By KEVIN ROBERTS
Southington girls soccer passed a trio of West Hartford tests, and the result was a No. 3 seed and first round bye in the Class LL state tournament.
The Lady Knights also wrapped up their second straight CCC West Region Colonial Division title along the way. Southington shutout three opponents, Hall (3-0), Conard (3-0), and NW Catholic (2-0).
Here’s what happened in each game last week:
Big victory at Hall
OCT. 22—The Lady Knights threatened a few times in a scoreless first half, then really turned up the pressure on the Warriors in the second half.
The result was three goals, two by Shannon Litchfield and one by Alli Carr. Litchfield and Carr each had one assist while Morgan Hubert also tallied an assist.
“We made some adjustments at halftime and started to create more quality opportunities in the second half,” coach Mike Linehan said. “Our movement off the ball upfront was much more dynamic. We started to move players forward and kept our shape – when this happens we are difficult to defend.”
Olivia Sherwood had three saves for Southington in the win.
Home win over Conard
OCT. 26—The Chieftains usually give the Lady Knights fits, but the home team worked hard and claimed the victory.
After a back-and-forth opening 23 minutes, Katherine Crouse played what Linehan called “a smart quick ball over the top” of a flat Conard defense to Litchfield, who ran in, scored and gave Southington a 1-0 lead. That’s where the score remained through halftime.
In the second half, Hubert and Litchfield scored in the final 15 minutes, and the Lady Knights pulled away. Hubert’s goal was unassisted while Talie Richardson assisted on Litchfield’s second goal.
“Our outside midfielders Morgan Hubert, Brianna Linehan, and Talie Richardson had strong games with their aggressiveness and ball control,” said the coach.
Sherwood made three saves for the shutout, her 10th of the season. The 10th shutout broke the previous record from last year, also held by Sherwood.
Season finale victory
OCT. 29—The Lady Knights celebrated their seniors, then defeated NW Catholic to finish the regular season with a record of 15-1.
Emma Panarella scored 20 minutes into the first half on a hard grounder from outside the box. Verderame assisted on the goal.
In the second half, Verderame showed tremendous hustle chasing down a ball on the right sideline, then found Litchfield ahead with a great pass. Litchfield did the rest, finishing the goal with a right-footed shot at 23:29 to play in the game.
Sherwood made five saves to record her 11th shutout of the season.
“Alijah Vega, Natalie Verderame, and Olivia Sherwood had a terrific game in their last regular season match, and Gabriella Mondo, Logan Fischer, and Gabriella Fiona showed their experience on the field in the winning effort,” Linehan said.
All six were honored on Senior Night, along with team manager Isabella Pokorski.
Southington secured the No. 3 seed in the Class LL state tournament, which also means a first round bye. The Lady Knights will wait to play until Nov. 7, which will be a second round home game against either the No. 14 seed or No. 19 seed. A win would give Southington another home game in the quarterfinal round.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Kevin Roberts, email him at KRoberts@SouthingtonObserver.com