Warde off to solid start at season’s halfway point
FAIRFIELD - The season has reached the halfway point and everything has progressed pretty much like Mustangs’ coach Tom Cunningham had hoped it would.
Eight games in and the Warde girls’ soccer team stands with six wins and is square in the middle of a battle royale in the FCIAC East Division with St. Joseph, Darien and Ridgefield for the top spot in the standings. On Monday, the Mustangs took care of business beating winless Danbury and set their sights on Darien on Wednesday before ending this busy week with a game today against Trinity Catholic.
“Coming into the season you never know what to expect,” Cunningham said after Warde’s 2-0 victory over the Hatters. “We saw the schedule, front half, back half … both parts are tough, so coming out 6-2, we’re where we want to be, maybe get a little better but we’re doing it one game at a time.”
The only two stains on the blotter are a 2-0 loss to West Division leader Staples and a 3-2 loss to East leader St. Joseph, games where the Mustangs didn’t showcase their best effort.
“We know that standard we need to play at,” senior midfielder Lauren Tangney said. “Those two losses, we know we have to play a full 80 minutes. We have to take things game by game, like we have all season. Every game counts. We take every game seriously. We can’t play with our heads down, you can’t stop playing.”
Since that loss to the Cadets, Warde has picked up the intensity and is playing with the strength that makes them a viable candidate for the FCIAC title. Wins over Central, Wilton, New Canaan and Danbury - all shutouts - have gotten the positive vibes going.
“We’re definitely confident going into these next couple of games, we’re on a nice win streak,” Tangney said. “I think the pieces are falling into place, people know their strengths and know how to play against other people’s strengths. It’s coming together and our work ethic is kicking in.”
The win over Danbury Monday was Warde’s fifth shutout of the season as junior goalkeeper Caleigh Walklet continues her stellar play.
“Caleigh is just a great presence for us,” Cunningham said. “She makes the stops that she needs to make, she’s where she needs to be when the ball is being played, we’ve worked on a few things with her and she’s playing a good game and preventing extra opportunities.
“It’s just trying to work a team mentality, 11 players playing defense, putting pressure on the ball, working hard up top. Our defense is doing a nice job and we have a good goalie in the back. She’s been playing solid all season and the girls are playing with confidence in front of her.”
Overall this season, Warde, and Walklet have allowed just six goals, a 0.75 goals against average.
And while the defense has been solid all season, the offense has also put together some decent numbers, scoring 22 goals, two coming from Andres in the win over the Hatters.
“It’s not just the goal scorers, it’s the people who are creating the goals too,” Cunningham said. . It has been a team effort. .”
Andres, Kaitlyn Walsh and Jane Boldrighini scored in the victory over New Canaan and Tangney got the goal in the win over Wilton, showing the diversity of the Mustangs’ offense.
“People are putting in the extra effort to get balls on goal, which in the past, might not have always been there in the past,” Tangney said. “Having different people able to score just makes us more dangerous going forward.”