By KEVIN ROBERTS
Southington girls soccer faced a physical, tough challenge when it played RHAM on Sept. 17 on the home turf of Fontana Field.
The Lady Knights persevered, scored a goal in the opening two minutes of the game, and didn’t stop there in a 3-0 win over the Sachems. On Sept. 20, Southington found itself in a tight battle against Hall in West Hartford. The Knights finally broke through with two minutes to play to salvage a 1-0 win over the Warriors. Southington improved to 3-0 on the season.
Here’s what happened last week:
Good win over RHAM
SEPT. 17—The Knights led 2-0 at the half and scored again early in the second half to put the Sachems away.
Shannon Litchfield scored two goals for Southington while Jessica Carr added a goal. Maya Wroblewski, Abby Sowa and Alli Carr each had one assist. Emily Eigo made four saves for the shutout.
The Knights have been working hard on corner kicks since early in the preseason, and the work paid off mere minutes into the game against the Sachems.
A big chunk of the work on corners has been with set pieces. Southington got a corner opportunity in the first two minutes of the game, and Jessica Carr scored off a Maya Wroblewski assist to give the home side a quick 1-0 lead.
“We’ve been practicing corners every day since the second day of practice,” Linehan said. “We just decided that when we’re in special situations, we’re going to need those.”
The Knights have been working on different wrinkles with the set pieces, so teams won’t be able to focus on one specific thing. Southington’s second goal of the game was more straightforward. Alli Carr dribbled in the middle of the field, then passed ahead to Shannon Litchfield on the left. Litchfield moved in and put an easy shot into the goal with 19:16 left for a 2-0 lead.
In the second half, Alli Carr made something out of nothing to set up Litchfield’s second goal and a 3-0 lead with 36:09 to play. Carr was able to control a loose ball, and Litchfield finished it off for the goal.
“A tribute to Alli, who is just relentless in her effort. Alli makes something out of nothing,” Linehan said. “When there’s nothing there, Alli makes something out of it. With her long legs and her desire and her will, she won that ball. She was the one that caused that goal.”
With 28 minutes left in the game, Eigo provided a highlight of her own with a great diving save on a shot to her left. There were some things that didn’t go right for the Knights.
“We got our bumps and bruises tonight, we lost our composure at times, we let them get into our heads,” Linehan said. “We’re going to get banged, we’re going to get pushed around. Just remember what the score is, and let that do the talking.”
Southington broke the postgame huddle by yelling “One, two, three, Julia!” The Knights played in memory of Julia Bruno, a SHS senior who died on Sept. 1 from injuries sustained in a car accident. Players wore purple eye-black and had purple ribbons in their hair. Purple and white balloons were tied to the fence in front of the Southington fan section at Fontana Field.
Close call at Hall
SEPT. 20—Statistically, the Knights were the dominant team in this game, especially in the second half.
Southington outshot Hall 27-3 and had five corners to just one for the home team. Still, the Warriors controlled play for most of the first half as the Knights adjusted their offensive flow without Alli Carr, who missed the game with a minor injury, according to Linehan.
Southington dominated the second half and outshot Hall 20-0, but it took until late for one of those opportunities to finally go in. That’s when Wroblewski found Jessica Carr, who deposited the ball in the net for a 1-0 lead. Southington held on and breathed a sigh of relief afterward.
“This was our first test in dealing with adversity,” Linehan said. “We learned from the experience and will be better prepared going forward.”
Emily Eigo and Lexie Almeida combined for three saves and the clean sheet in goal for the Knights.
“Abby Sowa, Emma Panarella, and Jess Carr continue to stand out in the midfield,” Linehan said, “along with the entire defensive back line, led by captains Jordan Beaudoin and Kat Crouse, [plus] Marissa Imme, Lauren Verrilli, and Morgan Hubert.”
Up next: Southington was scheduled to host Conard on Tuesday. The Knights are home again on Friday against Simsbury at 3:45 p.m.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Kevin Roberts, email him at KRoberts@SouthingtonObserver.com