STRATFORD—After Tuesday night’s game with arch-rival Bunnell, Stratford High sophomore midfielder Elle Moshier told teammates she had a migraine.
She’s certainly been a headache for the Bulldogs over these past two years.
For the second year in a row, Moshier delivered the game-winning goal in one of the intra-town rivalry games, this time scoring with 12.7 seconds left in the second overtime to give the Red Devils a thrilling 8-7 win over Bunnell at the BHS field.
“It was really nerve-wracking and at the end, I kind of blacked out,” Moshier said. “As soon as I got the ball, I was going in and I saw the defender coming at me. I just switched hands, went to the open space and I just bounced the ball off the ground and in.”
Moshier—who led Stratford with four goals—had a chance to win the game in the first overtime on a nearly identical play but shot the ball high.
“I knew not to go high because I went over the top a little bit,” Moshier said. “I had just made that mistake, so the second time I tried to go low.”
It was Stratford’s third straight win after opening the season with a five-game losing streak.
Amanda Ogrodowicz, who was vital on face-offs, added three goals for the Red Devils while Edie Threshie added a single tally and an assist. Goalie Helen Lefever had six saves.
“This game is a huge game rivalry-wise, but we needed this game badly no matter who it was,” Stratford coach Sarah Stevens said. “It feels great to win three in a row and we have two competitive games coming up. We’re looking to keep the ball rolling in the right direction.”
Bunnell, which fell to 2-5, was led by freshman Mariana Trovarelli, who had three goals and an assist. Morgan Reilly had two goals and an assist with Maura Kelly and Christina DiBenedetto notching single tallies. Goalie Tatiana Wright made 12 saves.
“I think the transition kind of stopped, both teams were pushing a little tighter,” Bunnell coach Meghan Letko said. “We just need to make better decisions. I hope we play a little more composed the next time around.”
Bunnell led 3-2 at the half and over the course of the first 15 minutes of the second half, the two teams went back and forth at each other until the game was tied at 7-7 with 10 minutes to play.
Over the final 10 minutes of play and much of both overtimes, as the game grew tighter, so too did the defenses.
“I try to talk as much as I can. I’m kind of a loud screamer,” Lefever said. “But honestly I couldn’t have done it without the defense. They didn’t let anything past them in how long?”
The Bulldogs defense was equally as tight on its end of the field, holding Threshie (who had 32 goals in Stratford’s first seven games) to a single tally.
In the final minute of the second overtime, though, the Red Devils remained cool and found a way to win.
“That’s how we should have played the whole game,” Stevens said. “We stayed calm and collected in the last minute. We got a little bit crazy at points in the game, but I think it’s the rivalry. Some of these girls are best friends with girls on the Bunnell team. It’s hard to stay calm, but when we needed to stay calm, we succeeded.”
When Moshier got the ball with the seconds ticking down, she knew what she had to do with it—the same thing she did a year ago when she scored the game-winner in Stratford’s 8-7 win in 2018.
“Honestly, it’s one of the best feelings you can ever experience,” Stratford senior captain Julia Mahoney said of beating Bunnell. “I knew as she went in, she did had it. She’s Elle. She’s always got it. She’s a beast.”
A year ago, in the second meeting between the teams, Bunnell bounced back for a 10-1 win at Penders Field. The two teams will meet again on Saturday, May 11 at 3 p.m.