Hand and Guilford Play to a 2-2 Tie
Sophomore Lydia Doraz netted the equalizer when the Hand girls’ soccer squad rallied for a 2-2 tie at Guilford last week. (Photo by Kelley Fryer/The Source | Buy This Photo)
Junior Maddie Hummel scored a goal for the Tigers in their 2-2 road draw against SCC rival Guilford on Oct. 8. (Photo by Kelley Fryer/The Source | Buy This Photo)
Senior Sophia Gabriel scored a goal when the Guilford girls’ soccer squad played Hand to a 2-2 tie last week. (Photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
Senior Moira Kellaher and the Guilford girls’ soccer team stand at 2-0-1 this year after earning a win and a tie in recent action. (Photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
The Daniel Hand girls' soccer team wanted to flip the script when it faced Guilford for the second time in six days last week. After taking a 1-0 loss to Guilford in their season opener, the Tigers battled back from a two-goal deficit to earn a 2-2 draw against their Southern Connecticut Conference rival at Kavanaugh Field on Oct. 8.
Hand now has a record of 1-1-1 in its first season with Head Coach Rob McConville. The Tigers had claimed a 3-1 road win versus Branford earlier in the week before notching a point with their tie against Guilford.
"We just focused on challenging more 50-50 balls. We knew we could get forward a little bit more," Coach McConville said. "[Guilford] had a few players that we just had to take out of the game up top. That was our focus. Once we were able to move those pieces in, we just came out with a lot of energy in the second half and controlled the pace of the game."
Senior midfielder Moira Kellaher got the scoring started for Guilford by netting a goal in the 11th minute of the game off a pass from senior forward Sophia Gabriel. Kellaher was unmarked in the box and fired a shot with her left foot that found the back of the net to give Guilford a 1-0 lead. Junior forward Gabby Sansone followed that up by scoring Guilford's second goal of the game in the 30th minute on an assist from senior midfielder Lexie Greene.
Guilford came into the Hand game on the heels of an 8-0 victory at Wilbur Cross on Oct. 5. Regina Sullivan, who is in her first year as Guilford's head coach, felt that her team played an excellent first half against Hand, but then made a few costly mistakes during the second half of play.
"I think we maintained possession of the ball well. I think the communication was there, and the effort was 100 percent in the first half," said Sullivan, whose club is 2-0-1. "The biggest difference was the work ethic in the first half. [Hand's] pace was quicker, and I think we made several poor decisions in the second half, and that cost us."
Hand controlled possession in the second half on its way to outshooting Guilford by an 8-4 margin in the stanza. Junior forward Maddie Hummel scored her first goal of the season in the 42nd minute on a through ball played by sophomore midfielder Lily Fried. About 12 minutes later, junior forward Mia Forti played a ball into the box, and sophomore forward Lydia Doraz sent it home to even the score at 2-2, which held up as the final. Junior goalie Brooke Salutari picked up the win in net for the Tigers.
Hummell said that it meant the world to her to help spark the Tigers' comeback by netting her first goal of the year.
"It felt good. Our team—that's how we can play, how we played in the second half," said Hummell. "I think when we play at our best, it's fun to watch. I'm excited to continue to improve and see where we can go with this team."
Guilford had a chance to recapture the lead in the final moments of the game, when Kellaher took a shot that deflected off the crossbar. Greene felt like Guilford could have played with more energy in the second half, but knows that's something her squad can improve upon moving forward.
"I think Hand came out stronger than us. At halftime, we were up 2-0, but I don't think we matched their intensity in the second half," Greene said. "We let them get all over us, and we got nervous. It wasn't as pretty as the first half."
Senior defender Kelsey Lynch expressed similar sentiments regarding Guilford's second-half performance.
"We need to adjust to how the other team comes at us," said Lynch. "It was more us on the attack in the first half. In the second half, Hand really attacked us well, but we need to be able to adjust better."
A few days before defeating Guilford, Hand picked up its first win in 2020 by posting a 3-1 road victory at Branford on Oct. 6. Forti, sophomore midfielder Maya Howard, and junior forward Lila Sullivan scored the Tigers' goals in the victory.
Coach McConville was pleased to see Hand rebound from its opening loss to Guilford by having a nice week that featured a win and a tie. McConville also feels happy that the Tigers are getting to play soccer at all this fall given the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We're following all the guidelines, and the girls have adjusted nicely to it," said McConville. "We're doing everything we are supposed to, and we are taking it as well as we can, one day at a time."
On the other side of the field, Coach Sullivan wants to make sure that Guilford's athletes to stick together in order to push past any setbacks that come their way throughout the campaign.
"I want to see the team continue to work on not giving up on each other," Sullivan said. "We need to be able to get over setbacks, step up, and move on when we make a mistake."