The Wilton High girls lacrosse team built a big early lead and then fended off host Newtown for a 7-5 road win in the first round of the Class L state tournament Tuesday.
With the victory, 11th-seed Wilton advanced to face FCIAC rival and third-seed Staples in a quarterfinal game Thursday at 5 p.m. in Westport.
The Warriors led 5-1 late in the first half and 5-2 at the break. But sixth-seed Newtown scored the first three goals of the second half to tie the game at 5-5.
Wilton (12-7) went ahead to stay on Sophie Sudano’s goal, with 5:05 remaining. Teammate Carly Sullivan netted an insurance goal with 1:27 left.
Sudano, Sullivan, and Julia Skillin each scored twice for the Warriors. Olivia Gladstein had Wilton’s other goal and added an assist.
“I thought it was a defensive battle. I think both teams played some of the best defense I’ve seen all season, at times,” Wilton coach Meredith Meyran said. “It’s unfortunate we had to meet so early in the state tournament.”
Meyran liked her team’s mental toughness.
“When Newtown tied the score in the second half it came down to who wanted it more at that point. While I think both teams wanted it, we made the smart plays at the end,” she said.
Newtown coach Maura Fletcher credited Wilton with making steals in key spots.
“They caused probably three or four turnovers that really hurt us toward the end of the game,” said Fletcher, adding that one of those came while Newtown had an extra player.
Defender Delia Freliech gave Wilton a boost in the back not only with her play — taking risks at the right time to help disrupt Newtown’s offense — but also her voice.
“She anchored the defense with her communication and kept everything positive,” Meyran said.
Notes: Julia Gerace scored twice for Newtown, and Lu Hage, Riley Harrell, and Keeley Kortze added one goal apiece.
Meghan Lane played solid defense and contributed on draws for Wilton.
Newtown finished the season with a 12-4-1 record.