LACROSSE Big first half propels Greenwich Academy past Westminster
GREENWICH — Entering Thursday’s lacrosse game against Westminster School, the Greenwich Academy lacrosse team had reached double digits in goals in 11 of its 12 matchups.
And as the opening half progressed, it became apparent that Westminster was the latest team that couldn’t stop GA from lighting the scoreboard.
Showcasing its diversified offense and multiple scoring options, Greenwich Academy tallied 11 first-half goals on its way to rolling to a 16-6 triumph against visiting Westminster.
Junior attack Eliza Bowman and junior midfielder Grace Schulze each recorded hat tricks, while junior midfielder Taylor Lane and sophomore midfielder Margaret Maruszewski tallied two goals apiece in the win.
The Gators’ third consecutive win upped their record to 12-1, heading into Saturday’s showdown against Hotchkiss School, which is always one of GA’s toughest opponents.
Displaying precision passing and solid movement off the ball on offense, the Gators went into halftime with a commanding 11-1 advantage.
“The key to our success so far has been our intensity in practice, which translates to some good work on the field in our games,” Maruszewski said. “We wanted to keep our intensity the entire game and come out strong from the start.”
That’s exactly what the home team did. Bowman opened the scoring 45 seconds into the game, then the Martlets tied it at 1-1 on a goal from sophomore midfielder Sam DeLeo at the 22:58 mark. That marked the Martlets final goal of the half, as it was all GA offensively thereafter.
Maruszewski gave the Gators the lead for good at 2-1 with 23:47 remaining in the first half and sophomore Paige Lipman scored off a setup by junior attack Tessa Brooks, making it 3-1.
Schulze showed her elusiveness, tallying off a dodge, putting GA on top, 4-1 with 15:46 to go in the first half. Brooks put a free position shot past Westminster sophomore goalie Ellie Bailey and Schulze carried the ball down the field after winning the ensuing draw and tallied, giving the Gators a 7-1 edge.
“We moved the ball quickly and fast through transition and were able to get some points on the board,” Maruszewski said.
GA’s continued its first-half scoring surge, with Lane scoring off an on-target pass from junior Katie Goldsmith and sophomore Rachel Rogers putting her 8-meter shot into the back of the net. Bowman and Goldsmith sealed the Gators’ first-half scoring, giving their squad a 10-goal lead.
Meanwhile, GA’s defense was sound when Westminster had possession, with senior Leila Schneider, sophomore Alessia Packard, junior Binney Huffman and sophomore Lila Murray leading the cause.
“On defense we were focusing on communicating and slowing down the fastbreak,” Packard said. “One of the things we are focusing on now is working on our slides and pushing the second slide, which is what we did well today. We were also strong on defensive transition, which is what we’ve also been working on a lot in practice.”
Getting goals from junior attack Ridley Green, DeLeo and senior Georgia Swank, the Martlets notched three of the first four second half goals, making it a 12-4 game. But goals from Brecon Welch and Maddie Holden brought the Gators lead back up to 10.
Supported by impressive defensive play, GA junior goalie Cate Spaulding made five saves.
“She’s great and she’s great at talking to us,” Packard said of Spaulding. “She gives us a lot of direction on the field, especially when we’re a man down.”
Lipman and Goldsmith had one goal and one assist apiece, while Rogers added two goals and one assist in the winning effort.
Swank and DeLeo had two goals for Westminster, which is coached by Whitney Powel, who played lacrosse at Westminster and was a captain in her senior year in 2011.
Hotchkiss visits Greenwich Academy Saturday at 3 p.m. GA then hosts John Jay (N.Y.) High School Monday at 4:30, before visiting Longmeadow (Mass.) on Saturday in its season finale.
“We love playing in tough games against tough opponents like Hotchkiss,” Maruszewski said. “We are prepared.”