Kathryn Arena’s brilliant strike from distance 68 seconds into extra time gave Shelton High a hard-fought 3-2 victory over East Haven in the quarterfinals of the SCC girls soccer tournament at Finn Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Arena blasted the ball to the corner of the net from 30 yards out, beating Yellowjacket goalkeeper Caitlin Esposito and propelling the fourth-seeded Gaelettes into the semifinals. Shelton (12-2-3) will host No. 8 seed Mercy on Monday, Nov. 3, at 5:30 p.m. The Tigers upset two-time defending league champions Guilford, the top seed, with a 3-1 victory.
East Haven, the fifth seed and making its first appearance in the SCC tournament in school history, took a 2-1 lead with 14:04 left to play.
Forward Megan Kikosicki lashed home a low freekick from 35 yards out, past the dive of Shelton keeper Courtney Litts, to stake the Easties (11-4-2) to their first lead of the game.
Undaunted, Shelton responded with 10:12 left. Sophomore forward Kelly Hurd came off of the substitutes’ bench and made her presence felt, roaring through the Yellowjacket’s defense along the left flank.
Hurd drove a cross to the center of the box, where Kaleigh Panek steered home the equalizer — her second goal of the game. Hurd nearly set up another goal with under three minutes left, but the ball ricochetted across the open goal and out of bounds.
Panek opened the scoring with 30:55 left in the first half, lofting a header into the back of the net following a scrum out front. Kikosicki, who has scored 28 of East Haven’s 35 goals this year, pulled the Yellowjackets level as time expired in the first half. The superlative senior created space along the left side and belted a shot that soared over the head of Gaelette keeper Shelby Offord, tying it at 1 heading into the half.
The scoreline held until Kikosicki put East Haven ahead, setting up the late-game heroics from Panek and Arena.