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Bears give Lancers tough test

STONINGTON — Stonington High’s girls’ soccer team gave unbeaten Waterford all it could handle Wednesday, and coach Dave Walsh thinks its a sign of things to come.

The Bears jumped out to an early lead in the ECC Medium Division game, fell behind, and then tied the score late before falling to the Lancers 4-3.

After Melino Spanos gave Waterford the 4-3 lead, the Bears had a couple of chances to get even again, Walsh said.

“We kept scrapping, we just didn’t finish. But we’ll take it. It was our best game so far. We played against a very good team and we fought for 80 minutes,” he said.

Waterford (6-0-1, 4-0 ECC-Medium) outscored the opposition 15-0 in its first six games.

Gabby Silvia put Stonington in front 1-0 just under 8 minutes into the game, assisted by Ella Rath.

“Ella played a ball in. It bounced once and Gabby hit a half-volley over the keeper’s head,” Walsh said. “There were some good shots in this game. It was a typical Waterford-Stonington war.”

Six minutes later, Tara Watrous made it 2-0.

“She got the ball around midfield, dribbled to just outside the 18 and hit a shot. She was a little off balance, but she drove it past the keeper chest-high to the keeper’s right,” Walsh said.

Waterford made it 2-1 with 4:30 left in the first half and tied the score early in the second half off a corner kick that the Bears had trouble clearing.

Hannah Swanson put the Lancers in front 3-2 with 15:30 left on a free kick, but Sarah Thomas tied the score on a 25-yard free kick with 10:10 remaining.

“It went just under the bar and just inside the upright. It was a perfectly-placed ball,” Walsh said.

Spanos scored the winner with 6:20 to go on what Walsh called a breakaway.

“She’s a very talented kid,” Walsh said. “She just beat my kids on the dribble. (Keeper) Gabi (Hoops) came out and she put it underneath Gabi from maybe 12 yards out.”

Walsh said Spanos, who had scored earlier, made about a 30-yard run in line with the right post and put the ball inside the same post.

Stonington (3-5, 2-2 ECC-Medium) had 12 shots and two corners. Hoops made 10 saves. Waterford had 13 shots and three corners and Amber Heenan made eight saves.

Asked what the fine performance says about the Bears, Walsh said “They’re getting hunger. We finally settling down and training hard.

“We started slow. We had a tough schedule n the beginning. There were a couple of games we didn’t show and we’re paying the price.

“I knew it would take awhile. We’re very young, but we’re coming around. I think this is really going to be our coming out. I think we’re going to play much better from here on out.”

Stonington plays again Friday, hosting Montville at 3:45 p.m.

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