Bobcats Advance on Karpiej’s Overtime Goal

SOUTH WINDSOR-The South Windsor Bobcats’ offense was quiet for 85 minutes and eighteen seconds on Wednesday, but junior Danielle Karpeij was not ready for her team’s season to end.

Karpeij netted a goal with 4:42 left in the first overtime to give South Windsor a 1-0 win over the visiting Greenwich Cardinals in the second round of the Class LL State Tournament.

“If you are going to lose, it’s best to lose on a goal like that,” Greenwich head coach Danny Simpson said of his team’s loss.  “They are a very formidable opponent.”

The Cardinals came into the game as the No. 26 seed with a record of 7-6-4, and advanced to the second round after beating seventh seeded Cheshire 2-1 on the road. South Windsor – seeded tenth – with a record of 12-4-1, played their second straight overtime game in the tournament after defeating No. 23 West Haven 3-0 in OT earlier this week. Both teams lost to eventual Class LL State Champions Newtown in last year’s tournament, Greenwich in the second round, and South Windsor in the quarterfinals.

A frustrating start was shared by both teams on Wednesday.

“We decided to boot the ball in the first half, and that’s just not us,” South Windsor head coach Ed Duclos said of his team’s performance.  “We weren’t creating like we normally do.”

The most promising offensive possession of the opening half for the Bobcats was a shot by Karpiej that was stopped by Greenwich keeper Kylie Ginsberg with 21:50 left. But the Bobcats made adjustments during the half, and were able to come out stronger offensively in the second.

“We are a possession team,” Duclos said.  “We started putting some touches together in the second half.”

South Windsor nearly scored on a beautiful header by Katherine Comeau off a corner kick from Karpiej that went just over the net with 18 minutes left in the second half. With just under five minutes remaining in the half, the Bobcats had another golden opportunity to score when Osheonna Isreal’s shot from close-range missed high. The real story in regulation was South Windsor’s defense, and a lot of credit has to be given to the Bobcat’s D for holding a tough Greenwich team scoreless.

Freshman keeper Keegan Caffrey had a fantastic game, making 16 saves for South Windsor. “We really worked hard and stopped them in the middle,” she said of her team.

Eighty minutes was not enough time for these two teams to decide who should advance, as the game went into overtime tied 0-0. “We are two very evenly matched teams,” Duclos said.  “I think that is very obvious.” South Windsor finally came through with under five minutes left in the first overtime when Karpiej made three great moves to get past defenders, and then finished a blast into the top right corner of the goal just out of the reach of a diving Ginsberg.

“I was so excited and happy,” Karpiej said of her clutch goal.  “I jumped into my teammates arms.  It was the best feeling ever.”

Karpiej’s goal would be all the offense South Windsor would need to hold on to a 1-0 win and advance to the quarterfinals for a second year in a row. “We have a tight knit group.  Everyone contributes in their own way,” Duclos said of his team looking forward. South Windsor will play second seeded Glastonbury at Glastonbury High School on Friday in the Class LL Quarterfinals.

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