Suffield’s perfect season ended in Class L final

By Nate Zielinski

WATERBURY – In advancing to the CIAC Class L state title game, the Suffield girls soccer team found itself in a familiar position, paired with a team the Wildcats had met twice before in championship play.

Unfortunately for Suffield the result was also the same. Suffield bowed to St. Joseph-Trumbull 2-0 in the title game, ending what had been a perfect season for the Wildcats. Suffield and St Joseph’s met for the Class LL title in 2013 and the Class M title in 2007. The Cadets won both matchups.

Suffield (19-1) came into the game missing one of its key players in senior midfielder Julia Picard who was injured in the Wildcats semifinal victory over Berlin. With Picard on the bench, Suffield had a hard time getting its offense moving against a strong Cadets back line.

Suffield’s defense was also solid throughout and led by goaltender Jessica Cunningham the Wildcats stayed within striking distance throughout the day.

St. Joseph went ahead 1-0 in the first half when All-American Jenna Bike split through a trio of defenders and put her shot past Cunningham. Lindsey Savko finished the scoring for St. Joes when she headed in a corner kick with 29:05 to play in the second half.

Suffield junior Nicole Stryjek had a few solid chances offensively and freshman McKenzie Sullivan also played well. Cunningham was the defensive star for the Wildcats, stopping nine shots including a couple of diving saves in the second half.

“Our team as a whole did amazing. I couldn’t ask for a better team,” said Cunningham.

Suffield finished the regular season 16-0 and won another NCCC title. With just three seniors (Picard, Erica Vuocolo and Hanna Consolini) departing from this relatively young squad, coach David Sullivan said he is looking forward to next year already. The Wildcats will move to Class LL for tournament play next year. “I’m really excited for the challenge,’’ Sullivan said. “We know we can compete in any class, but we will miss our seniors.’’

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