By BRIAN JENNINGS
The Lady Knight field hockey team struggled to take shots on goal last season, averaging one goal a game. One of their main objectives coming into this season was to take more shots on goal, especially as soon as the ball entered the offensive circle.
The Knights split their first two contests of the season with a win and a loss, but displayed their remodeled offense with seven goals in their first game, which is more than they scored in any single game last season.
“It was nice,” said Southington coach Erin Luddy. “We’ve had games in the past where we’ve held the ball a lot and took shots, but just never seemed to get the goals. We understood that this year. When we hit that circle, it’s shoot on goal.”
Win vs. NW Catholic
SEPT. 12—The Lady Knights shot into the regular season with a 7-1 triumph over divisional NW Catholic at home on Tuesday.
Jenna Sheehan (1 assist) marshaled the offense with four goals, all coming in the second half.
“Jenna had the touch,” said Luddy. “She was in the right spot at the right time, and it was just amazing to watch.”
Nicole Martocchio backed Sheehan with a pair of scores in the first half. Maddie Belfonti saved seven shots on goal.
The team took 11 shots on goal and 11 penalty corners. Taking that many shots on goal was something out of the norm for the Knight last season.
“Normally, we’re on the defensive a lot more than we’re on the offensive,” the coach said. “So, to enter the season with that was ideal. It gave them a lot of confidence going into a rather difficult stretch with a lot of tough games coming up.”
Loss vs. Simsbury
SEPT. 15—Following their win over NW Catholic, the Knights suffered their first of the season after falling by a goal, 4-3, to Simsbury at home to round out the week on Friday. Simsbury entered the game tied for first in Class L and the CCC.
The Trojans took a 4-1 lead heading into halftime, scoring all of their goals in the first half.
“We were kind of out of it in the beginning,” said Southington assistant coach Jill Pomposi. “Once Sydney (Rice) scored the first goal, we woke up and could play with these guys. It just stunk that we were checked out for the first part of the first half.”
Martocchio brought the Knights to within two scores with a goal, assisted by Jenna Sheehan, midway through the second half. Sheehan hooked up with Martocchio again with just over four and a half minutes remaining in regulation to bring the Knights within one, but it was too little too late.
“We possessed the ball way more than they did in the second half,” said Pomposi. “We had opportunities in the first half, but didn’t capitalize until the last couple of opportunities. We kept knocking more and more in the second half, and more goals dropped.”
The Knights finished with nine shots on goal and two penalty corners. Belfonti saved 10 shots in the cage. Starting defenseman Molly Dobratz went down with an injury in the game and could possibly be out for the remainder of the season.
The team was without Luddy coaching on the sidelines on Friday, due to personal reasons. Luddy could possibly be lost for the season as well. Pomposi would step in if need be.
The Knights will be back on the turf this week when they travel to divisional Glastonbury (3-0) on Tuesday, Sept. 19 and Enfield (2-0) on Friday, Sept. 22. Glastonbury and Enfield are both currently tied for first in Class L and the CCC. Southington is currently 1-1.
For this week’s box scores, click here: (southingtonobserver.com/2017/09/19/weekly-scoreboard-for-the-sept-22-edition). To contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at BJennings@SouthingtonObserver.com.