Ellington Girls Score Exciting Comeback Win Over Granby

By Matt Stevens

GRANBY – Behind the swift feet of sophomore striker Lily Caso, the Ellington Knights girls soccer team secured an important 2-1, come-from-behind victory over host Granby in an NCCC girls soccer showdown Tuesday night.

The first half of the game, Ellington couldn’t seem to catch a break.

The Bears scored in the 34th minute on a softly hit ball that looped toward the goal and skidded on the turf past Ellington goalie Courtney Fitzsimmons. Despite the late goal, Ellington Coach David LaPorte spent the intermission doing his best to keep the Knight’s spirits up.

His halftime speech seemed to work.

“I just told them, ‘Keep calm. You’re a good team,’’ LaPorte said. “Just focus on the simple techniques of passing, of long ball, and dribbling, and it will come. Just be patient and be persistent.’ They did, and they were awesome in the second half.’’

The Knights indeed looked like a different team for the final 40 minutes.

Working down the wing, Caso took a shot in the 54th minute that looked like a cross, but looped in over the head of the Granby goalie.

“I was really itching for a goal all night,” Caso said. “I knew they had a really strong defense, and the best way I was going to score was rip it outside, and once I did, I got it. The confidence that I gave my team, and that I gave myself, was really big.”

“Once we scored the first goal, you saw the momentum shift,” LaPorte said.

The Knights kept up the attacking, and 5 minutes later, a through ball was played forward that Caso won from the Granby defender 15 yards from the net, and punched in for a more traditional goal.

“That was just amazing,” Caso said. “I was just so happy. I knew I could do it, and my teammates were behind me and it was a great ball.”

“When the second goal came, they [Granby] started panicking, and we had even more seams to play into,” LaPorte said.

The Knights were then able to settle back and play defense, warding off several Granby attacks down the stretch.

The coach had plenty to say about his game-winning striker.

“She’s a great scorer,” LaPorte said. “Last year, she was our third leading scorer on the team. This year, she’s struggled, because she’s marked. They put two or three players on her every match, so what happens is, she then becomes the ‘assister,’ the server, and unfortunately, because she’s so fast, sometimes we can’t keep up with that [and get other players in position to strike].”

Caso said she hopes her team carries that confidence the rest of the season.

“When you’re down 1-0, you can come back, and we are the team that can fight back,” she said. “I’m really proud of our performance tonight. I think we’ve got a good perspective.”

LaPorte said his team needs to keep that presence of mind, regardless of game situation, and that will enable them to go far this season.

“We lost three of our top goal scorers,” LaPorte said. “We’re going to have to dig deep, like we did in the second half of this game, and come together as a team and pick up the pieces.”

Ellington is set to play Coventry on Oct. 14, which LaPorte said could also be a tough matchup. The two teams tied, 1-1, in an earlier contest.

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