Southington girls soccer entered this week at the top of the Class LL rankings after improving to 11-0 last week. It was the third week this season the Knights allowed zero goals as they picked up 3-0 wins over Tolland and Glastonbury.
Southington’s dominant defense continues to shine as they allowed just ten total shots on goal to the two teams they faced last week. Coach Mike Linehan says that it takes the effort of all 11 players on the field for the defense to be so successful.
“Playing team defense is the key,” Linehan said. “The backline of Jordan Beaudoin, Kat Crouse, Marisa Imme, Morgan Hubert, and Lauren Verrilli keeps us organized and have done extremely well. But our defense starts with the forwards and through the midfield. Everyone plays defense on this team.”
Of course, some of the Knights’ leading scorers this season shined as well. Here is what happened:
Win over Tolland
OCT. 15—Tolland, who had won five of six coming in, kept the Knights in check in a scoreless first half, thanks in part to the Eagles’ keeper, Sophia Rotondaro. Rotondaro made some key saves in the first half and had 14 total in the game.
Southington proved to be too much to handle in the second half. Brianna Linehan got the ball rolling with her second goal of the season, assisted by Allison Carr.
Carr then scored herself just moments later, with the assist going to Savannah Krom. Michaela Potamis scored her second goal of the season, assisted by Maya Wroblewski, to increase the lead to 3-0.
It was the seventh shutout win of the season for the Knights as they allowed just four shots on goal and zero corners. Emily Eigo and Lexi Almeida combined for three saves in the win.
Southington had 18 shots on goal to go with eight corner kicks.
Win over Glastonbury
OCT. 18—The Knights picked up their sixth home victory of the season last Friday over Glastonbury. Unlike the win over Tolland, Southington took the lead early and never looked back.
Allison Carr picked up two more goals to give her a team-leading 11 on the season. Abby Sowa scored her third goal before halftime, assisted by Emma Panarella. Jess Carr and Morgan Hubert each had an assist.
Of the 37 goals scored by Southington this season, 33 of them have come off an assist. Four players have at least five assists. Linehan credits the play of the midfield for not only playing solid defense but creating opportunities to score as well.
“We have players that can score goals as you have seen,” Linehan said. “Alli, Shannon (Litchfield), and Maya are in a role to score goals and are having outstanding seasons. The hope is to have them continue to work together and have further success. On the other hand, Jess Carr, Abby Sowa, and Emma Panarella are the three central midfield players that are controlling the flow of the game for us. It is the success we are having in the midfield that allows us to defend the way we do and at the same time create opportunities to score the goals.”
Southington and Glastonbury each had six shots on goal but it was the Knights who were able to capitalize. Lexi Almeida had six saves in the shutout win.
Up next: Southington was scheduled to play at Farmington (9-1-1) on Tuesday before returning home today at 3:45 p.m. to face Rocky Hill (4-6). Farmington entered this week having won eight straight.
With six games to go, it will be a tight race at the top of the LL rankings as the Knights try to shoot for an undefeated season. There are still four other unbeaten teams at the top of the rankings, including Staples (11-0-1), South Windsor (9-0-1), St. Joseph (10-0-2), and Ridgefield (9-0-3).
Linehan said he knows that each of his remaining opponents are going to try to take the Knights down and ruin the perfect regular season.
“We are fortunate to be 11-0 and look at every game one at a time,” Linehan said. “We have five games remaining and know that every team would love to be the first team to beat us. We play with that level of motivation knowing that we have a target on our back and have a reputation to play well.”
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Spencer Dreher, email him at SDreher@SouthingtonObserver.com.