It was the first time the Blue Knights (17-1-2) had trailed in a game all season. It was the first postseason goal that Southington’s defense gave up in the Class LL tournament. But when Glastonbury’s Sam Forrest finally broke a scoreless tie with five minutes left in the championship game, it ended Southington’s hopes for their first state title since 2002.
Just when it looked like the game was heading to overtime, Forrest scored the game’s only goal. Everyone at Veterans Memorial Stadium in New Britain last Saturday knew that the first goal would likely decide the Class LL final, and it did.
In a hard-fought final, No. 3 Tomahawks edged No. 1 Southington, 1-0.
“This was the first time in a long time we were in the big stage like this,” coach Mike Linehan said. “You’ve got to give Glastonbury a lot of credit. They were more experienced playing at this level. They have a fantastic program.”
The deciding goal barely slipped past Southington’s goalie, Emily Eigo. Until that point, Eigo had protected the shutout with six saves. Each one came at a crucial moment in the contest.
With 23 minutes left in the first half, Glastonbury’s Riley Carroll had the Tomahawks first good look of the day, but the ball went right into Eigo’s hands.
Just a minute after Jaci Budaj shot one off the crossbar, Eigo saved another shot from Kathryn Donovan with four minutes left in the first half.
Glastonbury came out firing immediately in the second half as well, but Eigo was there to make the stop again. Off a cross, Madison McGraw took a sliding shot on goal and Eigo made a diving save to keep it scoreless.
Forrest also had Glatonbury’s best chance of the night before her goal, as she had a breakaway opportunity with 31 minutes left. But Eigo made another key save with her back against the wall.
“I have always said that a great team needs a great goalie,” Linehan said. “A goalie that will make that unbelievable save when you need them the most. And on Saturday she made a few unbelievable saves which kept us in the game.”
Glastonbury outshot Southington 7-4, but the Knights did have opportunities to put it into the net.
With 12 minutes left in the first half, Alli Carr had a free kick from just outside the box, but her attempt sailed just above the crossbar.
Jessica Carr also got a good look with 29 minutes left in the second half but Charlotte Bassett made one of her four saves to keep it scoreless.
Southington’s best look of the night probably came with 10 minutes to go, when Natalie Richardson’s header off an Alli Carr cross went just wide left.
“We had some chances, but I don’t think we had enough,” Linehand said. “I thought that we didn’t play our possession game like we normally do. But Glastonbury took us out of our game. Like I said, we had some chances, but we needed to get more.”
Southington handed Glastonbury (18-1-1) its only loss in the regular season, a 3-0 victory on Oct. 18.
The Knights advanced to the championship after defeating No. 5 Ridgefield, 1-0, in the semifinals on Tuesday in Naugatuck. With five minutes left in the first half, after a Marisa Imme shot hit the crossbar, Maya Wroblewski scored off the rebound to give Ridgefield their first loss.
Southington outshot Ridgefield 7-4, with Eigo picking up four saves.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Spencer Dreher, email him at SDreher@SouthingtonObserver.com.