Field hockey: Wilton falls to 11th-ranked Mamaroneck, 2-1

Taking on its third nationally ranked opponent in recent weeks, it looked for a while that the third time might be the charm for the Wilton High field hockey team.

The Warriors outplayed visiting Mamaroneck, N.Y., for a good deal of the first half of Monday's game, and held a 1-0 lead as the half wound down.

But Mamaroneck scored with just four seconds left in the half to tie the game, and then dominated much of of the second half to pull out a 2-1 win at Fujitani Field.

The Tigers, who are ranked 11th in the country, improved to 11-1. Wilton fell to 8-3, with all three defeats coming to nationally ranked teams — Lakeland (#4), Darien (#14) and Mamaroneck (#11).

Head Coach Deirdre Hynes felt the Warriors could have done better finishing its chances in the first half, when they were controlling the game.

"We should have capitalized on that a little more and we didn't do that," she said. "I thought we played well in the first half. We just couldn't finish. We needed two, three goals there to keep our momentum going and to deflate them a little bit. In the second half they came out and they completely dominated us and beat us to 50/50 balls, and you could tell they wanted it in the second half. You can't do that against good teams. You've got to play 60 minutes."

The Tigers started the game with some good pressure, with Wilton goalie Amanda Hendry making two saves in the opening minutes. But the Warriors eventually turned the momentum the other way, and for most of the remainder of the half were on attack, with repeated trips into the Mamaroneck arc. Emma Rosen had the first scoring chance, and Maddie Duffy's pass a short time later was almost knocked in by Delaney Chase.

Wilton went up 1-0 on penalty corner about 10 minutes into the game, as Rosen's blast was deflected past Mamaroneck goalie Charlotte Mackie and into the goal by Bridget Ward.

About five minutes later, on another corner, Caroline Ferro carried the ball to right top arc and got off a hard hit that Jillian Mahon deflected just wide.

The Warriors had several other scoring chances, and four more corners, in the half but couldn't add to the lead. On one, a hit from the side by Jess Hendry to just outside the left post was almost directed in by Gwen Hall, but Mackie held her ground, while shots by Mahon and Emma Rothkopf missed the mark.

Mamaroneck picked up its play in the final minutes of the half and, after a great point-blank save by Hendry, managed to get one in with four seconds left when Lizzie Clark's hit from outside was deflected at the left post by Megan Mullaney high into the cage.

Wilton had a good start to the second half, earning a corner in the opening minutes, with Mahon's aerial shot going just high.

After that, Mamaroneck took over, playing much more aggressively and efficiently than in the first half. Shortly after Wilton's corner, a ball was sent behind the Wilton defense at midfield and Mullaney ran onto the ball and took it into the arc, before Meredith Rappaport hustled back to break up the attack..

The Tigers got their first corner of the game about six minutes into the second half, and kept Wilton under constant pressure, with Rappaport, Wilton's center back, doing an great job defusing threats.

Shortly after an unsuccessful Wilton penalty corner, Mamaroneck quickly counterattacked, with Clark sending a ball through the midfield, behind the defense. Gracie Fitzgerald chased down the ball just as it entered the arc. Hendry at the same time charged out to clear the ball and they reached the ball at the same time, about 10 yards in front of the goal. After a minor collision, the ball went behind Hendry and Fitzgerald tapped it into the cage for a 2-1 lead with 11:35 left.

The Warriors regrouped and pushed their attack, getting three consecutive corners with about 10 minutes left, but couldn't connect. The Tigers had several chances to pad their lead, but were turned away on saves by Hendry, who was outstanding.

For the game, Mamaroneck had a 12-6 edge in shots at goal, while Wilton had a 10-3 edge in corners.

Hendry had nine saves for the Warriors and Mackie three saves for the Tigers.

Coach Hynes said the loss was another lesson for the Warriors to absorb, as they move towards the post-season.

"That's why we play these games. Against Lakeland we learned a ton. It kind of exposed all our weaknesses. We came out against Darien and had one of our best games, even though we lost 2-0. Things just didn't go our way. We've been learning ever since then," she said. "This game, we had a strong first half, but then the second half we didn't. It's another tough lesson to learn, but we weren't consistent enough.

"Hopefully all these tough lessons learned will pay off in the post-season."