Ridgefield girls soccer advances to state quarterfinals

For the rest of the Class LL girls soccer field, it’s a worrisome possibility: The defending champs might be getting more dominant with each game.

Powered by three first-half goals, seventh-seed Ridgefield cruised to a 4-0 victory over 10th-seed South Windsor in a second-round state tournament game Wednesday afternoon at Tiger Hollow.

“We kept possession; we scored some really nice goals,” said Ridgefield head coach Iain Golding, whose team will now face conference rival Darien in the quarterfinals on Friday in Ridgefield. “We’re just happy to be moving on to the next round.”

It didn’t take long for the Tigers (18-2-1) to show why they would be the team advancing. Ridgefield’s onslaught began with senior defender Claire Middlebrook’s goal midway through the opening half. Meredith Clifford’s corner kick went to Middlebrook, who headed the ball off the crossbar. The rebound went right back to Middlebrook, and her second header found the back of the South Windsor net.

Ten minutes later, the Tigers doubled their lead. Julia Bragg ran down Megan Koslowski’s through ball and sent a shot past South Windsor goalie Annika Galley.

Tasha Riek then made it 3-0 by converting a pass from Caitlin Slaminko shortly before the end of the first half.

Ridgefield extended its lead to 4-0 just three minutes and 35 seconds into the second half. A loose ball bounced between South Windsor defenders before Klosowski gained control and set up Slaminko’s goal.

Middlebrook and the Ridgefield defense did the rest, limiting the Bobcats to low-quality chances and lightening the burden on goalie Lauren Castle (five saves). South Windsor’s best opportunity came on a shot by Taylor Patitucci that went just wide.

Ridgefield’s recent form — the Tigers avenged their two regular-season losses (St. Joseph, New Canaan) en route to a third FCIAC title in four years last week — has Golding hoping his players are gaining confidence.

“They have a bit more ability than what they may believe,” said Golding. “To be where we are from where we started, it is clear the girls are really believing in what they can do.”