BRISTOL - With the clock reading 5:53 to go in the second half on Friday night and the game tied 2-2, Naugatuck’s Erin Doris whiffed at the ball trying to get it out of the Greyhounds’ zone and St. Paul’s Kendall Davis possessed the ball with a chance to score her third goal of the game and put the Falcons up 3-2.
Davis saw an opening and had the angle needed to target it on the right side of Naugatuck goalie Sydney O’Donnell, but missed just wide, hitting the post, and the ball bounced back into the middle, but the Greyhounds got the ball back in what turned out to be a big missed opportunity.
That opportunity wasn’t the last though, as St. Paul once again got its chance to go ahead with Davis forcing a free kick for her team that Briana Senese kicked just over the net as the clock hit 0:00.
The Falcons walked away with a 2-2 draw.
“I was frustrated,” Senese said. “It was really hard to focus when there was only 10 seconds left and the clock was still running.”
It is a tough one for the Falcons, as they controlled the game throughout. It was one minute of play in the second half during which the Greyhounds scored both of their goals on defensive lapses by St. Paul.
“It was just a few mistakes with communication,” Falcons goalkeeper Nina Zwolinski said. “We weren’t really telling each other where their players were and they managed to sneak through and they got two really good shots that went over my head.”
In the first half, both teams came out sluggish, but it didn’t take long for St. Paul to find out how to attack the Naugatuck defense.
Senese led Davis with a pass and Davis sprinted down the field to the ball, beating the defense and allowing the goalie no time to come out as she put a shot past O’Donnell for the game’s first goal.
“[Kendall] is fast, which you can tell,” St. Paul’s Addison Davis said. “She’s faster than any defender in the NVL, I’d have to say. Her strength is more on the outside and she’s good on one v. keepers.”
Later in the half, it was again Davis scoring and no different from the first time, as she used her speed to beat the defense - this time on a through pass from Carolyn DeDebbio.
Zwolinski was nothing short of brilliant in the first half, making a pair of remarkable saves, one a shot by the Greyhounds’ Emma Sonski that she dove on the ground to stop and the second another shot by Sonski that Zwolinski came out on and took off of her chest.
Going into the half, the Falcons held a 2-0 lead behind the pair of goals from Davis and the strong play by Zwolinski and the defense in front of her, especially Hannah Sanford, who played a physical game and didn’t let much by her.
In the second half, St. Paul looked sluggish at the start and Naugatuck capitalized twice within a minute.
The Greyhounds’ Hailey Boulanger had an open opportunity from about 20 yards out and placed it over Zwolinki’s head for the first Naugatuck goal.
Then Sonski finally delivered a goal of her own after being denied multiple times by Zwolinski in the first half.
Those two goals and the two missed opportunities for St. Paul in the second half on the Davis shot and Senese free kick were the offensive opportunities seen on each side.
As a team, the Falcons outshot the Greyhounds 11-10 and Zwolinski made six saves in the game for St. Paul.
Those two goals proved to be the difference in a draw rather than a win for the Falcons.
“We had our chance,” St. Paul head coach Jim Husbands said. “You saw the shot that Kendall [Davis] had and ricocheted back into the middle. Two inches more the other way and it’s a 3-2 win for us.”
With the draw, the Falcons add another tie to their season and sit at 6-2-3 on the year, while Naugatuck gets its second draw of the season and is 8-2-2.
Dan Orencole can be reached at or On Twitter: @OrencoleDan