FAIRFIELD, Conn. – The conference playoff hopes of the Fairfield Ludlowe girls soccer team are on hold for at least one more day.
Needing only a tie to clinch a spot in the conference tournament, the Falcons fell 4-1 on Tuesday in a four-goal, second-half explosion by Wilton. Ludlowe has to hope for a Westhill loss Wednesday or it at least tie Trumbull in its regular season finale to secure a spot in the playoffs.
Fairfield Ludlowe head coach Kate Dawson was not shy in hiding her disappointment after the loss. “It was not a good enough effort from us tonight,” she said. “We lacked focus and intensity, and it was a lackluster performance overall.”
After a physical first half that saw more bodies on the turf than shots on goal, the floodgates opened for the Warriors offense in the second half. Wilton needed just 14 minutes to put the Falcons away.
Ludlowe struggled to defend against Wilton’s set pieces, with three of the Warriors’ four goals coming off a corner kick, an indirect kick and a free kick.
Wilton’s Casey Pearsall took a corner kick with 27:35 to play, lofting it into a crowd of players. The Warriors’ Jayne Maccio got a head on it, and the ball snuck into the net for Wilton’s first goal.
Another set piece put the game firmly in Wilton’s grasp when Kayla O’Brien took an indirect kick less than six minutes later. Lindsay Knutson redirected the shot into the net and Wilton was on its way to a playoff berth of its own.
Krissy Bradley briefly gave Ludlowe some hope after she intercepted an attempted clearing pass by Wilton, chipping a shot in to cut the Warriors’ lead to 2-1.
But less than three minutes later, Maccio put the game away for good, drilling a free kick past the Ludlowe goalie. Pearsall added Wilton’s fourth goal just more than a minute after that on a breathtaking 35-yard bender that found the upper-right part of the net.
“Girls were just unmarked on those set pieces, and that’s just unacceptable,” Dawson said. “The little details are what hurt us in this game. So we have to take care of the those things if we want to be successful.”
Fairfield Ludlowe (9-4-2, 29 points) is clinging to the sixth seed in the conference playoffs. The Falcons host top-ranked Trumbull in their regular season finale Thursday at 6 p.m.