Two games, 10 goals for Ridgefield field hockey

A year ago, the Ridgefield High field hockey team didn't score its 10th goal of the season until its ninth game.

Just two games into this season, the Tigers have already hit double figures.

After opening with a 5-0 road win over Stamford last Friday, Ridgefield tacked on five more goals to beat Newtown, 5-1, in a non-conference game at Tiger Hollow on Monday.

“This week is all about staying focused,” said Ridgefield head coach Madelaine Hutchings. “I wanted us to remain consistent the whole time through, and for them to maintain an aggressive attitude for both the entirety of tonight’s game, and for the rest of the week.”

Five minutes into the first half, Ridgefield's diamond offensive set produced an early goal. Off an assist from Julia Wilson, Sammi Petruzzelli scored on a tap-in to put the hosts ahead, 1-0.

This quick strike set the tone, as the Tigers embarked on a barrage of advances against the Newtown goal. The pressure resulted in several corners, as seniors Katie Pieterse and Natalie Silver maneuvered the ball into the circle, either through skillful dodges or precise passes down the line to sophomores Bella Carrozza and Cate Irving.

Ten minutes after the first goal, Pieterse navigated her way through a series of defenders and finished the impressive display with a forceful slap shot into the goal, giving Ridgefield a 2-0 advantage.

Pieterse's second goal came five minutes later. A foul on senior Lexi Pass led to a corner, which Irving inserted to Pieterse, who scored on another slap shot.

The Tigers ended their dominant first half with a fourth goal. Off another corner, Natalie Silver's precise feed found Caroline Bunt, and Bunt drilled a shot past the Newtown goalie to push Ridgefield's lead to 4-0 at the break.

"We were able to enter the offensive zone from both angles and down the sideline, as well as invade the circle in a headstrong manner," said Hutchings about her team's first-half goal rush.

Ridgefield's second-half defense benefited from the play of Maddie Peters and Julia McSpedon. The two were able to clear the ball away from their goal and start the Tigers' transition play.

While senior goalie Ellie Kaiser had little action in the first half, Newtown broke through with a goal off a corner 10 minutes into the second half. Ridgefield responded by keeping Newtown off-balance, with passes across field and down the line by Pass and Carrozza.

Finally, with just two minutes left on the clock, the Tigers ended the game the way they started — with another well-executed goal. A pass into the circle left junior Lily Carnicelli in position for a shot that she converted, sealing the 5-1 triumph.

“Newtown was on us all the time, and I think the girls had assumed that this would be a much closer game,” said Hutchings. “Our offense held up very well, and that was apparent as they (Newtown) weren’t able to adjust to it ..."