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In a showdown between reigning state champions, the St. Joseph girls soccer team earned regular-season bragging rights with a 2-1 victory over Ridgefield on Monday afternoon in Trumbull.

The Cadets remained unbeaten with the win, improving their record to 12-0-1. Ridgefield, meanwhile, lost its second straight game and is now 10-2-1.

The game featured the defending Class LL (Ridgefield) and Class L (St. Joseph) state champs, who have also combined to win the last three FCIAC titles (St. Joseph in 2017; Ridgefield in 2015 and 2016).

Both of St. Joseph's goals Monday came on set pieces — the first off a corner kick and the second following a free kick from long range.

All three goals, in fact, came via restarts, with the Tigers capitalizing on a free kick to tie the score.

Caroline Sheehan’s left-footed corner kick from the right side was banged home by Hailey Vecchiarelli to give St. Joseph the only goal of the first half and a 1-0 lead at the break.

The Tigers tied the score with 32:17 left in the second half. Claire Middlebrook’s free kick from about 50 yards out led to a scramble in the St. Joseph box, and Caitlin Slaminko deposited a loose ball into the St. Joseph net. Grace Michalowski was credited with an assist for Ridgefield.

The equalizer came moments after a shot from Slaminko had deflected off the crossbar.

With 22:37 to play, the Cadets' Maddie Fried sent a free kick into the box from the left sideline. Ridgefield goalie Lauren Castle initially caught the ball, but it popped loose when Castle collided with St. Joseph's Jessica Mazo. Mazo's teammate, Mary Lundregan, was there to score the go-ahead goal.
Ridgefield head coach Iain Golding wanted a foul called, but the officials let play continue.
Golding acknowledged that the outcome could have been different if not for St. Joseph controlling the pace in the first half.
“We let them dictate the game, dictate the tempo,” he said.
Ridgefield received strong defensive play from Eva McKinley, Carolyn Donovan, Amelia Hynes, and Middlebrook.
“It was a good, physical battle,”  said Golding. “I was disappointed to lose in the end, but we’ve got to take it as motivation to move forward.”