Ridgefield blanks Wilton to stay unbeaten

The Ridgefield High girls soccer team wasn't great Wednesday afternoon. The Tigers had trouble stringing passes together, failed to create quality scoring chances, and often gave the ball away too easily.

Good teams find ways to win when they aren't playing particularly well, though, and that's exactly what Ridgefield did.

Getting goals in each half from sophomore Caitlin Slaminko and freshman Faith Arnold, Ridgefield stayed unbeaten with a 2-0 triumph over visiting Wilton at Tiger Hollow.

"Obviously we weren't crisp, but it was a good sign that we were still able to beat a quality opponent," said Ridgefield head coach Iain Golding, after his team improved to 8-0-2. "For a young team like we are, it's important to win games like this."

Led by central defenders Kathryn Barlow and Claire Middlebrook, Ridgefield's backline contained Wilton throughout the game, limiting the Warriors to long-range shots and free kicks that didn't test goalie Lauren Castle (five saves). Wilton's best chance was squashed when Castle alertly left her line and just beat Paisley Eagen to a through ball in the 65th minute.

Ridgefield went ahead 1-0 midway through the first half. Arnold's flick bounced to Slaminko, who sent a perfectly struck half-volley past Wilton keeper Taylor Floyd.

The Tigers' second goal was even prettier. Finding herself one-on-one with a defender at the top-left side of Wilton's box, Arnold used two step-overs to create room before rocketing a high shot into the top-right corner of the net.

"I saw that I had space and the defender was kind of backing off a little," said Arnold. "My coach told me to take my space and try to attack defenders more, so that's what I did."

"It was a cracker," said Golding about Arnold's golazo, which came with 22 minutes left. "I'm looking forward to seeing the replay."

Notes: Senior midfielders Emma Jacobson and Erika Linke aided Ridgefield's defense by repeatedly blocking or intercepting Wilton passes.

The Tigers have allowed just four goals in their first 10 games.

The loss was the fifth in six games for Wilton, which is now 4-5-0 this season. The Warriors have gone scoreless in each of those five setbacks.

Ridgefield will face undefeated St. Joseph (9-0-0) on Monday at 7 at Tiger Hollow.

Wednesday's game with Wilton was streamed live on the HAN Network.