By KEVIN ROBERTS
It was a wild week for the Southington girls soccer team, which emerged from a rain-soaked game and an overtime contest with two road victories.
The Lady Devils defeated NW Catholic 3-2 in West Hartford on Oct. 2 in a game where only one half was played due to weather.
“We left the field not knowing if we won the game, or whether we would need to play the second half,” said Lady Knight coach Mike Linehan, “or maybe replay the entire game from the start. After verification of the CIAC rule, we were awarded the win.”
On Oct. 5, Southington edged Simsbury, 2-1, in overtime with Shannon Litchfield scoring both goals.
The win was a big one for the Lady Knights.
“A very competitive game,” Linehan said. “We have not had much success versus Simsbury for the past several years, yet we all felt this time might be different.”
Here’s what happened in the two games.
Weather shortens game, but Knights win
OCT. 2—The weather was all kinds of nasty on this day, with heavy rains, wind and even lightning in Southington.
The girls soccer team dealt with some of the same wacky weather in West Hartford. NW Catholic gave Southington more than the weather to focus on with two goals in the first 10 minutes of the contest.
“We did not panic and made a few substitutions, along with a change in our formation, then the game changed in our favor,” Linehan said.
Momentum quickly swung to the Lady Knights on goals by Natalie Verderame, Alli Carr and Shannon Litchfield. Emma Panarella provided two assists. Southington led 3-2 into halftime, and then the weather took over. The game ended at halftime, and the Lady Knights improved to 7-1. Olivia Sherwood made four saves for Southington.
The Lady Knights ended the first half of the season with a Class LL state tournament bid in hand, but in search of more success.
“Qualifying for the tournament this early in the season is an accomplishment, but our goal is to position ourselves as a top seed,” Linehan said.
Southington took another step toward that seeding goal with a huge win over Simsbury.
Lady Knights savor Simsbury win
OCT. 5—Southington controlled play with its midfield for most of the game, but it took overtime to earn the victory.
Litchfield put the Lady Knights ahead 1-0 at the half by scoring with just three seconds left on the clock. Her goal was assisted by Maya Wroblewski.
“Abby Sowa, Emma Panarella and Maya Wroblewski controlled the midfield for most of the game,” Linehan said.
Simsbury got the equalizer in the second half off of a long throw-in, but the Southington defensive backfield of Alijah Vega, Jordan Beaudoin, Katherine Crouse and Marisa Imme played well and kept the game tied.
The first of two five-minute overtimes was scoreless, but Litchfield scored a minute into the second overtime off a corner kick from Wroblewski and the Lady Knights held on the rest of the way for the 2-1 win.
“The offensive combination of Alli Carr, Natalie Verderame and Shannon Litchfield made it extremely difficult for the Simsbury defense,” Linehan said.
The Lady Knights held a 21-5 shot advantage and attempted five corner kicks to just two for the Trojans. Sherwood made three saves for the victory in goal.
“Coach [Walt] Swanson and I were so proud of the team for playing so well,” Linehan said. “We are playing like a team with confidence.”
Southington improved to 8-1 on the season with the two victories.
Up next: The Lady Knights were scheduled to host Platt on Tuesday. Southington plays at East Hartford on Friday at 3:45 p.m.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Kevin Roberts, email him at KRoberts@SouthingtonObserver.com