Girls lacrosse: Warriors pull away from Glastonbury, advance to quarterfinals
After a late-season slump that saw it lose four of its last six games, the Wilton High girls lacrosse team opened the Class L state playoffs on Tuesday looking a little more like the team that opened the season at 8-2.
The 11th-seeded Warriors used a late 4-0 run to pull away from a strong Glastonbury squad, handing the sixth-seeded Tomahawks a 14-9 loss in Glastonbury.
Wilton (11-6) advanced to Thursday's quarterfinal round, with a game at third-seeded Cheshire at 5.
Tuesday’s game was Wilton’s first action in 11 days, after a disappointing loss to Staples in the FCIAC quarterfinals.
“The last couple of weeks, last week especially, have been very hard for us. We’ve been working so incredibly hard and just putting in the extra effort. We believe we’re working harder than anybody else,” said senior co-captain Sydney Brant. ”I think that’s what we have together as a team, is the love and the heart and the hustle. We’re ready to put those commitments down and give it all we’ve got to make sure we can execute on game day.”
“I’m really proud of the effort we had today and the way we put it together and worked together as a team. It was overall a fantastic effort, from defense to offense,” said head coach Meredith Meyran. “We still have some things we need to clean up. We were really able to capitalize on our opportunities, so those mistakes didn’t hurt us as too bad.”
The Warriors were led by Margaret Smith with five goals and Sophie Sudano with three goals, with two goals apiece from Rebecca Wistreich, Julia Bonnist and Julia Skillin.
Ellie Armstrong finished with three assists, with single assists from Sudano, Wistreich, Smith, Skillin and Brant.
The player of the game was goalie Paige Brown, who was credited with 17 saves and repeatedly thwarted Glastonbury in the second half.
The Wilton defensive group — Zoe Lash, Emmy Goodwin, Ally DiSanto and Carly Sullivan, along with middies Wistreich, Brant and Sudano — also played exceptionally well, especially down they stretch as they held the Tomahawks scoreless over the final 10 minutes of the game.
Wilton never trailed in the game, jumping out to leads of 4-0 and 6-1, and taking a 7-4 lead into halftime. The Tomahawks’ aggressive defensive pressure and double teaming led to several turnovers, but also allowed Wilton some wide-open shots.
“We knew they would pressure. It was really hard to play against. It really took us out of our game for a little bit,” said Meyran.
Glastonbury got the lead down to 7-6 early in the second half, but free-position goals by Bonnist and Smith upped the lead to 9-6. Another Smith goal, off a great set-up by Armstrong, made it 10-7 with 14:01 left.
Wilton’s lead might have been even larger at this point but the Warriors repeatedly threw the ball away on clearing attempts. After a goal by Marina DiPiazza in transition, off a Wilton turnover, and another by Caroline Boque, on a free position, Wilton’s lead was down to 10-9 with 10:10 left to play.
Sudano answered about two minutes later when she blew past a defender and scored on the run. Skillin bounced in a shot from five yards in front with 5:22 left, making it 12-9.
After a point-black save by Brown, the Warriors scored with 4:06 left, on a series of passes from Skillin to Smith to Wistreich, who was all alone in front for the goal.
Bonnist capped off the scoring with 3:03 left, off a feed from Skillin.
Sudano, Wilton’s talented freshman, had been coming on late in the season and on Tuesday played her best game, on both ends of the field. It was a much-needed boost for a team that lost All-American attacker Eva Greco to injury early in the season.
“She’s been getting better and better all season, and in these last couple of games she was finally ready to step up and take over,” Meyran said of Sudano. “I’m so proud of her. She did a great job.”
Despite Glastonbury’s pressure and despite the turnovers, the Warriors played with as much poise and resolve as they have in a month or so.
“Everybody just kept their composure and kept executing,” said Brant. “We definitely got our energy back.”
“It was a struggle,” coach Meyran said of the late-season slump. “We really had some things to work out and we identified what our weaknesses were and I think we really improved on them.
“We’re so thankful that the system is the way it is, so we’re able to continue our season,” she continued. “Glastonbury’s a great team.They’re well coached. They’re a fantastic group of girls and we really have a lot of respect for them, so it was great to come out here and come away with the win.”
For Glastonbury (12-5), Boque and DiPiazza each had three goals, while Catherine Guanci had two goals and two assist. Tori Hurley also scored. Maura Shiring finished with eight saves in goal.