GHS junior Hailey Moriarty and Staple freshman Natalie Chudowsky chase after a loose ball during the Class LL state semifinals at Naugatuck High School on Nov. 16. Chudowsky would score a pair of goals as the Wreckers defeated the Guardians 3-0 to advance to the state championship game.
Glastonbury High School girls’ soccer fell to Staples 3-0 in the semifinals of the Class LL tourney at Naugatuck High School on Nov. 16.
Freshman Natalie Chudowsky netted two goals and her sister, Evelyn Chudowsky, scored the other as the Westport-based
Wreckers advanced to the Class LL state championship and ended the Guardians’ season.
“We just got completely outplayed,” GHS head coach Mark Landers said. “They beat us to every 50/50 ball. They were just better than we were,”
Thanks to a handful of saves from GHS goalie Marla Radikas, the game remained scoreless for the first 37 minutes before Natalie Chudowsky scored her first when she fired a rocket shot from the right hash to the left hand corner of the net.
Less than a minute later, the freshman sensation fired another shot on goal that Radikas dove to deflect, keeping it a one-score game at the half.
Six minutes into the second half, Evelyn Chudowsky scored after getting behind the Glastonbury defense and the younger Chudowsky sister added her second goal when she again found the left hand corner of the net in the 57th minute.
Landers called Natalie Chudowsky a “phenomenal player” and said both of her goals were “clinical.”
The Guardians best chance to score came in the 48th minute when Alayna Taylor created a one-on-one opportunity and fired a point blank shot, but Staples’ goalie Camille Kolek made a sliding deflection as soon as the ball left Taylor’s foot.
It was a bitter pill to swallow for a Guardians team that won 15 games and a Central Connecticut Conference championship in Lander’s second season on the sidelines.
After entering the state tourney as the No. 2 seed, Glastonbury beat Danbury and Fairfield-Warde to reach the state semifinal round for the first time since they beat Staples in the semifinals in 2019.
The loss this fall to Staples, the No. 3-seed, ended the high school careers for a dozen seniors.
For Landers, who took over the program a year ago after guiding the GHS boys’ program to eight state titles over 20 years, the Class of 2023 is a little extra special because his daughters, Kelsey and Mackenzie, are two of the 12 players that played their final high school game.
Landers credited the senior for persevering through the pandemic and building a positive culture within the program.
“[They] have been loyal to each other. They have loved and believed in each other,” added Landers. “It was pretty special to watch them come together as a family.
Four of the departing seniors have already committed to play soccer collegiately at the Division I level. Taylor is headed to The University of Connecticut, Gianna Angelillo will attend The University of Miami, Kelsey Landers is off to Iona College, and Mackenzie Landers is bound for Iona College
Losing to Staples was not how Landers envision the season ending, but he said it didn’t take away from what they were able to accomplish.
“We got better as the season wore on,” stated Landers. “We beat a couple of teams in the tournament and we only lost two games all year, so we improved from day one until where we are today.”
Following the victory over Glastonbury, Staples would defeat top-seed Cheshire, 4-1, in the Class LL championship game at Trinity Health Stadium in Hartford on Nov. 20 to capture the state championship for a second straight season.
The Glastonbury High School girls’ soccer team surrounds the team’s four Division I college commits at the player’s official Letter of Intent signing on Nov. 9. The four college-bound players are seated (from left) Kelsey Landers, Alayna Taylor, Mackenzie Landers, and Gianna Angelillo.
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Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin