Panthers Shake Lackluster Start, Tie Blue Devils 1-1

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Pictured: Cromwell’s Erin Sokolowski (17) pressures Coginchaug teammates Isabella Orozco (7) and Allyson Woodward (20) for possession in the second half.

CROMWELL – Coach Marcelo Caetano liked the level of energy and urgency that his Cromwell High girls soccer team brought to the final portion of Tuesday’s match. He just wished the Panthers had some juice out of the gate.

Coginchaug controlled the better part of Tuesday’s Shoreline Conference encounter and struck first after a scoreless first half when sophomore Katie Farr won a 50-50 ball and blasted a shot past Blue Devils keeper Claire DeFlora in the 44th minute.

Cromwell got the equalizer from freshman Cameryn Hickey in the 56th minute and created a handful of chances to score the go-ahead goal, but time ran out on the Panthers.

Final: Coginchaug 1, Cromwell 1.

“Starting slow — when we are lax in practice and lax in warm-ups, it leads to us always starting slow, and that’s what I’m trying to impress upon them,” Caetano said after the game. “We have young, talented players who are trying to feel their way around. And I’m still trying to figure out what the best lineup is for us, and that’s going to come.

“Today, once we started playing our game and being aggressive and getting to balls, we started putting pressure on them the last 20 minutes of the game. The rest of it was all Coginchaug.”

Cromwell keeper Lily Kenney had eight saves and DeFlora had eight saves for Coginchaug. Both teams are 1-0-1.

“For the second game of the year, against a quality team, this showed we have the ability to compete,” Coginchaug coach Megan Kavanaugh said. “We have waited a long time to compete, see what we have and build from there. This was our first of what the Shoreline looks like.”

The Blue Devils’ last good scoring opportunity occurred with 5:20 remaining Farr again broke away from Cromwell’s defense, only to put a shot directly on a waiting Kenney.

The Panthers put a couple of shots on DeFlora, who played very well, in the final 10 minutes, but an unlikely opportunity with 2:15 to go nearly won the match.

From the right side and about 20 yards out, senior Jaime Rankins lofted a shot that caught the crossbar and deflected downward, where DeFlora corralled it inches in front of the line.

Caetano believes his team will get better as time goes on. The Panthers visit Westbrook on Friday.

“We can’t enter the game lazy and lacking energy,” he said. “If I’m able to get them to believe that …  the bottom line is they’re a great bunch of kids and they’re working to get better. The sky’s the limit with this group. If it all jells together, we can be a pretty solid team.”

Coginchaug, a Class M quarterfinalist in 2019, plays host to East Hampton on Friday. The Devils have a mix of returning starters and underclassmen in the fold this fall.

“We had a lot of good moments today and some that we can learn from,” said Kavanaugh, who singled out the performance of DeFlora and the play of center backs Allyson Woodward and Jess Parkinson.

“This was the first time those two played together and they held us together when we didn’t play our best,” the coach said.

In other events around the area Tuesday:

GIRLS SOCCER

Haddam-Killingworth 3, Old Saybrook 0
HIGGANUM — H-K’s scoring attack was spread around once again and goalkeeper Kelsey Lonergan had five saves in the Cougars’ Shoreline shutout win over the Rams.

Before the match, H-K recognized its nine seniors and two senior managers. Junior Yumi Imai was the emcee and senior Mia Rubino sang the national anthem. H-K also recognized the seven seniors on Old Saybrook’s roster.

Imai converted a penalty kick and Kaitlyn Parri scored unassisted in the final eight minutes of the first half to give H-K (2-0) a 2-0 lead. Kedarjah Lewis provied a second-half score with an assist from Morgan Madore.

Anna Brodeur had five saves for Old Saybrook (0-2).

“Taking the win and going 2-0 made is a nice way to honor the seniors,” Cougars coach Mike Shea said. “Mia Rubino, Mai-Ly Criscuolo and Sophie Gromala led a strong defensive effort and Morgan Schultz and Kedarjah Lewis led the offense.”

Mercy 1, Sheehan 0
WALLINGFORD — Kate Donlan scored at 66:57 with an assist from Kaila Lujambio to give Mercy the SCC victory over Sheehan.

Mercy outshot Sheehan 14-5. Tigers keeper Melina Ford had three saves on the day, while Beth Arnold made eight for Sheehan (1-1).

Mercy (2-0) plays its home opener on Friday against Hamden at 3:45 p.m

Wethersfield 8, Middletown 0
MIDDLETOWN –Victoria Correll had 12 saves for the Blue Dragons in their CCC loss to the Eagles. Emma Klementon scored five goals and Cameryn Wilkinson, Lola Lombardo and Cindy Biraci one each as Wethersfield improved to 3-0. Middletown is 0-3.

BOYS SOCCER

Xavier 6, Sheehan 0
MIDDLETOWN — Ryan Gerry had a monster game for the Falcons with three goals and two assists in the victory at Larry McHugh Field. Xavier improved to 2-0 on the young season.

Marcello DiMauro, Brady Stevenson and Oliver Klimas also scored for Xavier. Noah Stevenson, Dylan Misenti, John Tischio and DiMauro recorded an assist each.

Xavier keeper Spencer Misenti had one save. Frankie Carbone had eight saves for the Titans (1-1).

The Falcons visit Hamden for a 5 p.m. match on Friday

BOYS CROSS COUNTRY

PORTLAND — The Highlanders defeated Old Lyme 19-42 on a new 5K course at Portland High School. Aiden Powers was Old Lyme’s top finisher in second place in 18:57. The Wildcats’ John Almy was seventh (19:26), George Williams ninth (20:40), Harry Whitten 11th (21:05) and Reese McGuire 13th (21:26).

VOLLEYBALL

Old Lyme 3, Morgan 1 (18-25, 25-20, 25-19, 25-18)
Abby Speckhals had 11 assists and Abby Sicuranza had 10 kills and six aces for the winning Wildcats (2-0).

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