Published November 09. 2013 4:00AM
Montville - Down to perhaps the final 10 minutes of its soccer season, the St. Bernard School girls willed their way to an improbable victory.
Trailing 2-1 after the first 10-minute overtime, Natalie McPhee tie the game with six minutes remaining in the second overtime and Shannon Amarello scored her first career goal three minutes later to give the second-seeded Saints a wild 3-2 victory over No. 10 Litchfield in the CIAC Class S quarterfinals Friday.
"This is my 11th year in high school girls' soccer and I've never seen a more resilient team than what I saw tonight," St. Bernard coach Chris Ghiglia said. "They refused to die. Down 2-1 in overtime they could have easily folded, but they would not quit.
"They were absolutely determined to win tonight."
The Saints (16-4) will play No. 11 Old Saybrook in the semifinals either Monday or Tuesday at a site and time to be determined. Old Saybrook upset No. 3 Coginchaug on penalty kicks Friday.
St. Bernard, which held a 15-6 edge in shots, actually rallied twice. The Saints trailed 1-0 at halftime before tying the game on a goal by Ali Patterson eight minutes into the second half.
Litchfield's Tara Shakley, who scored both goals, then gave the Cowboys a 2-1 lead two minutes into the first overtime before the Saints staged their dramatic comeback.
Ghiglia said Amarello's go-ahead goal was a thing of beauty. Following a McPhee corner kick, the ball rolled right to the foot of Amarello, a junior defender who blasted a shot from 25 yards out into the upper corner of the net.
"The ball just trickled out to (Amarello) and she hit it clean," Ghiglia said.
Goalie Alex Santiago made five saves for the Saints.
"We have eight seniors on field at all times," Ghiglia said. "And when you have that type of leadership, you know they will not back down."
In another state tournament game:
• Brooke Davis scored a pair of second half goals as top-seeded RHAM defeated No. 9 East Lyme 2-0 in the Class L quarterfinals.
Davis broke a scoreless tie just 4:36 into the second half and added an insurance goal with 5:13 remaining.
East Lyme, recent winner of the Eastern Connecticut Conference tournament, finishes 18-4.
• No. 5 Waterford, the Eastern Connecticut Conference Medium Division champion, beat No. 13 Brookfield to advance to the semifinals of the CIAC Class M tournament. Waterford (15-6) plays No. 1 Woodland Wednesday at a time and site to be determined. Woodland beat No 8 Tolland 3-2. Waterford won 25-12, 25-22, 25-20.
Amanda Tourjee had 38 assists, Megan Elphick had eight aces, Lexi Moger had 16 kills, Vanessa Kobyluck had seven blocks and Jill Sykora had 28 digs for Waterford.
• Two local teams remaining in the CIAC tournament will play quarterfinal round games today.
In Class M, No. 6 Montville will play host to No. 11 Ellington at 5 p.m., and in Class S, No. 9 Old Lyme will visit Shoreline Conference rival Old Saybrook, the top seed, at 2 p.m.