By BRIAN JENNINGS
With a pair of wins capping a five-game winning streak, the Lady Knight field hockey team overcame their 1-4 start and qualified for the Class L tournament for the first time since 2014.
Now, Southington turns their sights on the postseason…and advancing. Southington coach Erin Luddy said that this year’s team will have the opportunity to prove that they are even better than the one in 2014. It was a long time coming.
“I have a few girls that have been playing with me since they were sophomores,” said Luddy. “They wanted to do better, succeed, and kind of put it all in. I see that with these seniors.
Southington’s experience has paid off where it counts—on the scoreboard. Last year, Southington averaged just one goal per game (16), but this year’s Knights are averaging almost three goals per game. In just 14 games, Southington has scored 37 times and have been able to come back against adversity.
“I think they feel more comfortable and in control,” the coach said. “We continued to fight and believe that we could win.”
The Knights will look to fight for better seeding in the tournament this week when they host divisional opponents East Catholic (6-8) on Monday, Oct. 30 and Avon (7-6-1) in their regular season finale on Wednesday, Nov. 1. Southington is currently 8-6 and are above .500 for the first time since the opening week of the season.
Win at EO Smith
OCT. 25—It took an extra period to clinch a playoff berth, but the Knights qualified for the state tournament on Wednesday after edging EO Smith, 3-2, by a run in overtime on the road.
Taryn Asselin and Gabrielle Petrone gave the Panthers a two-goal advantage at halftime with a pair of scores coming less than three minutes into the game. Emma Doran assisted Jenna Sheehan with a goal less than three minutes into the second half to bring the Knights to within one, and Doran returned to knot the score with a goal midway through the half, eventually sending the contest into overtime.
The Knights wasted no time. Twenty seconds into the extra period, Sheehan took an initial shot on goal that was stopped by the goalie, but not cleared. Brooke Lynch clubbed the rebound in the cage for the game-winning goal.
Maddie Belfonti saved two of EO Smith’s four shots in the cage. Southington took 17 shots on goal and 14 penalty corners.
Win at Newington
OCT. 27—Southington escaped a close call by nearly handing the winless Indians their first victory of the season, prevailing in overtime to earn their fifth-straight win on Friday after edging divisional Newington, 2-1, by a goal on the road.
Nicky Martocchio put the Knights on the board first with a goal off a rebounded shot on a penalty corner by Sydney Rice, less than four minutes into the game. Newington’s Sam Guidice knotted up the score with little over six and a half minutes remaining in the half, eventually sending the contest into overtime.
With a little over two minutes to go in the extra period, Martocchio scored the game-winning goal on a scramble in front of the cage on a rebounded shot by Lauren Graef.
Belfonti saved three of Newington’s six shots in the cage. Southington took five shots on goal and five penalty corners.
For this week’s box scores, click here: (southingtonobserver.com/2017/11/01/weekly-scoreboard-for-the-nov-3-edition). To contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at BJennings@SouthingtonObserver.com.