GIRLS SOCCER: Bunnell's run comes to an end in semis

WATERBURY -- The Bunnell girls' soccer team had just one more hurdle to overcome en route to its first state championship final in school history.

That hurdle, Avon in the Class L semifinals Tuesday night, proved to be too much to clear. Thanks to Britt Douglass' second-half goal, No. 4 seed Avon returned to the Class L championship game for the second straight year with a 1-0 win over No. 8 seed Bunnell at Municipal Stadium.

"I think we did a good job defensively," Bunnell coach Sebastian Wojdaszka said. "From Day One, if we were going to get this far, it would start from the back (on defense). Their forwards were dangerous. ... We did a good job overall to keep them down, just one silly ball in the middle that we lost. We had a chance to clear it."

Although their season ended a bit prematurely, the Bulldogs (16-5-2) still completed the best season in school history. Bunnell reached the South-West Conference tournament final for the second time before making the run to the Class L semifinals, including a win on penalty kicks over Darien in the quarterfinals.

They also got this far after losing midfielder Bridgette Dolio, their best player and last year's leading scorer, to an ankle injury in the team's 11th game against Wolcott.

"It's going to be hard to replicate, especially losing 10 seniors," Wojdaszka said. "The bottom line is they were part of the best season in Bunnell girls' soccer history by far. Obviously, I'm proud of them."

For the Falcons (16-2-1), it's their second straight trip to the L final and sixth time overall in a final, including three straight Class M championships from 2001-03.

Douglass' goal came on Avon's second shot of the second half with 24 minutes, 17 seconds left in the game. Kristina Shayler crossed the ball in from the left side. The ball got through to Douglass, who fired it past diving Bunnell goalkeeper Laura Collins to the left side of the net.

The Falcons were able to get off three more shots against Bunnell's defense. More importantly, their ability to possess the ball, and some good defense down the stretch, kept dangerous Bunnell forward senior Chelsea Boursiquot from scoring.

In fact, Bunnell never got off a single shot in the second half and only two overall. The Bulldogs also could not score off any of the four corner kicks they had in the opening half.

"We're used to the nice, plush grass in Avon, so (the field turf at Municipal) is a little quicker game for us, and we had to make adjustments," Avon coach Jim Murray said. "We did a good job doing what we needed to do, moving the ball, keeping possession as best we could. Bunnell kept coming at us right down the stretch."

Boursiquot was able to get behind Avon's defense on a through ball with 3:45 left, but Avon goalkeeper Kaylan Conrad was able to beat Bourisquot to the ball to end Bunnell's hopes of forcing overtime.

"I've watched (Boursiquot) play twice. You can't let her loose," Murray said.

"Conrad came out and, 'Is she going to get it? Is she going to get it?' But fortunately, the turf accelerated just enough to get it to Kaylan."