Between Monday’s defeat at New Canaan and the loss of junior all-American Eva Greco to a season-ending injury, it had been a pretty rough week for the Wilton High girls lacrosse team.
So what better way for the Warriors to shake it off than by playing their most complete game of the season and totally dominating a good Fairfield Warde team, 14-6, on Thursday night at Lilly Field.
After the Mustangs (4-2) scored the game’s first goal, the Warriors controlled the ball, and the game, and reeled off 14 straight goals to build a 14-1 lead with about five minutes left to play.
Wilton held Warde scoreless for more than 43 minutes.
The Mustangs, who entered the game 4-1, with the only defeat a 12-9 loss to Greenwich, tallied five goals in the final five minutes after the game had long been decided.
“I think collectively as a unit we stepped up,” said Wilton head coach Meredith Meyran. “Warde is a very talented and very well-coached team. They’re one of the best teams in the FCIAC. We just came out really ready to play tonight.”
The Warriors somehow didn’t seem to miss a beat even without Greco, their leading scorer who suffered an ACL injury in the final minute of Monday’s game.
Wilton (7-2) got four goals and two assists from Rebecca Wistreich, and three goals and one assist from her fellow co-captain Sydney Brant.
Julia Skillin, Margaret Smith and Erika Bonnist had two goals each, and Ellie Armstrong tallied one goal. Carly Sullivan and Taylor Lamantia each had an assist.
“I think we try to come out no matter who we’re playing and just focus on Wilton lacrosse and play as hard as we can, and I think that’s what we did tonight. We came out with intensity and focus and we just followed our game plan,” said Wistreich. “It’s definitely emotional losing Eva. She’s an amazing player and we love her to death, but we knew we had to come together as a team and stay strong, and I think that’s what we did.”
Courtney Scheetz scored the first of her four goals to give Warde the initial 1-0 lead just over a minute into the game. Wilton answered with goals by Wistreich and Smith to lead 2-1 about four minutes into the game, and pulled away from there.
They key was Wilton’s domination of possession time. Through a combination of winning draw controls, Warde turnovers and patience on offense, the Warriors had the ball for almost all of the final 20 minutes of the first half, extending the run to eight straight goals by halftime, leading 8-1.
Without Greco in the draw circle, Skillin stepped up in a big way to help Wilton’s dominance on the draws. She won five draw controls herself, with Wistreich winning four draw-control balls.
“She did a fantastic job, and against of the best drawers in the county,” said Meyran of Skillin’s performance.
On offense, the Warriors for the most part played an error-free game, moving the ball patiently and probing for openings in Warde’s zone defense, which didn’t allow anything easy for Wilton.
“That was part of our game plan, which was to be patient,” said Meyran. “They play a very strong zone so we knew we were going to have to be patient, and it would take longer to get inside and that we would really have to wait for the good look. And they did a great job making those decisions on the field.”
Coach Meyran said losing Greco for the season has been very hard to deal with, especially as the Warriors has also lost starting defender Carly Lattimer in a similar way in the Ridgefield game.
“We had already recovered once from losing a starter like that, and then it happened again and it was in such a dramatic fashion at the end of the New Canaan game, it took a lot out of us.”
Thursday night’s performance definitely helped the healing process.
“It was a bigger piece of what we’re capable of,” said Meyran. “We’ve seen glimpses of it but this game we were really able to sustain it for 50 minutes, and I was really proud of them for that.”
Notes: Paige Brown was solid in goal with seven saves for 39 minutes of play, allowing only one goal. Bridgette Wall was also impressive, turning away five shots over the final 11 minutes of the game.
Sarah Adams and Libby McKenna also scored goals for Warde, while Abigail King made nine saves in goal.