Ridgefield opens FCIAC defense with 4-0 win
After a scoreless first half, the Ridgefield girls soccer team moved into postseason mode.
The third-seeded Tigers erupted for four unanswered goals to beat sixth-seed Darien, 4-0, in an FCIAC quarterfinal game Friday at Tiger Hollow.
Ridgefield, the reigning conference champion, will now play second-seed St. Joseph in the semifinals on Monday (time to be determined) at Wilton High School.
“This was a tough game,” said Ridgefield head coach Iain Golding after the win over Darien. “The heightened intensity of the postseason was a huge factor, but we settled in and really found our rhythm in the second half.”
The unbeaten (14-0-3) Tigers went ahead just five minutes into the second half. After Megan Klosowski was fouled in the box, Grace Michalowski converted the penalty kick, drilling the ball into the top-left corner of the Darien goal.
Twelve minutes later, a beautifully organized transition play doubled Ridgefield’s lead. Caitlin Slaminko worked the ball over to Faith Arnold, who passed across to Allison Ouellette for the second goal.
Tasha Riek added the final two goals for the Tigers, scoring on a pair of powerful shots following dribbling runs.
“We have a target on our back from last year, so the weight of postseason just drives us even further,” Riek said. “We had a change of mindset in the second half that really got that drive going.”
With a 4-0 lead, the Tigers were able to remove some of their starters. The match became a game of keep-away as Ridgefield clinched its semifinal berth.
“Every game is going to be competitive in this postseason,” said Golding. “Anybody can beat anybody — we just need to take each game at a time.”