Fairfield Ludlowe girls soccer ousts Mercy in penalty kicks
For the Fairfield Ludlowe girls soccer team, escaping and advancing is better than looking good and losing.
The 13th-seeded Falcons blew a 3-1 lead but were able to advance, beating No. 20 Mercy, 4-3, 3-2 in penalty kicks in the first round of the Class LL state playoffs on Monday at Taft Field.
Senior captain Chrissy Lozier scored all three of the Falcons' goals, including the clincher in the penalty kicks. Lozier has now scored five of Ludlowe's six goals scored in the postseason and assisted on the other one.
The game did not open swimmingly for Ludlowe, as Mercy got on the board first. On a free kick, Ally Morales booted a ball that hit Ludlowe goalkeeper Blakely Zecher in the hands and went over the line to put the Falcons ahead 1-0.
"She came off the field feeling accountable for the first goal," Ludlowe head coach Tony Samuelian said.
Ludlowe tallied the next three goals, including Lozier first on a penalty kick. The senior captain sent a corner kick into the box that was touched by a Mercy player's hand. Lozier netted the ensuing PK to tie the game at one.
"She's just a gamer," Samuelian said of Lozier.
Ludlowe managed to break the tie when Lozier headed in Kim Roland's corner insert in the 46th minute to put the Falcons ahead 2-1. Lozier's third goal came just six minutes later when out of a scramble off of Roland's corner insert, Lozier turned and left-footed the ball past Mercy goalkeeper Katie Donnelly and gave the Falcons a commanding 3-1 lead.
"I'm constantly moving around the box and that allows me to get free," Lozier said. "I just get the open shot a lot, I guess."
However, Mercy rebounded to cut the Falcons lead to 3-2 when Marlana Gomez scored off of a free kick in the 55th minute. The Tigers re-tied the game when Kelley Murrone scored from an impossible angle in the 69th minute.
"We weren't organized like we should've been in the back," Samuelian said. "There were a lot of breakdowns...but I give them a lot of credit, coming back from down 3-1."
"We definitely got comfortable being up two goals," Lozier said.
The game remained tied through the final 11 minutes and through overtime to force penalty kicks. Morales blasted the first shot past Zecher and Ludlowe's Libby McNamara and Rachel Baumann failed to score on their initial attempts.
"I think nerves showed up on that," Samuelian said.
Gomes scored to put Mercy up 2-0. That put the pressure on Mary Kamovitch, who scored to cut the lead to 2-1. Mercy's Morgan Humphreys shot went wide and Lucia Harold tied the PKs at two. Zecher came up huge when she stopped Audrey Bordieri to keep the score tied and gave Lozier the chance to win.
"She's cat like," Samuelian said. "She really is quick."
"Thank God for Blakely," Lozier said.
Lozier buried the PK and sent the Falcons to the next round where the Falcons will play No. 4 seed Wilbur Cross, today at 2 p.m.
"Wilbur Cross is a great team," Lozier said. I definitely look forward to the game."