Rivals Greenwich, Darien to meet in Class L girls lacrosse final
CHESHIRE -- Last season's FCIAC girls lacrosse final is this season's Class L championship game.
Rivals Darien and Greenwich High School figured they might see each other again after their regular season matchup on May 7. Tuesday, the Cardinals and Blue Wave sealed it, as they each advanced Saturday's CIAC Class L finals at Bunnell High School with strong semifinal round performances.
Fourth-seeded Greenwich earned its fourth straight appearance in the Class L championship game, defeating top-seeded Glastonbury 11-8 at Cheshire High School. Second-seeded Darien, which is competing in the Class L Tournament for the first time after ruling Class M, advanced by downing third-seeded Hall of West Hartford 14-7.
In the opener, Greenwich senior attack Emma Christie scored five goals, while senior midfielder Emily Johnson recorded a hat trick and junior middie Carolyn Paletta tallied twice to power the two-time defending Class L champion Cardinals past Glastonbury.
"It feels really great to be going to the finals for the fourth year," said Christie, a varsity squad member since her freshman season. "I'm really confident in our team. We're clicking on all levels right now, offensively and defensively."
Trailing 8-6, the Cardinals turned the game around by capitalizing on a man-up situation after. Johnson, who played despite a fever, came off the bench and scored two straight goals, the second of which came while splitting two defenders, knotting the score at 8-8 with 13:06 left. Christie's goal off a feed from Anne Dunster put Greenwich ahead for good at 9-8 with 8:21 remaining. Goals from Johnson and junior Carolyn Paletta sealed it for the Cards.
"That yellow card was one of the keys, we took advantage of that situation," Greenwich coach Caitlin Keane said. "Emily had a fever, so she didn't start and we had to watch her minutes. We put her at low attack and she really sparked us."
Glastonbury (17-2) was paced by Taylor Walker's three goals and Cami Santor's hat trick. Greenwich fell behind 4-2 in the first half, but rallied to take a 6-5 halftime edge. Christie scored three goals during the span and Meghan Collins added another. Sophomore Kylie Ginsberg had a standout game in goal for the Cards, making nine saves.
"This is my first time in the state tournament, so I was nervous," Ginsberg said. "But once the game started I was fine. Our defense (led by Molli Haimerl, Danielle Raviele, Claire O'Connor, Natalie Paletta) really did a great job."
In the second game, the Blue Wave received hat tricks from Lexie Perticone, Dillon Schoen and Kristen Gilbert to cruise past Hall. The Warriors slowed the game down the first 10 minutes, keeping it scoreless. But it was just a matter of time before the Blue Wave got rolling.
Darien scored the game's first seven goals during a four-minute span to seize a commanding lead. Hollis Perticone began the run, tallying off a free position shot with 13:57 left in the first half and Schoen added a goal a minute later.
"Hall is a well-coached, strong team and they definitely got us out of sync in the beginning of the game," Darien coach Lisa Lindley said. "Once we began moving the ball well and showed some patience we got going offensively."
Senior goalie Caylee Waters made seven saves for Darien, which received rock-solid play from its defenders.
"The key for us was to get the draw control," Darien senior Jena Fritts said. "We're very excited to be going to the finals and we're looking forward to playing Greenwich again."
The Blue Wave entered the Class L Tournament eager for their new challenge.
"After playing the same teams in Class M it's nice to play new opponents from upstate Connecticut," senior Taylor Hardison said. "We want to show the FCIAC is the best and having two teams from our league in the finals proves it. We know a lot of the Greenwich girls from playing against them year round, so it should be a great game."
Greenwich 11, Glastonbury 8
GREENWICH 6 5 -- 11
GLASTONBURY 5 3 -- 8
Scoring: Gr: Emma Christie 5 g; Emily Johnson 3 g; Carolyn Paletta 2 g; Meghan Collins 1 g; Sophie Waine 1 a; Danielle Raviele 1 a. Gl -- Cami Santor 3 g, 1 a; Taylor Walker 3 g, 2 a; Courtney Peterson 1 g; Jane Modlesky 1 g; Brenna McHugh 1 a. Goalies: Gr -- Kylie Ginsberg (9 saves); Gl -- Audrey Apanovitch (7 saves). Records: Greenwich 17-4; Glastonbury 17-2.
Darien 14, Hall 7
DARIEN 8 6--14
HALL 2 5--7
Scoring: D -- Lexie Perticone 3 g, 1 a; Dillon Schoen 3 g; Kristen Gilbert 3 g, Jena Fritts 1 g, Mariah Matheis 1 g; Hollis Perticone 1 g; Emily Stein 1 g, 1 a; Taylor Hardison 1 g, 2 a; Eleanor Bennett 1 a. H -- Rachel Aronow 3 g; Hayley Mullins 2 g; Alannah Boyle 1 g; Megan Tracy 1 g. Goalies: D -- Caylee Waters (8 saves); H -- Madison Hooper (5 saves). Records: Darien 20-1; Hall 16-2