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Colligan Carries Greenwich to Thrilling 1-0 Win

GREENWICH, Conn. – Greenwich High School’s girls soccer team is playing with a target on its back this season as defending conference champions. Luckily, Greenwich has Shannon Colligan .

The Cardinals' North Carolina State University-bound senior tri-captain had her fingerprints all over Thursday's 1-0 win against McMahon. But it was a highlight reel free kick that stole the show.

After a frustrating first half, Greenwich finally caught a break and was awarded a free kick eight minutes into the second half. Colligan made it look like McMahon's defensive wall was not even there, bending the shot over their heads from 25-yards out and placing the ball perfectly into the low left corner for the game's only score.

"We had a lot of pressure on us in the second half. There were a lot of balls in the air tonight because of the wind, so I wanted to make sure we won those 50-50 battles," Colligan said. "McMahon really brought it tonight and it was a fantastic test for us for the second game of the season. Our team handled it well."

Playing what Greenwich head coach Danny Simpson called "the best McMahon squad I've seen" in his seven years at the helm, the Cardinals dodged bullet after bullet.

The Senators were a clearly improved bunch, penetrating the Greenwich zone almost at will in the second half. McMahon had difficulty following up second chance balls, though, and Colligan seemed to materialize out of thin air to clear the ball out of the Greenwich zone each time.

Disaster almost struck when McMahon’s Jazmin Hernandez bounced a ball over the head of Greenwich’s sophomore goalkeeper Maddie Graham. As Shawnique Samuels followed up the shot, she collided with Graham as the ball trickled into the net. The goal was disallowed, but likely would have gone in anyways if Samuels had not interfered.

Graham drew some gasps when Hernandez took a last-second desperation shot from 40-yards out on a free kick that briefly slipped through the keeper's fingers, but she recovered to secure the victory.

"[McMahon] pushed the FCIAC champions to the limit. They deserve a lot of credit," Simpson said. "When you have a special player like Shannon, usually the cream rises to the top. Tonight she showed why we think she's the best player in the league."

Now 2-0 on the young season , Greenwich will travel to Bridgeport Central on Monday for a 4 p.m. game.

Follow Eric Gendron on Twitter for the latest MSC-Fairfield County sports coverage. Like The Daily Greenwich on Facebook .

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