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Gaelettes move into SCC semifinals

The Shelton High girls soccer team battled North Haven to a 1-1 draw in the regular-season finale for both sides at Finn Stadium on Friday afternoon.

Megan Burke staked the Gaelettes to an early 1-0 advantage, scoring off of a free kick from Alexis Zoppi, before the Indians leveled on Sarah Pandolfi’s second-half penalty kick.

Micaela Joyce made five saves and Jessica Wilm had seven stops in net for the Gaelettes, who finished their regular season with a 7-3-6 record. Gina Carbone made 10 saves for North Haven (7-6-3).

Shelton drew the fourth seed in the Southern Connecticut Conference tournament and hosted fifth-seeded Amity High at Finn Stadium in the quarterfinals on Saturday.

Behind a brace of goals from Burke and a single marker from Zoppi, the Gaelettes posted a 3-1 victory.

Joyce made 16 saves in net, with Cassie Giza netting the lone goal for Amity (11-4-2).

The Gaelettes advanced to face the winner of eighth-seeded Guilford High and top-seeded Mercy of Middletown in the semifinals on Thursday at Sheehan High in Wallingford.

Knowing it had a quick turnaround with a league playoff game on deck for Saturday, Shelton lengthened its bench facing North Haven — which posted a 3-0 win over the Gaelettes on Oct. 3.

Coach Marvin Miller used 27 players in total against the Indians, keeping a fresh rotation and substituting freely throughout the game.

“We changed our whole game plan,” Miller said. “We changed our whole lineup because we needed the rest for Saturday… The bench came up and played a great game.”

After limiting North Haven’s scoring chances in the first half, the Shelton backline of Sydney Spadinger, Stephanie Vahos, Nicole Wells and Marcelina Lombardi looked to turn back the Indians in the second half.

Maggie Sullivan fired wide of Shelton net, before Christina Sanzari had a shot saved by Wilm.

North Haven pulled level with 18:28 left to play, when the Gaelettes were whistled for a handball inside the penalty area.

“It was an inadvertent handball, but you can’t argue too much because it was pretty clear,” Miller said.

Pandolfi converted the penalty kick, providing the game’s final score line.

The sides went back and forth from there, with Miller praising the play of sophomore Taylor Nacovitch down the stretch.

“I don’t often come away saying I’m happy with a tie,” Miller said.

“But we were pretty happy with the result.”

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