There was no letdown.
Four days after winning its third conference championship in four years, the Ridgefield High girls soccer team began defense of its Class LL state title with a 4-0 victory over Manchester in a first-round game Monday at Tiger Hollow.
Ridgefield, the seventh seed, will now host 10th-seed South Windsor in a second-round contest Wednesday at 4. The winner advances to the Class LL quarterfinals against either second-seed Suffield or 18th-seed Darien.
The Tigers (17-2-1) were dominant from the beginning of Monday’s game against 26th-seed Manchester, using their assertiveness to create early scoring chances. A shot from Tasha Riek knocked into the post and rebounded to Caitlin Slaminko, who sent her shot off the opposite post.
Minutes later, the two players combined for Ridgefield’s first goal, with Slaminko scoring on an assist from Riek.
The Tigers had more than a dozen shots and seven corners before they scored their second goal, which came with 16 minutes left in the second half. Faith Arnold got the goal, curving a corner kick directly into the Manchester net.
Ridgefield then found its groove, scoring two more goals in under 10 minutes.
Riek made it 3-0 with a stunning shot from about 20 yards away. “When attempting [long] shots it’s always just about trying to put it on frame and following through,” said Riek about the goal.
Megan Klosowski got Ridgefield’s fourth goal a few minutes later off another of Arnold’s corner kicks.
Defenders Claire Middlebrook, Amelia Hynes, Carrina Dabroi, and Carolyn Donovan frustrated Manchester throughout the game, keeping the visitors from scoring.
“I think we work as a cohesive unit,” said Donovan. “We always make sure to cover for one another, and when we win possession we are able to play out of the back.”