SOUTHINGTON — After surrendering an early goal, Southington girls soccer lost to Farmington by the score of 1-0 on Friday.
Both teams came into the CCC West battle looking for their first win of the season. Southington was looking to bounce back after a hard 1-0 loss to Avon on Tuesday, while Farmington had lost to Northwest Catholic, also on Tuesday, by a score of 3-1.
By the end of Friday afternoon, Farmington had broken through and the Blue Knights were stuck with another 1-0 defeat. Farmington junior forward Eden Burwood headed home the lone goal of the game two minutes in and goaltender Julia Chernyak made it stand up.
“What’s there to say? (Chernyak) had a solid performance,” said Southington senior defender and captain Riley Prozzo. “You’re going to run into goalies like that and you just have to try your best to get a shot past them.”
Senior captain Margaret Miller also played well in net for Southington. But just past the two-minute mark, off a corner kick from River Hawks senior forward Fionnuala Hally, Burwood headed the ball into the top right corner just past the outstretched hands of Miller.
“There were so many players in the box it was hard to get a clear line of sight,” Miller said. “When I jumped up and finally saw the ball, it was just going past me.”
Despite surrendering the early goal, the Blue Knights composed themselves and hit the reset button.
“It was only a few minutes into the game, so we didn’t beat ourselves up too bad about it,” Prozzo said.
Off the ensuing kickoff, the home team charged into the offensive zone. After several attempts trying to get a shot off, senior midfielder and captain Julia Rusiecki had a shot sail just over the net.
Later, junior midfielder Taylor Walwyn had a clear path to the net, but her shot was redirected by a diving Chernyak.
A few possessions later, the Blue Knights had a breakaway opportunity on a charge led by sophomore forward Abbie Patavino. Unfortunately for the Blue Knights, Patavino was all by herself with no one to pass to, eventually getting swallowed up by the River Hawks defense.
Not capitalizing on breakaway opportunities would prove to be a theme for Southington as the game progressed.
“There were definitely instances we had the potential for a really good scoring chance, but we just weren’t able to capitalize,” Prozzo said. “It’s definitely something we need to work on moving forward.”
Another theme for both teams was keeping shots low to the ground due to the strong winds that blew during the game.
“There were definitely points where the wind helped us but there were also points when the wind hurt us,” Miller said.
With a little over 10 minutes remaining before halftime, Southington earned a corner kick, but the River Hawks boxed out well and cleared the ball.
As the seconds ticked off the clock before halftime, Blue Knights freshman midfielder Alannah Terry just missed sophomore forward Paige Doonan for a breakaway opportunity.
In the halftime huddle, both teams drew up their second-half game plan.
Off the opening kickoff, Southington pushed the pace, getting deep into the offensive zone.
“We knew we had to come out hard and fast,” Prozzo said. “We got some shots off, but we couldn’t get one of them in the back of the net.”
After surviving the Southington onslaught, Farmington had an offensive rush of its own. As junior midfielder Gabriella Krause directed a pass toward junior forward Tessa Passaro, Miller came out of the net and jumped on the ball.
“I knew being that aggressive was risky, but in the moment I made the decision to charge out and luckily I was able to get the ball,” Miller said.
As time continued to tick away, Blue Knights head coach Mike Linehan grew more and more animated on the sideline. Knowing that time was not on their side, the Blue Knights pushed the attack, with Prozzo leading the charge.
They tried everything. They just couldn’t get a shot past Chernyak. Time expired and Farmington had the 1-0 win.
After the weekend, Southington will be back at it on Monday, looking for their first goal and first win in a road game at Simsbury at 6 p.m.