On Thursday at West Haven High School, Cheshire High School girls’ soccer used a rally to stay unbeaten and bring home the Southern Connecticut Conference title. Top-seeded CHS scored twice in the second half to erase an 1-0 deficit and win 2-1 over defending champion Mercy (second seed, 15-3-1).
The crown was Cheshire’s eighth overall and first since 2016. The Rams hadn’t defeated Mercy since 2014.
For only the second time this year, the Rams trailed in a game. With 29:05 remaining in the first half, sophomore Julia Salley sent a free kick into the right corner of the net to put Mercy up 1-0.
Down at halftime, the Rams came out aggressive and their pressure paid off on a corner kick. After receiving a pass from sophomore Ava Sink, senior tri-captain Anna Hurlbut sent a laser shot into the upper right portion of the net to tie the game with 27:59 remaining.
Cheshire picked up the game-winner with 3:15 left. On a scramble in the middle, Sink sent a touch pass to senior tri-captain Gabby Tirado, who dribbled into the middle with a defender and shot the ball into the net.
Junior goalkeeper Sophie Bates made four saves in the victory.
Tirado received SCC Tournament Most Outstanding Player. She was also awarded Player of the Year.
Hurlbut joined Tirado on the All-SCC First Team. Seniors Haley Shaw and Allie Fox made the second team.
The Rams have the top seed for the Class LL Tournament. The bracket hasn’t been released yet.
Field Hockey (second seed, 14-4-1)
In the SCC final at Amity in Woodbridge, Cheshire earned a 2-1 win over Branford (fourth seed, 12-5-1-1) to secure their first tournament crown since winning three straight from 2011-13.
CHS jumped ahead with just 16 seconds left in the first half. On a penalty corner, senior tri-captain Colby Paul scored on a feed from senior Reilly Whalen.
With 3:36 left in the third quarter, Branford tied the game on a penalty stroke by senior Lauren Kendrick.
When it looked like the game could go into overtime, the Rams struck with only 29 seconds left. After passes by seniors Clara Dempsey and Taya Buntin in the middle, Ava Matikowski turned around and shot the ball into the cage for the game-winner.
After posting 10 saves, junior goalkeeper Ginny Curello was named the SCC Tournament Most Outstanding Player. CHS won both meetings with Branford this fall.
A 2015 CHS graduate, Head Coach Kya O’Donnell has been part of all four of Cheshire’s SCC crowns.
Buntin, Curello, and senior tri-captain Gigi Ranoldo made the All-SCC First Team. Senior Ava Harris was chosen for the second team.
CHS now awaits seeding for the Class L Tournament.
After having their nine-year reign ended by Amity last fall, CHS regained the top SCC spot at SCSU. The Rams compiled 1,226 points to win the title meet for the 27th time in 29 years.
Senior tri-captain Avery Potyrala and junior Julia Barto (Swimmer of the Meet) both contributed to four victories. To start the meet, they teamed with sophomore Natalia Gajecki and senior tri-captain Julianna Tyler to win the 200-yard medley relay (1:47.32).
Individually, Potyrala won the 50-yard freestyle (24.10) and 100-yard backstroke (58.03), while Barto was victorious in the 200-yard freestyle (1:52.68) and 100-yard butterfly (57.14). In the butterfly, Barto held off Amity senior Grace Mahon (57.30).
Potyrala, junior Grace Hanke, Gajecki, and sophomore Carly Cahill sprinted to victory in the 200-yard freestyle relay (1:38.92). Barto, Cahill, Hanke, and Tyler were victorious in the 400-yard freestyle relay (3:39.28).
Tyler captured the 500-yard freestyle in 5:11.90. Sophomore Julia Tejeda came in third (5:25.27).
For the 200-yard freestyle, Barto, Tyler (1:56.79), and Hanke (1:59.48) claimed the top-three spots.
Gajecki (58.83) and Cahill (54.99) clocked the top times in the 100-yard freestyle. In the 200-yard individual medley, Gajecki finished second (2:10.13).
Cahill and senior Vanessa Squillante placed fifth (25.48) and 10th (26.49), respectively, in the 50-yard freestyle. Squillante posted eighth in the 100-yard freestyle (57.09).
Tejeda (200-yard freestyle, 2:01.11) and classmate Lauren Waitkus (100-yard butterfly, 1:03.14) added seventh places. Hanke nabbed eighth in the 100-yard backstroke (1:02.83), while junior Morgan McDonough took ninth in the 200-yard freestyle (2:05.28) and 100-yard butterfly (1:03.39).
Freshman Leah Dale secured 10th in the 500-yard freestyle (5:48.48).
Before the final, Potyrala (Swimmer of the Year) and Matt Traub (Coach of the Year) received SCC Division I awards.
On Nov. 9, the Rams start Class L with the diving final at Middletown High School. Start time is 5:30 p.m.
Girls’ Volleyball (top seed, 20-2)
CHS extended their win streak to 12 matches, posting a 3-0 victory (25-11, 25-10, 25-19) over Guilford (fourth seed, 16-6) in the SCC semifinals. Senior tri-captain Avery Mola posted 16 kills, three digs, and two aces.
Senior Mimi Perlini compiled 13 assists, five digs, and three aces. Senior Kat Ulicki tallied seven kills, two aces, two digs, and a block.
Sophomore Eva Catalanotto had four aces, four kills, two blocks, and two digs. Senior Alex Lucas supplied four aces, four digs, and three kills.
On Saturday at 1 p.m., CHS seeks a third consecutive SCC title in facing Amity (third seed, 18-3) at West Haven. Cheshire beat the Spartans 3-1 on Sept. 27 and Oct. 17.
The Rams have a record 15 crowns.
On Thursday, senior quad-captain Samir Dishnica was announced as the SCC Player of the Year. He also made the All-SCC First Team with fellow senior quad-captains Muluken Marchand and Kevi Sulollari.
Senior quad-captain Colin Brown and senior Zach Chen were second-team honorees.
Friday’s varsity schedule:
Girls’ Cross Country
Cheshire travels to Manchester’s Wickham Park for the State Open at 2 p.m.
CHS visits Shelton (4-3) to play at 7 p.m.