Girls soccer: St. Joseph claims Class L title

The St. Joseph High girls soccer team defeated Suffield High, 2-0, to win the Class L state championship at Municipal Stadium in Waterbury on Saturday morning.

Jenna Bike scored the game-winning goal after a slaloming run at 17:26 of the first half, before Lindsey Savko drove home a header off of a corner kick with 29:05 left to provide the insurance marker. Prior to the final, Suffield had conceded just three goals all season.

“I thought offensively we played very, very well,” St. Joseph head coach Jack Nogueira said. “Again, which has been the story of our season, I thought we could have had three or four. But that’s soccer. I was extremely pleased with how we played, we played to feet, we were dangerous going forward.”

Bike, who netted a pair of goals in St. Joseph’s semifinal win over Pomperaug High, was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.

“It kind of gave us a little room to be more comfortable and play a little more soccer,” Nogueira said of Bike’s opener.

It was the second state championship in three seasons for the top-seeded Cadets (22-1), who also vanquished Suffield to win the Class LL title in 2013. St. Joseph has won four state titles overall, also winning back-to-back crowns in 2007 and 2008.

While Bike and Savko, along with fleet freshman Jessica Mazo, providing prowess up top, the Cadet defense clamped down on Suffield’s attack.

Samantha Lello, Christina DiCesare, Alexis Mason and Tory Bike, with help from midfielder Maia Moscova, kept Suffield’s high-scoring forward Nicole Stryjek in check and limited the shots on keeper Veronica O’Rourke.

“Today, I thought they were fantastic,” Nogueira said of his defense. “Tory Bike and Sam Lello did a tremendous job… We had people helping on defense. So it worked out well for us.”

O’Rourke preserved the clean sheet in the 69th minute, denying Alyssa Bergamini on a breakaway on the Wildcats’ best scoring chance.

St. Joseph has won three of its four state championships against Suffield, which was making its 11th appearance in the state final since 1998.

“They are a good team,” Suffield head coach David Sullivan said. “We knew they were going to come after us.”

Suffield, the second seed, finished its season 19-1 overall.