Girls lacrosse: Wilton reloads for another run

With seven starters gone from last year’s Class M state champs, the Wilton High girls lacrosse team will be looking for new talent to keep things rolling this season.

Fortunately, the Warriors have plenty of help — 15 new varsity players and a roster that goes 30 deep.

“With a larger roster than the past, we have a lot of options, and are excited about the prospect of changing things up on a regular basis,” said Head Coach Meredith Meyran. “We are looking forward to another great season.”

While the team returns only five starters, they have several other players who saw varsity action last year ready to take starting spots this year.

“This year it’s an extremely focused and hard-working group of girls who have a phenomenal senior class to look up to,” said the coach. “As the season progresses, it’s our goal to get better every day, and compete for an FCIAC and state championship.”

The Warriors open the season today when they host Fairfield Warde — a Class L semifinalist last year — at 6.

Wilton makes the move up to Class L this season — making for a tougher road to the title as the division features several state powers in Darien, Greenwich and Glastonbury.

The team is led by a strong senior class, featuring returning starters in midfielders Makenna Pearsall, Laine Parsons and Cecily Freliech, attack Sara Dickinson, and defender Casey Tucker.

Pearsall, a tremendous two-way player, was a first-team all-American, all-state and all-FCIAC last season. She tallied 38 goals and 20 assists, and was a difference maker on draws, with 118 draw controls. She had 78 groundballs.

Tucker is an outstanding defender — a two-time all-state pick and honorable mention all-American last year, with 23 caused turnovers. She is also an explosive runner who can clear the ball out of the zone.

Dickinson is a returning first-team all-state and all-FCIAC attack, who had 42 goals and 23 assists last season.

Parsons earned second-team all-state honors last season, finishing with 24 goals and eight assists. She also took draws for the team, with 50 draw controls for the season.

Freliech, who played defense last year, was also second-team all-state and second-team all-FCIAC.

Graduation probably hit hardest on the defensive end, with the loss of first-team all-state, first-team all-FCIAC goalie Hannah Wiltshire, first-team all-state, first-team all-FCIAC defender Maeve Kennard, and starting defender Emmie Arrix.

Junior Olivia Phelan will start the season in goal, with juniors Maddie Duffy and Campbell Gulbin, both returning varsity players, will fill the starting spots on defense. Ella Mannix, a returning junior, will also be contributing on the defensive end.

On defense, the list of varsity newcomers includes junior Lauren White, sophomores Ally DiSanto, Sarah Hinck and Olivia Nickel, and freshman Carly Lattimer, along with freshman goalie Paige Brown.

The midfield will be solid, with Pearsall, Freilich and Parsons. Senior Mel Boehme, who a major contributor off the bench last year, moves into a starting role. A newcomer, sophomore Rebecca Wistreich, fills out the starting midfield.

Rounding out the midfielders are freshmen Paisley Eagan and Zoe Lash.

The attack line includes Dickinson and two returning varsity players in sophomores Sydney Brant (who will also play midfield) and Erika Bonnist. Junior Lilla Seymour and senior Eliza Chapey, both returning varsity players, will see a lot of time at attack, as well.

Newcomers on attack include junior Haley Howard, sophomores Ellie Armstrong and Margaret Smith, and freshmen Julia Bonnist and Eva Greco.

“We also are excited to see how freshmen Paige Brown, Eva Greco, Julia Bonnist, Paisley Eagan, Zoe Lash, and Carly Lattimer step up and get into the mix,” said Coach Meyran.

Notes: The Warriors had a 19-4 overall record last season, and were 10-1 in FCIAC play. They were FCIAC and Class M finalists, losing to Darien in the FCIAC finals, 9-7, but topping New Canaan in the state finals, 8-6, in overtime.

Gone from that team on attack are Laura Knapp (first-team all-state), Annie Cornbrooks and Shannon Quinlan, and in the midfield, Char Noels. The defense graduated two starters, Kennard and Arrix, and goalie Wiltshire.

Coach Meyran said Darien, Wilton, New Canaan and Greenwich should be the top four teams in the FCIAC this season, with Staples and Warde right behind.