Ridgefield edges Staples in girls soccer showdown
Updated 9:51 pm, Wednesday, September 21, 2016
RIDGEFIELD — Rock solid at the back and with breakneck speed in attack, the Ridgefield girls soccer team doesn’t appear much different than it did last year in racing to the FCIAC title and Class LL final.
So far this season the results have been the same.
The Tigers bolstered their record to a perfect 4-0 with a 2-1 win over Staples on Wednesday. Ridgefield has now outscored its opponents 13-1 in its four wins.
Goalie Julia Middlebrook made seven saves in goal while center back Molly Nethercott held the fort down in defense as the Wreckers pressured every ball. Ridgefield scored twice in the first six minutes of the match then stiffled the Wreckers until the late stages.
“Defensively we took a lot of their space,” Ridgefield coach Iain Golding said. “We forced them to play it long; obviously a couple of the long balls cost us some problems. But we compacted the midfield and made it hard for them to play through the middle.”
Sophomore Ashley Wright pulled a goal back for the Wreckers with 8:39 remaining, but Ridgefield closed out the match.
Golding reminded his team before they took the field that Staples was the lone side to beat them in the regular season a year ago. The motivation turned into end product less than five minutes into the match. A long ball forward reached the boot of Alex Damron, who finished past an onrushing Anna Sivinski.
The dream start continued for Ridgefield as Natalie Brassinga crushed a shot off the underside of the crossbar and into the net off a free kick clearance to make it 2-0 a minute later.
“If you can score goals off free kicks and corner kicks it’s going to your game play out,” Golding said. “Right now we’ve scored a couple of goals, which has helped us settle quicker and helped us relax a little bit more.”
Staples had started the match positively and despite a significant experience disadvantage. The Wreckers fielded several skillfull freshman and just a trio of seniors.
Staples was inches away from scoring a pair of goals of its own. Charlotte Rossi hit the post with a free kick and Tia Zajec hit a long effort off the crossbar and clear.
“It was fine margins today but (Ridgefield) took their chances,” Beattie said. “Unfortunately we didn’t take ours and they won the game. I’m pretty confident we’ll see each other again.”
The result was all the more positive for the Wreckers as they had to play without Yale-bound forward Lydia Shaw, who suffered an undisclosed injury against Trumbull last Thursday and may miss significant time.
“The girls rallied around (Shaw),” Beattie said. “I can never question our effort. I thought from the first whistle to the last whistle we worked harder and ran harder.”
With Staples pushing for the game-tying goal, Ridgefield carved out several chances on the counter attack. Sivinski made a pair of saves to keep the Wreckers alive.
“Obviously we’re in a good place and we’ve picked up a couple of good wins,” Golding said. “We’re playing well, which is good. This year we seem to be more of an attacking team.”
RIDGEFIELD 2, STAPLES 1
STAPLES 0 1—1
RIDGEFIELD 1 0-—1
Records: Staples 2-1-1; Ridgefield 4-0. Goals: S—Ashley Wright; R—Alex Damron, Natalie Brassinga. Goalies: S—Anna Sivinski (8 saves); R—Julia Middlebrook (7 saves).