same score in September in Hamden.
For the first time since 2005, Shelton, the Class LL state champs in 2011 (when the Gaelettes defeated Westhill 1-0), won’t be playing any soccer in November.
“I know that both our players and our coaching staff are frustrated,” said Shelton coach Marvin Miller, whose team closed out the season with a 4-9-3 record. “We know that some years are not going to be as strong as others.
“But we set high standards here at Shelton. We always have. We had goals and we came up short. We care about our program and we wanted to win this one for our seniors.
Seven players were honored before the contest on Senior Night —Jessica Wilm, Marlee Figueroa, Abbey Innamorato-Brannen, Emily Hanko, Cara Capoccitti, Kelly Howard and Jessica Swarni.
Ciaramella scored three goals in the first half and added her fourth and 13th of the season less than a minute into the second session.
She took a through ball at the 29:03 mark of the first half, outraced two defenders and put a shot past Wilm before scoring again in the 27th minute.
Ciaramella got into another foot race after finding herself unmarked at 17:46, and again beat Wilm from in close.
“All season long we’ve had difficulties properly marking our opponents,” Miller said. “It really hurt us tonight because Ciaramella is such a fast and elusive player.”
“She’s our Energizer Bunny,” said Sacred Heart Academy coach George Bedocs, whose team is 10-3-3. “We got our rhythm back. We knocked it around nicely out there. That was nice to see. We had a few injuries and weren’t really in sync our last three games (all losses after going 9-0-3 through its first 12 games).”
While getting only four shots in the first half, Shelton came on much stronger in the second 40 minutes. The Gaelettes outshot the Pacers, 10-4, and had several good chances.
“We hit the cross-bar here and the post there,” Miller said. “We had our chances.”
Samantha Hartmayer scored on a penalty kick with 15:55 remaining. Shelton outshot the Pacers, 14-10, with Wilm making five saves and her counterpart, Emily Brandisi, turning away three.