BERLIN - Getting an early lead has been the norm for The Aftershock (Southington) girls soccer team in this year’s Nutmeg Games.
The young group competing in the 18U girls soccer tournament scored three goals in the first half on its way to a 3-0 victory over Windsor High School’s team Saturday at Sage Park.
“It puts the other team on their heels and makes them think about what’s going on as opposed to just playing and it makes our girls feel a little more comfortable,” said The Aftershock coach Michael June of building early leads. “I mean, honestly, they’ve looked great but they’re young and every game they’ve gone into they’re nervous. They’re worried about the bigger girls and just everything in general so to get an early goal puts them at ease and they relax and just start playing.”
With the victory, The Aftershock won its bracket consisting of Windsor High School, the West Haven Blue Devils and Elite Nation FC (New Britain).
They did so with a 3-0-0 record.
Southington has relied heavily on its skill with the ball.
Crisp passing and controlling the field with possession has led to an 8-1 goal differential through the three games.
Kylie Jefferson, Nina Muir and Shianne Reeves scored the three goals for The Aftershock Saturday. Mackenzie McCormack assisted on Muir’s goal and Ellie Pergolotti assisted Reeves goal, the final one of the game.
“We’ve been doing really well,” Southington’s Mia June said. “We do a lot of through balls to pass to somebody and they get it to the goal and cross and try to finish.”
Already down 3-0, early in the second half, Windsor saw a strong scoring chance as Clara Lindsay had an open look on goal.
The Aftershock’s goalkeeper Stephanie Starrs denied Lindsay as she went for the left side of the net and Starrs dove to make the stop.
“If they put one in there it changes the whole complexion of the game,” The Aftershock’s coach June said. “She made a fantastic save and she hadn’t seen much action, so to be ready and be prepared to make a save like that is fantastic.”
If there was an issue on Saturday, it was that Windsor the bigger team on the field, something that has been a challenge for The Aftershock in the tournament.
“Other teams are bigger than us,” The Aftershock’s Jessica Carr said. “They’re not always taller but they’re built more so sometimes in 1 v. 1 situations it’s tough because they’re bigger.”
Moving forward in the next round The Aftershock expect size to continue being an issue and maybe even bigger against other teams that have advanced to the next stage.
“In the next round, I think the strength of teams can challenge us,” June said. “I expect them to be stronger than these teams [we’ve faced] since they’ve beat all their other teams [in their bracket] or tied.”
While the competition is going to strengthen against The Aftershock have proven to be one of the most dangerous offensive attacks having scored the second most goals in the tournament out of any team competing (Saint-Lambert, 11).
“To get to this point is fantastic,” coach June said. “But we’re definitely not done with what we’re trying to do.”