BERLIN - From start to finish, The Avalanche from Southington dominated Elite Nation FC of New Britain in the second contest of the Nutmeg State Games 18U girls soccer tournament for each team.
The Avalanche controlled possession and used goals from Taylor Hall, Jada Ijeh and Isabel Dziura to beat Elite Nation FC 3-0 Friday night at Sage Park.
“We’re pretty confident,” Southington’s Ellie Pergolotti said. “Once you win a couple of games, you kind of get on a roll and it feels good.”
In the first half The Avalanche had opportunities, but struggled to get the ball past Elite Nation FC goalkeeper Mikayla Hayes, who made six saves in the game - highlighted by a ball that she took off the face on a cross by Southington.
“She’s young and most of us are, so that says a lot about how she performed, because she stepped up to the plate and played like a senior player,” Elite Nation FC head coach Zelvan Phillips said.
“Even though we had a lot of pressure coming onto the goalkeeper in the first half, she stood her ground and kept the team motivated and trying to go forward to get a goal.”
Hall finally found the back of the net with a high ball above the head of Hayes to give The Avalanche its first goal of the game seven minutes into the opening half.
Ijeh added to the lead five minutes later to put Southington up a pair with just 12 minutes played in the first half.
While facing a two-goal deficit early on, New Britain had some opportunities to get back in the game.
Alicia Whyte had a free kick opportunity that she came up short on and Jalah Turner had the best look for Elite Nation FC with goalkeeper Stephanie Starrs down on the turf.
As the teams entered the half, the score remained 2-0 Southington.
“We don’t really play together a lot and just being able to pass it back and forth felt really nice,” Pergolotti said. “We had a lot of good combinations this game and had good connections.”
With just 35 minutes to go New Britain changed up its strategy in the second half, playing more players up, looking to cut into the deficit.
“By pushing more players forward we were more susceptible to conceding, which eventually led to another goal,” Phillips said. “It was whether or not we would score or we would give up one after the first half because we were 2-0 down.”
With the change, Southington took advantage with its third goal of the game from Dziura.
New Britain will face West Haven today at 3 p.m.
“We need to string together more passes,” New Britain’s Jordan Thompkins said. “We win the ball, but then we go individually and not play as a team.”
Southington will take on South Windsor at 6 p.m as the round robin tournament continues.
“I’m looking forward to that game,” Southington coach Michael June said. “I don’t know anything about them or about any of these teams, but they all are good, so it’s been fun.”