Girls Soccer: Knights hold on to top ranking with a win and a tie

By SPENCER DREHER

STAFF WRITER

Southington girls soccer has gone through another week without a loss and remains the top ranked team in class LL.  The Lady Knights (12-0-1) did finish with their first draw of the season against Farmington (10-1-2), but the girls came back last Friday with another lopsided victory over Rocky Hill (4-8-1).

The only bad news for Southington is that they lost one of their key players, Shannon Litchfield, to a broken leg during their game at Farmington.  Litchfield was second on the team with nine goals on the season.

“The loss of Shannon for the season during that game is the only real disappointment, not the game,” coach Mike Linehan said.

Despite the setback, the Knights picked up right where they left off last week.  Here is what happened:

Farmington draw

OCT. 22—It was not ideal conditions for Southington at Farmington on Oct. 22 as the rain was coming down onto the grass field.  Farmington drew first blood on a goal from Sabrina Krouse.  Abby Sowa would respond for the Knights before halftime to make the score 1-1.

Sowa scored again in the second half, her sixth goal of the season, to give Southington its only lead of the game.  The Indians would answer off the foot Emma Novajasky to tie the game, 2-2. Neither team could put in the go-ahead goal in regulation or overtime.

Southington outshot Farmington, 18-12, but Indian goaltender Margaret Huelin made 11 saves in the contest to secure the tie.  Linehan said that he knew heading into the game that it would be a tough matchup given the opponent and the conditions.

“I was not surprised with the outcome,” Linehan said.  “I was watching their scores and they have played very well over the past eight games. The game was what I expected, but the conditions made it much more difficult. It was the first time we played on grass in a few weeks and the rain made the field difficult for us to play our ball possession-style game.”

Emma Panarella and Maya Wroblewski were each credited with an assist on the two Sowa goals.  Emily Eigo recorded eight saves for the Knights.

Lopsided victory

OCT. 25—The Knights took care of business early against Rocky Hill last Friday as they built a 3-0 lead before halftime.  The first goal came off a corner from Wroblewski, which found Jess Carr as she knocked in her first of two goals.  Panarella scored next with her first of two, with the assist going to Marisa Imme.

Imme then got her own chance before halftime on a penalty kick, which she cashed in for her first goal of the season.

The Knights received another penalty kick to start the second half, this time Carr putting it into the net for her eighth goal of the season.  Imme would also find Panarella again in the half for her second goal.  Panarella’s two goals were her first of the season.

Brianna Linehan put in the sixth and final goal for her third goal of the season, with the assist going to Morgan Hubert.  The Knights picked up their second-largest win of the season.

Southington scored on half the shots they took.  Eigo and Lexi Almeida combined for two saves in Southington’s ninth shutout win of the season.

“Rocky Hill for the first 20 minutes of the first half made it difficult for us to score,” Linehan said.  “But then we started to move the ball around and found the scoring opportunities. We have the ability to dominate games, but I don’t expect to dominate the remaining games of the season. Teams need wins and are positioning for the tournament. This makes every game a competitive game and we have the target on our backs.”

Up next: The Knights are scheduled to end their season Monday, Nov. 4, at NW Catholic (7-4-2).  They were scheduled to play at Conard (6-6-1) on Tuesday and they are set to host Hall (6-5-2)  today at 3:45 p.m. in their regular season home finale.

Linehan said the team is obviously paying attention to the class LL rankings, which still includes three other undefeated teams, but the team’s approach will not change during the homestretch of the regular season.

“Every team is watching the rankings and who is playing who in the final two weeks,” Linehand said.  “But at the end of the day, we can only control what we do on the field. We are staying focused on getting better and only looking at the next team on the schedule. The tournament will come soon but we are enjoying one game at a time.”

To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Spencer Dreher, email him at SDreher@SouthingtonObserver.com.

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