TRUMBULL — The roster must change; a team’s goal doesn’t have to.
“We have some young players that are a year older and a year stronger,” Ridgefield girls soccer coach Iain Golding said after the Tigers defeated FCIAC rival Trumbull, 3-0, on Thursday. “I’m very happy with our senior leadership and the way our captains have stepped into their roles.”
Ridgefield, winners of consecutive Class LL state titles, has opened the 2019 season with three shutouts.
Kelly Chittenden is now in charge of the defense, moving into the goaltender position in place of the graduated Lauren Castle, who was named the Most Outstanding Player in last year’s title game.
“I think our team worked very well. We stepped it up, it was a big game,” said Chittenden, who made seven saves against Trumbull. “I give all the props to my defenders. They are great.”
Julia Bragg and Natasha Riek scored within two minutes of each other in the first half.
Caitlin Slaminko, assisted by Maya Rubio, completed the scoring with 1:51 remaining.
Slaminko is a senior. Bragg a sophomore, Riek a junior and Rubio a freshman.
“My role is more of a passer,” Slaminko said. “I’ve been playing with (junior striker) Faith Arnold since fifth grade. We know what we each like, give and go, and Julia (Bragg), I know they both like through balls. The connection is definitely there.”
Trumbull had four shots on goal in the first half, but couldn’t solve the Tigers’ backline led by Caroline Donovan, Alexandra Kinkead and Charlotte Kemp.
“Ridgefield came to play,” Trumbull head coach Rich Sutherland said. “Even though we talked about it, I think we got caught up in the moment and (the two scores were) frustrating.
“I felt we were stronger in the second half, although we had to chase (the score) and had to put more (players) forward. Ridgefield was strong (up front) and (THS keeper) Avery Rice played very well.”
Rice faced 22 shots and made nine saves.
Trumbull’s best chance came in the 65th minute.
Sophia Lowenberg drilled a 35-yard pass from the right side to the opposite post. Chittenden slid over in time to snatch the ball with Megan Garrity waiting by the doorstep.
Ridgefield opened the season with matching 5-0 victories over Greenwich and Stamford.
Trumbull defeated Ludlowe 1-0, and lost to Darien 2-1.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Caitlin Slaminko is the buzz in the buzzsaw that is the Ridgefield attack. When it came time for the Tigers to connect the dots between midfield and Trumbull’s net, it was Slaminko holding the marker the led to goals.
“We are 3-0, we haven’t conceded a goal and I am happy,” Ridgefield head coach Iain Golding said. “There is still a difficult run to come.”