SOUTHINGTON — The lights were on at Southington’s Fontana Field, but the football team wasn’t in the spotlight Friday night.
That honor went to one of —if not the best — girls soccer teams in the state.
Southington served notice to the rest of Connecticut that it will be a factor come the CIAC playoffs, turning an expected CCC West showdown with fellow unbeaten Glastonbury into a 3-0 rout.
The Blue Knights’ 11th straight win was as shocking as it was impressive behind Allison Carr and a defense that never rested. Southington scored three goals in the first 24 minutes of the match and never looked back.
Carr tallied Southington’s first two goals in the opening 19 minutes. Abigail Sowa added a third goal via her head five minutes later.
Southington’s early attack was too much for Glastonbury to recover from. And while the teams played a scoreless second half, the Blue Knights seemed a step ahead of the Tomahawks all night.
“We wanted this game. To be honest, I don’t think they were ready for us,” Carr said. “There was some talk before the game that they were going to crush us but, nope, 3-0, there you go.”
The dominating victory improved Southington to 11-0 and came in front of coaches of some of the state’s best teams.
The Blue Knights stand No. 1 in Class LL playoff points. Coaches from FCIAC unbeatens St. Joseph’s (No. 2) and Staples (No. 3), along with two-time defending Class LL champion Ridgefield, were in attendance at Fontana Field.
Glastonbury, which entered the match No. 4 in Class LL, fell to 9-1-1.
“We knew we had the capability to beat them. I think we were a little shocked [at 3-0], but it was a team effort,” Carr said. “The chemistry on the field is beyond great and the chemistry off it just helps it even more. Everyone just played so well.
“This was our biggest test of the season so far,” Carr added. “But I have to say we aren’t done. We are going to win the state title. That is our goal.”
Southington head coach Mike Linehan was “pinching myself” after his girls’ effort. After all, it was just five years ago, Linehan’s first as Southington head coach, that his Blue Knights lost to Glastonbury 7-0 on Senior Night.
This year’s Senior Night marked Linehan’s first win over the Tomahawks, who won three straight Class LL state titles from 2014 to 2016.
“I thought we’d go to overtime, maybe win 1-0,” Linehan said. “Historically, they have really dominated us. They are a very good team. Tonight was a surprise. 3-0? I never expected that. Never.
“It was a special moment. And this will be talked about for a while. A lot of firsts happened tonight — beating Glastonbury, shutting them out. You have to give [our seniors] a lot of credit.”
One of those seniors, Jordan Beaudoin, anchored a defense that notched its ninth shutout of the season.
“We’ve been dreaming about [beating Glastonbury] for years,” Beaudoin said. “It’s amazing that it finally came true. It’s just amazing to be 11-0 and to beat such a talented team. It was an amazing result.”
The way Southington came out on offense overshadowed the defensive effort a bit. Linehan, however, credited his defense and midfielders as much as Carr & Co. up front.
“Tonight, I told they girls when you play a game like this, you are going to learn a lot,” Linehan said. “Win or lose, you are going to learn a lot about ourselves. And what I’m really proud about is these girls, for the first time, I really think we are going to be able to compete in the [state] tournament. To me, that’s where we are headed.
“Beating Glastonbury is wonderful, but my pleasure is that now I think we can say we can compete at that top level. We have bigger goals in mind. Tonight makes us believe that we are going for the state championship.”
Carr nearly notched a hat trick in the first half after scoring Southington’s first two goals in the first 19 minutes. Sowa’s header accounted for the third goal — the same amount of goals the Tomahawks had allowed all season.
The teams played a scoreless second half. Glastonbury did find the back of the Southington net, but Riley Carroll’s goal off a corner kick with just over 31 minutes to play was waved off by the officials, who called a pushing foul on the Tomahawks in the Southington box.
With Southington’s defense keeping Glastonbury at bay throughout the first half, the Tomahawks’ only scoring chance over the first 45 minutes came in the 25th minute. Chloe Landers’ free kick from 22 yards ricocheted off Southington’s wall of defenders to MacKenzie Baker, whose shot hit the post.
Southington goalie Lexi Almeida collected the ball just outside the goal mouth to quell the threat.
Linehan was impressed by the efficiency of the Blue Knights’ offense. Southington scored its three goals on just six shots.
Carr put the Blue Knights on the board just over 10 minutes in. She received a long pass from Morgan Hubert, turned and fired a shot over the head of Glastonbury goalie Maddison Hill from 23 yards out.
Carr remained a step ahead of the Glastonbury defenders throughout the first half and her second goal came from her younger sister, Jess. The freshman delivered a pass to Carr, who beat a Glastonbury defender 35 yards from the goal.
Carr then blasted a 15-yard blast shot past Hill.
Southington and Glastonbury both came into the match with 5-0 divisional records. The Blue Knights lead the CCC West-Colonial Division, while the Tomahawks are perfect in the CCC West-Patriot.
While Glastonbury’s goal with 31:03 left in the match was waved off, seeing the ball in the back of the Southington net seemed to spark the Tomahawks, who applied their best pressure of the match in the ensuing minutes.
Baker sent a ball into the Southington box, but Sowa headed it away. Seconds later, the Tomahawks threatened again only to hit the Southington post.
Baker made a nice run later in the second half with 10:30 to play, but Almeida was up to the task again, coming off her line to make a sliding save.
Almeida preserved the shutout when she grabbed a bouncing loose ball just a few feet in front of her goal with 8:30 to play.
“We came out and had a rough beginning,” Glastonbury head coach Joe Finocchiaro said. “But we settled in a little. But at the end of the day, you got to put it in the back of the net.
“That first 10-12 minutes we were kind of rattled,” Finocchiaro added. “They scored those goals on four shots, so that’s tough to come back from.”
Glastonbury’s only blemish prior to Friday night was a 0-0 tie Tuesday at RHAM. Both teams had beaten Simsbury, 2-1, earlier in the campaign.