Bunnell wins after stellar save in goal

New Fairfield’s senior co-captain Dominique DeMarsico not only got a good jump on the ball, she used her speed to break in solo on goal in the Rebels South-West Conference soccer game last Thursday evening against Bunnell in Stratford.

DeMarsico did what all proficient goal-scorers try to do; she sought out what she thought would be the best part of the net to kick the ball into. She went to the far post on the Bulldogs’ sophomore keeper Sarah Tartaglio.

Tartaglio timed her leap with precision and deflected what had all the appearance of being a “sure goal.”

A little over a minute into the game, the Bulldogs had taken away a good effort and followed that by gaining momentum.

They got first-half goals from Samantha Vitka (23 minutes in) and from another sophomore, Olivia Kells, en route to a 2-0 victory and their third consecutive victory after going winless in their first seven games (0-4-3).

“Sometimes, you need a play like that (Tartaglio’s save) to happen in a game like this,” Bunnell coach Sebastian Wojdaszka said. “We didn’t play well, yet we came away with a positive decision. That is very important at this time of the season. More work needs to be done in our midfield. We’re not controlling play anywhere near as well as we should.”

Bunnell’s opening goal came off a free kick from back Holly Rosa. She launched the ball in from around 40 yards out, where Vitka found it and sent a long, high kick over New Fairfield goalkeeper Vianna Bisani’s head.

A little under three minutes later, at the 20:53 mark Vitka teamed with Kells on a nicely timed play through the middle. After receiving the ball, Kells found her way through the Rebels’ defense and finished.

“We work well together,” Vitka said about her play with Kells. “We just love to get each other the ball when we can. Getting assists gives me as much satisfaction as scoring goals.”

Vitka admitted that the save by Tartaglio was a momentum changer.

“We needed this win,” she said. “That ball goes in and right away we’re playing from behind. It might’ve changed our strategy.”

The loss was New Fairfield’s seventh in nine outings.

“We really needed to score from the outset and we got that chance,” said third-year coach Adam Cannale, a former player at New Fairfield. “We’re very quick and we’re very aggressive and we have speed up front.

“Tonight we had several very good opportunities to score. Even after their first goal, we missed a chance. Being down 2-0 going into the second half is never a position you want to be in. It allowed them to play a little more conservatively.”

Each side finished with 11 shots while New Fairfield had six corner kicks compared to two for Bunnell.

Tartaglio wound up with eight saves, of which five came in the second half.

“It’s funny because I normally split up the goalkeeping,” Wojdaszka said. “Tonight, because Sarah played so well in the first half, I decided to leave her in.”

It proved to be a very prudent decision.

Bunnell still needs a few more wins to make both the state (Class L) and SWC playoffs.

“The perception would be that we’ve played the tougher part of our schedule,” Wojdaszka said. “I tend to think that we have just as many tougher opponents left.”

Bunnell dropped a 1-0 decision to Foran High on Saturday. After a game with Notre Dame, the Bulldogs will host Immaculate of Danbury tonight at 7.

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