Greenwich girls soccer falls to Ridgefield in CIAC class LL opener

On an Election Day that promised close races nationally, the Ridgefield and Greenwich girls soccer teams explored that theme locally.

When 80 minutes of scoreless regulation play failed to produce a winner in their state tournament opener Tuesday, the teams headed into overtime. There, the contest turned.

Goals from Nikkie Syrotiak and Casey Snow — one in each 10-minute overtime period — led Ridgefield to a 2-0 victory over Greenwich in a Class LL first-round game Tuesday in Ridgefield.

The 10th-seeded Tigers (12-4-3) will now face another FCIAC rival, seventh-seed Westhill, in a second-round gameThursday at 2 in Stamford. Ridgefield beat Westhill, 2-0, in the recent conference quarterfinals.

Greenwich, the 23rd seed, ends its season with a 10-7-1 record.

Ridgefield went ahead 1-0 in the first 10-minute overtime when Syrotiak scored on a free kick from 25 yards away, sending a well-struck shot past Greenwich goalie Kylie Ginsberg.

Snow gave the Tigers an insurance goal in the second overtime period, getting a nice pass from Gretchen Ball, dribbling past a defender, and beating Ginsberg with a low, left-footed drive.

The goals had an organic feel to them, as Ridgefield looked the more threatening side throughout, applying increased pressure as the game progressed. The Tigers ended the contest with a 23-6 advantage in shots.

Until overtime, however, the Cardinals were able to deny Ridgefield, mainly through the efforts of central defenders Callie Doyle and Lindsay Alfano, who cut off passes, blocked shots and either out-ran or out-muscled Ridgefield forwards to loose balls. As a result, most of the Tigers’ attempts came from distance and were easily handled by Ginsberg.

But Greenwich struggled to string together passes and build any type of sustained attack. Its most impressive player, midfielder Emily Berzolla, often was able to turn with the ball and protect it, but the visitors had difficulty linking enough passes to get inside the Ridgefield penalty area.

And when Berzolla suffered a thigh injury and left the game with 16 minutes remaining in the second half, the Cardinals lost their best option for a moment of individual brilliance.

As Berzolla sat on the bench with her thigh wrapped, Ridgefield continued to carry play. It seemed as though it would be just a matter of time before the Tigers broke through — the hosts just needed extra time for that to happen.

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