Southington field hockey picked up some key wins down the stretch in the regular season to qualify for the state tournament. Unfortunately, the No. 20 Blue Knights traveled to No. 13 New Milford, and was eliminated in a 4-0 loss.
It was just 1-0 in favor of the Green Wave at halftime, with a goal by Mackenzie Dayton. However, New Milford pulled away with three goals in the final 10 minutes of the contest. Dayton scored once more, as well as Tori Roberts and Julia Wheeler.
“When New Milford scored the second goal with 10 minutes left, we did get down and New Milford did not,” coach Erin Luddy said. “It allowed them to score the next two goals within four minutes. We just lost our composure for that short amount of time, but when you play in the tournament all minutes are important.”
New Milford made it difficult for the Knights to get opportunities to score, and Southington’s defense was put under more pressure throughout the contest. Southington had just one shot on goal.
“New Milford was a fast team and we just did not keep up with them,” Luddy said. “Defense played really well, considering they were constantly defending. Unfortunately we did not take advantage of the few scoring opportunities we had.”
Kate Pryzbylski was also very solid at the net for the Knights before New Milford’s scoring outburst. The senior goalie had 11 saves in the loss.
Southington ended the regular season Nov. 5 at home against Avon in a 1-1 tie. The Knights tied the game at one in the second half on Jenna Sheehan’s seventh goal of the season, second on the team.
Each team had nine shots on goal but neither could put it in the net in the overtime period. Pryzbylski had eight saves.
The Blue Knights will lose 14 seniors, including nine starters, as they look forward to 2020. Luddy said they will be hard to replace.
“The seniors were great this year,” Luddy said. “All year long they performed as hard as they could. They wanted it to be a successful season.”
Southington will return its top goal-scorer this season, Maggie Ritchie, as well as Nikki Greco, who had four goals in 2019. Luddy said she expects some upperclassmen to step up next year.
“Losing nine starters will be difficult to replace, but the underclassmen, I think, are ready to show how strong they are and step into those positions,” Luddy said.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Spencer Dreher, email him at SDreher@SouthingtonObserver.com.