Coginchaug’s Win Sets Up Semifinal At No. 1 Old Lyme

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Coginchaug continues to play with purpose in the Shoreline Conference girls soccer tournament.

The Blue Devils got a goal and an assist from Samantha Paul and NCAA Division I-bound goalkeeper Claire DeFlora made a couple of standout saves in Wednesday’s 2-0 quarterfinal win over Portland.

Coach Megan Kavanaugh said the fourth-seeded Blue Devils (6-4-2), who beat Portland for the second time in five days, are looking forward to Friday’s semifinal match at top seed Old Lyme (2 p.m.).

“We came out of the gate really ready to go,” Kavanaugh said. “The kids were pumped. We have six seniors who really want to make a statement in the tournament and this is their chance to do that. We came in with a lot of energy and a game plan that everyone was on board with. And we executed well.”

Both Coginchaug goals were scored in the first half, the first coming from Allyson Woodward. Kavanaugh said she moved some players around to better contend with the Highlanders’ physicality.

“We felt that gave us a better chance,” the coach said. “Portland is strong in the center midfield and we needed to adjust to that. Portland put up a battle today. They were really a challenge and they made us uncomfortable. Playing them on Friday and again today made it even harder (to win).”

“Sam Paul played really well today and everyone kind of stepped up in terms of knowing what their job was and trying their best with what their assigned task was,” Kavanaugh added. “Claire came out of the goal really well today. She read the ball well and made a couple of big-time saves.”

DeFlora, who earlier in the day signed a national letter of intent to play at Merrimack College, made five saves.

Hannah Brunk had six saves in net for the Highlanders, whose season ended with a 5-5-2 record.

Coginchaug and Old Lyme (9-0-1) met on Oct. 17. The 2-2 tie, Kavanaugh said, is a source of confidence for her team going into Friday’s semifinal. The Wildcats, who beat Old Saybrook 5-1 on Wednesday, own four state championships in the last five years.

“It helps us go forward and says we can go down there and play with them,” Kavanaugh said. “When you play Old Lyme, you know you’re playing a team that has tournament experience, is well coached, plays the game the right way and doesn’t have a weak link. We have to play our A game to have a chance to beat them. And if you want to play for a conference championship, then have to play against the best teams. If we want to advance, we have to go out there and play the best.”

The other Shoreline semifinal pits defending champion Haddam-Killingworth (7-2-1), the third seed, against No. 2 East Hampton (9-2-1).

H-K defeated Cromwell 6-1 in the quarterfinals. Maggie Singer and Hadley Commerford scored two goals each and Morgan Madore had two assists.

East Hampton reached the semis with a 6-0 win over Hale-Ray. H-K defeated East Hampton 4-3 last week to wrap up the regular season.

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