While not leaving with a loss in last Thursday’s season opener, Cheshire High School girls’ soccer was disappointed to not find the back of the net in a scoreless draw at Amity.
The Rams felt a lot better after their performance in Tuesday’s home opener against Sheehan. CHS netted their first three goals of the season and picked up their second shutout in a 3-0 victory.
“It is always nice to open the scoring sheet at home,” said CHS Head Coach Kylee McIntosh. “We needed confidence to get those goals. This is the start of our journey.”
Cheshire applied pressure throughout the contest, but Sheehan senior goalkeeper Trinity LaValley came up with clutch saves to keep her team within striking distance in the first half. Early in the game, LaValley made a diving stop on a breakaway by senior tri-captain Ally Corris.
Undeterred, the Rams still broke through with 27:46 left in the first half. Sheehan tried to clear a ball in front of sophomore Abby Sink, however, junior Sienna Morin made an interception with her right foot and then used her left foot to boot the ball between a pair of defenders into the right side of the net.
“It felt great to get us a goal. We needed one,” stated Morin.
After intermission, Cheshire extended their lead with 27:20 left. From the left side, Morin crossed the ball into the middle to Corris, who deflected the ball toward the right post.
With a defender running with her, junior Theresa Zurolo sprinted to the ball and angled an end line shot under a diving LaValley into the net.
“I’m more surprised that it went in,” reflected Zurolo. “I was happy.”
For Zurolo, the goal represented the first of her varsity career.
“It felt good to score for the team,” added Zurolo.
For the final goal, Abby Sink sent a hard shot into the right portion of the net with 5:48 remaining. CHS led 11-3 in shots on goal.
“It was really good to get another goal,” stated Sink, whose junior sister Ava plays with her in the mid-field.
LaValley, who saved three breakaway shots in the game, posted eight saves for the Titans.
“She did a great job tonight,” stated Sheehan Head Coach Rob Huelsman.
In contrast to Sheehan’s experienced goalie, Cheshire utilized a player who hadn’t played between the pipes before. Due to sickness, CHS senior goalkeeper and three-year starter Sophi Bates was out of the lineup, but, freshman Charlotte Dziura offered to move into the position. She made three saves in her first shutout.
“I hadn’t played there before (in net), but I offered to do it for the team,” recalled Dziura, whose older sister Ainsley is a senior tri-captain for the Rams. “I was very nervous tonight.”
Dziura twice saved shots by Sheehan junior Amber May. In the first half, May booted a shot into Dziura’s chest.
In the second half, May got loose down field, but Dziura kicked the ball away from danger.
McIntosh was proud of Dziura’s performance. She also credited her defense that includes senior tri-captain Eva Fiala, seniors Stella Tessier and Genesis Torres, junior Leah Farrell, and Zurolo.
“It was great to have a freshman step up in that position,” stated McIntosh. “We are excited to get Soph (Bates) back, but Charlotte did a great job, as well as our defense tonight.”
The Rams graduated their top-three scorers in Gabby Tirado, Anna Hurlbut, and Haley Shaw, but other players have emerged to fill the void. As new starters, Morin and Zurolo netted the first two goals against Sheehan.
“They look great. It is their time to shine and step up for us,” stated McIntosh. “T (Theresa) helps us on defense, but she is also versatile on the field.”
While Cheshire made adjustments from their first game at Amity, Sheehan was just opening the regular season on Tuesday.
“Cheshire was very good last year. They have a great program,” said Huelsman. “For us, we are still developing our team. We have some people in different positions.”
Huelsman added the team will continue to use players in different places.
“The girls are working hard to get better,” said Huelsman.
Cheshire and Sheehan both return to action for road games on Thursday at 5 p.m. The Rams visit Hamden, while the Titans travel to East Haven.