NEWINGTON - The Newington girls soccer will enter the 2021 Class LL state tournament on a high note.
The Nor’easters (10-2-3) completed their regular season Thursday with a 2-1 win over Tolland (8-2-6), which bolstered their postseason position. Newington took its lead in the first half of this game and never looked back as it secured its 10th win of the season.
The win likely secures the Nor’easters as the fifth-seeded team in Class LL, jumping up from seventh ahead of Fairfield Ludlowe and Manchester. After losing 1-0 to Wethersfield in their last game, which cost them first place in the CCC North, finishing with a win against a talented Tolland team sent them into the tournament feeling confident.
“One thing with Tolland is they’re always a physical team and you have to match that physicality, which the girls did,” Newington coach Adam Wilkinson said. “In the second half we definitely settled down. We started to possess the ball and be a bit more controlled.”
Junior Abigail Corcoran put Newington in front with a goal late in the first half. Corcoran forced Tolland’s goalkeeper to come upfield away from the goal to make a play on the ball before Corcoran chased down the deflected shot and took advantage of the goalkeeper being out of position. Corcoran had her back to the goal when she reached the ball and lofted a shot while turning around that sailed over the keeper’s head and into the net.
“She put the effort in and had to improvise,” Wilkinson said. “That finish was very good, it was a nice opportunistic goal.”
Possession was a never-ending battle in the first half with both teams struggling to maintain possession. Corcoran capitalized on one individual chance before halftime and the Nor’easters brought a more controlled attack in the second half.
A foul against the Eagles gave Giuliana Stolf the opportunity to double Newington’s lead with a penalty kick and she delivered, sending her shot into the bottom-right corner of the goal to lead 2-0 early into the second half.
Tolland competed until the final whistle and chipped into its deficit late in the second half to avoid the shutout. Madison Kolb finished an open shot from the right side of the penalty area and put the Eagles on the board in the final seven minutes of play.
“Earlier in the season we weren’t giving up a lot of goals,” Wilkinson said. “We then turned a comfortable game at 2-0 to a ‘let’s hang on a dig in for the last five minutes [game],’ because we couldn’t keep the shot out.”
Up next for the Nor’easters will be its first round game of the Class LL state tournament on Monday. Their opponent is yet to be determined but Newington will most likely be the fifth-seeded team in the bracket.
Matt Hornick can be reached at (860) 973-1811 or email@example.com.
NEWINGTON 2, TOLLAND 1
Newington 1 1 - 2
Tolland 0 1 - 1
Goals: Abigail Corcoran (N), Giuliana Stolfi (N), Madison Kolb (T)
Records: Newington 10-2-3, Tolland 8-2-6.