The Shelton High girls soccer team lost a 4-0 decision to Fairfield Ludlowe in the first round of the Class LL state tournament on Friday at Taft Field.
Emily Matis and Lindsay Zilling netted two goals apiece — one in each half — as No. 16 seed Ludlowe cruised to the victory over a 17th-seeded Shelton squad that had ended its season the past two years.
It was the third year in a row, and fourth time in five years, that the Gaelettes faced the Falcons in states. All of the prior encounters were won by Shelton.
“We seem to keep running across them in states a lot,” Gaelette coach Marvin Miller said.
Ludlowe went on to drop a 1-0 decision to top-seeded Glastonbury on Monday afternoon.
“We talked at length this afternoon about their history with Shelton and we decided, as a team, we were putting that behind us,” first-year Ludlowe coach Kate Dawson said.
“This season was a fresh start.”
After some back-and-forth play to open the contest, the Falcons (10-6-2) began to take control behind the play of towering midfielder Kate Coyle and its dangerous attacking tandem of Matis and Zilling.
Zilling opened the scoring with 25:04 left in the first half, starting the Falcon deluge.
“We just couldn’t get back on top of our game,” Miller said.
“We didn’t take care of the ball well enough on offense when we had it, and we made too many mistakes when were on defense.”
Matis provided the knockout punch with 30.5 seconds left in the first half.
The senior ace caught Shelton’s defense playing too high, darting behind the backline and setting up a one-on-one with keeper Micaela Joyce.
In the second half, Ludlowe used its size to outmuscle Shelton, and control play until Matis put the game out of reach with a chipped goal with 21:04 left.
The Falcon defense of Courtney Mazza, Annie McNamara and Kate Walpole in front of sweeper Allyson Doyle, limited the attempts on keeper Bridget Clarke.
Clarke, a senior, recorded the clean sheet.
“They’re bigger than us,” Miller said. “That’s a battle we had to fight all year long… The physical game is not our game. We’re just not big enough and strong enough to battle.”
Shelton, which lost in the SCC final on an overtime penalty-kick goal to Branford, wrapped up its season at 9-4-6.
“It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster,” Miller said. “We’ve had to replace a lot of two-year starters and put a lot of new kids in roles.
“When we sit back and look at the body of work in a couple of weeks… We’ll be thinking about the things we did right… We’ll realize we learned a lot and got better…
“They always make me proud.”