Girls Lacrosse Notebook No. 2 Rams hosting No. 1 Blue Wave Saturday
When the New Canaan girls lacrosse team defeated the rival Darien Blue Wave 12-11 in the Class L semifinals last spring, a massive celebration ensued for the Rams. The only item of concern at the time: There was still one more game left to play.
“That was a great win, but the state championship was even better,” head coach Kristin Woods said this week. “If we hadn’t beat Ridgefield (19-7 in the final), then it would’ve been just another game. At the end of the season last year, we put four really good games together at the perfect time and hopefully, that can happen again this year.”
If the Rams are to have another deep postseason run, their current run of four games will likely loom large.
New Canaan (9-2), which is ranked No. 2 in the latest Connecticut Coaches Top 10 Poll, toppled No. 3 Wilton (7-3), 11-6, at Dunning Field on Tuesday, bouncing back from an 11-9 loss to Cold Spring Harbor (NY) at the Gains for Brains Tournament in New York on Saturday.
Next up? A showdown between the state’s two top-ranked teams as the No. 1 Darien Blue Wave (9-1) comes to Dunning Field in New Canaan at 3 p.m., Saturday.
There will be plenty of hype for the rivalry this week, especially after last year’s semifinal game, but the Rams are approaching it as just another step on the way to the playoffs.
“It’s the big rivalry, but we treat it as just another game,” Woods said. “It’s a regular-season game, so we’ll put our best foot forward and see what happens.”
It doesn’t end there, either, as the Rams will host the Bronxville (NY) Broncos at 4:45 p.m., Tuesday, May 7.
Among the keys for New Canaan has been the play of the defense, which was in fine form against Wilton, as the Rams outscored the Warriors 8-1 during the second half,
“Defensively our unit starting with Caroline O’Dea in goal and then Caroline Schuh, Natalie (Lopez), Lizzy (DeMarino), Nora (Belodeau), and Katelyn Sparks has been playing very well,” Woods said. “They’re all juniors and seniors so it’s a great core defense to have.”
Then there’s the play of Jane Charlton, a junior midfielder who has committed to Duke. Charlton seems to shine against the biggest opponents, and has already scored six goals in a game twice this season: Against Longmeadow (Mass.) and Wilton — all New Canaan victories. She also scored the game-winner at the buzzer to beat Ridgefield 6-5 at Tiger Hollow on April 22.
Charlton missed about half of her sophomore season with an injury, but is rolling this spring. Woods said she’s also started shooting more and that’s paid off with the great offensive output.
“This year, she’s healthy and she has the experience,” Woods said. “She’s playing with a lot of confidence. She’s been improving and making sure she looks at the cage. There were a few games at the beginning of the season when she didn’t even shoot. So now, we’re making sure we’re looking to go to goal and taking advantage of our best opportunities for her and everyone else.”
Following the games with Darien and Bronxville, the Rams have three regular-season remaining and will be looking to put everything together for the playoffs.
“We’re focusing over the next few weeks with putting a whole 50 minutes together,” Woods said. “We’ve been playing well in either the first half or the second half, so we need to really get that complete game put together.”
A FIRST FOR ENFIELD
Being a new varsity program is never easy and wins can be difficult to come by.
For the Enfield Eagles, it was finally time to soar to victory.
Led by four goals from junior Rachael Tweedlie and a hat trick from senior co-captain Bella Laramee, the Eagles scored the program’s first win at the varsity level, defeating Bristol Eastern 12-9 Monday in Enfield.
The Eagles had played a junior varsity schedule for the past two years before moving up a level this spring. They lost their first five games before Monday’s win.
“The team is really starting to step it up,” coach Kelsey McGuire said. “It hasn’t been easy going up against some of these varsity teams but I can honestly say the coaches have seen improvements in every game. We worked on changing our mindset and the girls realized the competition they are up against. The girls have worked hard at practice and it is showing on the field.”
One of the biggest factors for Enfield has been keeping the outlook positive despite some of the defeats.
“I think a key piece has been keeping morale up after some of the tough losses,” McGuire said. “To that I will credit the entire team but especially our captains: Nicole Prosinksi, Bella Laramee, and Emily Marullo.”
The Eagles’ team is filled with younger players, as just six seniors — the three captains along with Rebecca Angelica, Mariah McBride and Jazmyne Quiles — are on a roster of more than 30.
In addition to the seven combined goals from Tweedlie and Laramee, Enfield also had two goals from Marullo, and one each from sophomores Cassidy Langevin, Riley Bridge and Alexia Morelli.
Emma Rubin, a freshman, started at goalie and made nine saves to help nail down the victory.
“I think the key to winning the game on Monday was our passing and transition game,” McGuire said. “We’ve been working hard at moving the ball up the field and that showed on Monday. Our offense made some great passes and kept the ball moving for some open shots. Our defense also stepped it up by stopping some fast breaks.”
Moving forward, McGuire and her assistant coaches Kelly Mazzone and Coach Michelle Burlingame are hoping to see the team improve with experience.
“The coaches look forward to seeing the growth we will continue to make this season,” McGuire said.
Enfield hosts Tolland on Friday at 4:30 p.m., with home games against Tolland and Berlin on tap for next week.
Mia Carbone, Mercy: Carbone racked up seven goals to lead the Tigers past Haddam-Killingworth 19-5 on Monday.
Jane Charlton, New Canaan: Charlton racked up six goals and one assist as No. 2 New Canaan came from behind to defeat No. 3 Wilton, 11-6, on Tuesday.
Carlee Crispens, Sheehan: The senior co-captain scored five goals to help give Sheehan a 13-5 win over Lyman Hall.
Grace Fahey, Greenwich: The Cardinals’ senior scored a game-high five goals, including the 100th goal of her career, during a 16-6 win over Trumbull last Thursday.
Elle Fair, Staples: Fair had nine points on three goals and six assists, and picked up five draw controls as the Wreckers defeated Joel Barlow, 17-5.
Paige Finneran, Greenwich: Finneran, a senior, became the second Cardinal in one week to reach the century mark in scoring when she notched her 100th career goal during a 19-2 win over Westhill on Monday.
Nicole Humphrey, Darien: Humphrey scored the tying and winning goals in the Blue Wave’s 11-10 overtime victory against Bishop Ireton (Va) last Thursday. She finished the game with a hat trick.
Jessie Kilburn and Avonlea LeBeau, North Branford: The co-captains had seven points apiece during a 17-4 victory over Valley Regional on Monday. Kilburn had a hat trick and four assists, and LeBeau had four goals and three assists.
Hannah Lamb, Stonington: Lamb scored eight goals in the Bears’ 21-5 romp over Newington on Saturday. Teammate Kate Johnson had seven points on four goals and three assists.
Lily L’Archevesque, Norwalk: L’Archevesque had five goals to lead the Bears to a 9-8 overtime win against Weston on Saturday.
Caroline O’Dea, New Canaan: The Rams’ goalie collected nine saves in a 14-4 win over No. 8 Ludlowe.
Shira Parower, Staples: Parower led the Wreckers’ scoring with six goals during a 14-12 win over the Ridgefield Tigers.
Carly Potts, St. Bernard: Scored five goals in the Saints’ 10-7 win over New London.
Kate Shaffer, Conard: Netted eight goals and one assist in Conard’s 12-6 win over Branford
Katie Schenk, Pomperaug: Schenk scored the 100th goal of her career during the Panthers’ 12-7 win over Brookfield on Thursday. She then added a hat trick during a 10-6 win over Daniel Hand in an SWC-SCC match-up.
Morgan Stankiewicz, Brookfield: Stankiewicz scored the 100th goal of her career during the Bobcats’ 12-7 loss to Pomperaug.
Maddie Stopkoski, Morgan: Led Morgan with eight goals in a 13-8 victory over Valley Regional.
Madison Wilson, Weston: The senior netted seven goals to lead Weston to a 17-9 win over Bethel.
GAMES TO WATCH
Darien at Manhasset (NY), Thursday, 4 p.m.: A match-up of two teams in US Lacrosse Magazine’s National Girls’ Top 25 rankings by US Lacrosse Magazine. Manhasset is No. 2 and Darien is No. 5.
Newtown at Ridgefield, Thursday, 4:30 p.m.: An SWC-FCIAC clash which features one team — No. 6 Ridgefield — in the state’s top 10, and another which is just outside.
Yorktown (NY) at Wilton, Thursday, 6 p.m.: The No. 3 Warriors try to rebound from their loss to New Canaan against a tough Huskers squad.
East Lyme at Cheshire, Thursday, 6 p.m.: The 7-2 East Lyme Vikings take on the 9-1 Cheshire Rams. Cheshire has won five straight since its only loss.
Ludlowe at Warde, Thursday, 7 p.m.: The battle of Fairfield under the lights at Testa Field.
New Fairfield at Joel Barlow, Friday, 7 p.m.: Joel Barlow was one of just three teams to defeat No. 10 New Fairfield last year. The Rebels travel to redding with a perfect 9-0 record.
Newtown at Cheshire, Saturday, 2 p.m.: A meeting of the SWC and SCC. This is Newtown’s second consecutive game against a ranked opponent as Cheshire is No. 5 in the latest coaches poll.
Ludlowe at Pomperaug, Saturday, 2 p.m.: The No. 8 Falcons play at the No. 9 Panthers. Ludlowe has won its first two games against non-FCIAC opponents, but Pomperaug is a tough one.
Darien at New Canaan, Saturday, 3 p.m.: A showdown of the top two teams in the GameTimeCT Top 10 poll at New Canaan’s Dunning Field. The two teams met twice last year, with No. 1 Darien winning 12-6 during the regular season and No. 2 New Canaan winning 12-11 in the Class L semifinals.
New Fairfield at North Branford, Monday, 6 p.m.: Both teams are undefeated through April and are ranked at the top of the Class S standings.
Greenwich at Darien, Tuesday, 4 p.m.: Darien hosts No. 7 Greenwich in yet another big game this week for the Blue Wave.
Staples at Wilton, Tuesday, 6 p.m.: No. 4 Staples takes on No. 3 Wilton under the lights at Kristine Lilly Field in Wilton