GUILFORD — Once the opportunity at defending a state championship was not a possibility, the Guilford girls soccer players set their sights on a successful regular season and to win whatever the postseason experience provided.
Guilford won the SCC B Division regular-season crown, then attempted to win the division again in the postseason.
Top-seeded Guilford added another pair of shutouts in the tournament to give it nine for the season. But No. 3 Branford gave Guilford (8-1-3) all it could handle, as the 1-0 decision in overtime attests to.
“The message was to keep our composure, keep playing our game and when we possess the ball, the opportunities kept coming and one was bound to go in,” Guilford coach Regina Sullivan said. “Moira Kellaher made it happen.”
Yes it was Kellaher, a senior co-captain, who scored off Arianna Tomassi’s assist 4:15 into overtime to give Guilford the title.
“We really did not want to go into PKs,” Kellaher said. “Arianna Tomassi made a beautiful cross and I just touched it into the goal. It was perfectly placed.”
Guilford’s Moira Kellaher scored the game’s only goal in overtime to lead Guilford to the SCC Division B championship. Kelleher was the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. #ctgsoc pic.twitter.com/twLJPMQwaA
— Joe Morelli (@nhrJoeMorelli) November 14, 2020
Last season, Guilford won both the overall league championship, followed by the Class L state title a couple of weeks later. The COVID-19 pandemic eliminated state tournament play this year, instead keeping teams in regions, playing opponents within short driving distances.
Getting the opportunity to complete the season was an accomplishment in itself for all of those that did.
“Honestly, I did not think we would get to this point, but very glad we did,” Kellaher said. “It was a great season. I’m glad we got this far, even if we don’t have a state tournament.”
Said Sullivan: “I said (to the players during the season), ‘It could happen on any given day that they could shut us down.’ So we were really diligent about the protocols.. I’m just happy we made it this far. … I think they took it really seriously, were mindful of it, as well making some good choices not to gather. The temptation has been hard for them, but they stuck with it.”
Branford coach Jen Kohut used the word “blessed” to describe getting to the end of the season.
“We talked about it each day at practice, ‘Hey, we have another day.’ We never got shut down. It was an amazing season with a great group of girls.”
The Hornets posted eight shutouts themselves, including an 0-0 tie with Guilford on Oct. 19.
The defense was led by junior center back and captain Kendall Infantino and goalkeeper and co-captain Macey Girard, who had an 0.89 save percentage.
But Branford couldn’t keep Kellaher off the board in overtime.
“We talked about in the beginning of overtime be the team that came out being the aggressor we instead played on our heels,” Kohut said.
Kohut started five freshman so the future looks bright for the Hornets. Guilford loses 10 seniors.
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