By KEVIN ROBERTS
A week and a day after the season officially began, the Southington field hockey team finally played its first game when it took on Watertown on Sept. 11 at Fontana Field.
The game wound up taking longer than the 60 minutes of regulation time it was scheduled for. Watertown’s Olivia LaBella scored with 6:34 left in the 10-minute, seven-on-seven overtime to give her team a 5-4 win over Southington. The Lady Knights dropped to 0-1 on the season while the Indians improved to 1-1.
“Anytime you go to overtime and you don’t win, it’s definitely discouraging,” coach Erin Luddy said. “At the same time, we scored four goals today in our first game out while making some adjustments, so we take a lot of positives out of today.”
Nicole Greco scored twice to lead Southington. Jenna Sheehan and Megan Matthews each scored one goal.
“We’re picking up right where we left off last year, which is fantastic,” Luddy said.
Abby Delgado made five saves in goal and stood tall when she faced some point-blank shots in overtime before the winning goal was scored.
“She did a phenomenal job,” said Luddy about Delgado.
Matthews put Southington on the board just 1:57 into the first half off of a penalty corner from Sheehan. When Sheehan scored off of a Matthews corner with 18:54 left in the first half, the Lady Knights led 2-0. Watertown’s Chloe DeFeo scored with 13:44 to go in the first half to make the score 2-1, which remained the margin at halftime.
The Indians scored two goals in about two and a half minutes in the second half to take a 3-2 lead. Jordyn Forte scored on a DeFeo assist to tie the game at 2-2 with 22:52 left to play, then Hannah Jack put Watertown ahead at the 20:23 mark.
Southington answered Watertown’s spurt when Greco scored off of a corner to tie the game at 3-3 with 17:24 left on the clock. The Lady Knights grabbed a 4-3 lead with 13:43 to go when Greco scored off of a rebound.
The Indians tied the game at 4-4 with 11:31 to go in regulation on DeFeo’s second goal. After several attempts in front of the goal, LaBella connected with 6:34 to go in overtime to win the game for Watertown.
“The whole defense is new, so they’re still adjusting. First game, again, it’s how to play with one another and learning those tricks of the trade,” Luddy said. “I’d say they definitely stepped it up in the second half, learning and adjusting. Take each game, one game at a time.”
Up next: Southington was scheduled to host three games this week. The Lady Knights played Glastonbury on Monday and East Catholic on Wednesday. Southington is home to Enfield 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