Girls lacrosse: Warriors advance to state quarterfinals

It took a while for the Wilton High girls lacrosse team to get rolling in Tuesday’s Class M state playoff opener against Guilford — but once the Warriors did, they looked like a team with state championship aspirations.

Which they are.

“This year we really want it. We got to the state championship the last two years and lost to the same team. This year, we’re not going to let that happen again. We really want it,” said Sara Dickinson, who celebrated her birthday with five goals and two assists in Wilton’s 18-4 win at Kristine Lilly Field.

The third-seeded Warriors (16-4) host sixth-seeded Brookfield on Thursday in the quarterfinals at 5 at Lilly Field.

On Tuesday, Wilton wasted no time as Dickinson scored just 17 seconds into the game, and goals by Laine Parsons and Makenna Pearsall made it 3-0 just three minutes into the game.

Then, the Warriors took a nap, according to head coach Meredith Meyran, scoring only one goal over the next 18 minutes and committing seven of their eight turnovers on the day.

But the Wilton defense — anchored by Casey Tucker, Emmie Arrix, Maeve Kennard, Parsons, Pearsall, Cecily Freilich, Char Noels and goalie Hannah Wiltshire — held Guilford scoreless for nearly 21 minutes, and eventually the Warriors began to pour it on offensively.

“I was really happy overall with how we played today. It took us a little while to adjust to the heat, I think. It hasn’t been this hot since last year, so we haven’t had the chance to practice in it,” said coach Meyran. “I think it affected us at first but we were able to settle down and get back into our game, and we were able to capitalize.”

Meyran said the Warriors weren’t taking 19th-seeded Guilford (6-9-1) lightly.

“We’re motivated and focused, and not looking past anybody,” she said. “I think we had to adjust to Guilford. They played very aggressive defense and we had to make sure we knew what we were up against. I was happy with the way we adjusted.”

The game was tight until Wilton blew things up with a flurry late in the first half.

Guilford responded to Wilton’s early lead with a pair of goals to make it 3-2 with about 17 minutes left in the first half. After Dickinson scored to put Wilton up 4-2 with 14:50 left in the half, the Indians had multiple chances to cut the lead to one over the next five minutes. But Wiltshire made three saves and one interception during that stretch to deny Guilford.

The Warriors finally got on track in the final five minutes of the half, with a 6-0 run to take a 10-2 halftime lead.

Pearsall got things going with a pair of goals in the space of 17 seconds to make it 6-2 with 4:58 left, and Dickinson scored at 4:03 and 2:29 to up the lead to 8-2.

Late in the half, Cecily Freilich caused a turnover and took the ball down the field, finding Annie Cornbrooks, who dumped a shot over the goalie with 26 seconds left in the half.

Laura Knapp won the ensuing draw control, took the ball down the field and fed Cornbrooks for another goal, with nine seconds left, making it 10-2.

Knapp won five draw control balls in the first half to lead the Warriors, who won 10 of 13 draw controls in the half.

The Warriors played a solid second half to extend the lead, and got a tremendous half from Wiltshire in goal with nine second-half saves. Guilford ended a nearly 21-minute scoring drought, and 12-0 Wilton run, with a goal with 11:25 left in the game.

Wiltshire finished the game with 13 saves.

In addition to Dickinson’s five goals and two assists, Wilton got three goals each from Pearsall and Cornbrooks, while Knapp had two goals, three assists and a team-high six draw controls.

Char Noels also had two goals, with single tallies by Shannon Quinlan, Parsons and Freilich, who also had an assist.

Parsons won five draw controls and Pearsall won two, with one each by Casey Tucker and Noels.

Freilich had two caused turnovers and two groundballs, and Pearsall had one caused turnover and two groundballs.

Tucker also won two groundballs, with one each by Parsons, Emmie Arrix, Dickinson, Cornbrooks, Alexandra Rossi and Lilla Seymour.

Guilford got one goal apiece from Nicole Racciua, Edy Mortiz, Alex Fitzgerald and Megan O’Connor.

Dickinson said the Warriors needed to put last week’s 9-7 loss to Darien in the FCIAC finals behind them, and they did just that on Tuesday.

“It’s over. It was a tough game. Darien’s a very good team but we know can play a lot better than we did Friday, so we just have to move past and start new,” she said.