By PHIL BRODSKY
Orange Live Sports Writer
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Thanks in large part to the play of Meghan Howard, the Amity girls soccer team picked up three big Southern Connecticut Conference wins last week. The Lady Spartans knocked off Branford (2-1), Sheehan (2-0), and Jonathan Law (2-0) and improved their midseason record to 6-2-1 (2-2 against Housatonic Division opponents).
Branford (now 4-3) scored first when Kara Nardella cashed in with 28 minutes, 56 seconds gone in the first half. The Hornets held that lead until Kate Simon gathered in Cassie Giza’s feed and knocked in the game tying goal at 60:40. Less than five minutes later Howard fed the ball to Tara Ramierez and she booted the game winning home (at 65:11).
According to Coach Owen Quigley, “This is the best Branford team in the last six or seven years. We were tired, coming off the Shelton game on Saturday. It took a lot out of us. They caught us flat footed and we didn’t realize it. They gave a good account of themselves but we still outshot them 10-6. We scored twice in the second half and we should have added to that total—but didn’t. Kate Simon and Cassie Giza both played very well. All in all, I’d say it was a good team effort. No one really stood out and we didn’t play all that well.
Amity goalie Zoie Reed recorded four saves.
Following a scoreless first half against Sheehan, the Lady Spartan cashed in twice during the final 40 minute session. Howard (on a pass from Allie Maier) and Ramierez (from Giza) provided the winners with their margin of victory. The Black and Gold outshot the Titans 16-4 and Reed recorded four saves.
“We had a much better performance against Sheehan. We moved the ball really well. I think Meghan Howard had half of our shots,. She controlled the entire game,” Quigley said. “I am really pleased with Tara Ramierez’s work. She is steady and exceptionally versatile. I know I can put her wherever we need her. While that’s great for us as a team, it also hurts her as an individual player because she cannot focus on being the best she can be at any one position. Against Sheehan I used her on defense and up top.”
Reed made five saves against the 3-2-2 Titans.
Amity scored a goal in each half against Law. With four minutes gone in the game, Howard found the net on a 25 foot blast for an unassisted goal and she headed in Giza’s corner kick during the second half.
Quigley added, “We should have put Law away in the first half, but didn’t. It was not a great game for us,. We hit the post once and had some easy chances to score. Meghan Howard was the best player on the field by a mile. Once again, Tara (Ramierez) played really well. Dakota Kelly anchored our defense and distributed the ball really well. In addition, Kate Simon does things no one else can do. She’s not flashy but she never stops working.”
The winners outshot Law 29-13 and goalie Cali Daly made six stops.