Girls lacrosse: Wilton wins battle with Greenwich, 8-7

The Wilton High girls lacrosse team notched its second big one-goal win in three days by holding on for an 8-7 victory over Greenwich on Thursday night at home.

The Warriors (4-1) used a similar recipe to that of Tuesday’s 10-9 win at Ridgefield. They fell behind early, pulled even midway through the game, and eventually seized the momentum, and the lead, in the final 10 minutes or so.

Then, they held on for dear life in the final minute to ward off the Cardinals, who threatened to tie right until the end in a crazy finish.

Margaret Smith and Eva Greco each had two goals to lead Wilton, with other goals by Ellie Armstrong, Rebecca Wistreich, Sydney Brant and Julia Bonnist.

Armstrong, Wistreich and Brant each had two assists, while Smith had one assist.

Maggie O’Gorman scored four goals for Greenwich (3-1), which suffered its first loss of the season. The Cardinals’ other goals were scored by Erika Bloes, Genevieve DeWinter and Romy Villemure. Sloane Loveless had eight saves in goal.

The Warriors stayed unbeaten (3-0) in FCIAC play.

“It feels great to be undefeated in FCIAC play. That’s our goal, to go into FCIACs beating everyone there,” said Wilton goalie Paige Brown, who was outstanding with 15 saves. “Our team really knows how to finish a game. We’re very good at adjusting to the play. We have so much chemistry that we can really bring it together in the second half.”

The game was nip and tuck the whole way. The Cardinals had the biggest lead of the first half, at 4-2, when Villemure fired in a shot on the run from about 10 yards out, with 1:53 left in the half.

The Cardinals tried to run the clock down for a final shot, but Wistreich forced a turnover and that led to a goal by Greco, on a rocket under the crossbar, with about eight seconds left in the half, making it 4-3.

That goal had been an extra-man goal, as a Cardinal player had been carded and sent off.

Wilton was still a man-up to start the second half, and after winning the draw tied the game on a free-position shot by Smith just 1:13 into the half.

Greenwich answered with a goal by Bloes, off a nice feed by Grace Fahey, but Wilton tied things up at 5-5 as Smith scored in front off a pass from Brant.

Wilton took its first lead since the opening minutes when Armstrong scored in front off a pass from Wistreich, making it 6-5 with 15:18 left. DeWinter’s bullet from 10 yards tied things with 10:27 left.

With under eight minutes to go, Armstrong made a stick check to force a turnover at midfield, and it lead to the go-ahead goal when she made a perfect pass to Greco cutting into the crease, making it 7-6 with 7:39 left.

The Warriors won the draw control and tried to run the clock down, forcing the Cardinals to extend their defense. That led to a goal by Brant, off a long pass from Wistreich, with 6:06 left to make it 8-6.

O’Gorman got Greenwich to within 10-9 with a free-position goal with 3:23 left. Greco came up with the key draw control, and Wilton again tried to run the clock out. With 2:30 left, O’Gorman had appeared to have caused a turnover with a check, but was instead called for a foul and issued a yellow card.

With Greenwich playing a man down, the Warriors took two minutes off the clock until a mishandled pass was scooped up by Villemure with 30 seconds left.

That led to a final barrage of shots by Greenwich, with Brown coming up with some key saves and another shot hitting the post. The final save came right at the final whistle.

“I think the ball just didn’t end up bouncing our way tonight,” said Greenwich head coach Caitlin Young. “We hit a hot goalie. We had probably four or five posts, and some unlucky things. It is what it is. (It was) two good teams that will probably see each other again.”

Young said it was a solid effort, for so early in the season.

“They did everything we asked them to do. We got a turnover at the end. We got plenty of shots, and I think three of the last five shots we took hit the pipe,” she said. “To execute at that level this early in the season against another strong team bodes very well for us. That’s what we’re taking away from today.”

“I thought overall we played a pretty solid game for being five games into the season,” said Wilton head coach Meredith Meyran.

While the Warriors did have some untimely turnovers, Meyran was confident the Warriors will tighten things up as the season progresses.

“We know there’s going to be those mistakes and those kind of breakdowns, and we’re focusing on making sure we recover from them and not let the other team go on any runs.”

In addition to the play of Brown in the cage, and Wilton got a solid effort from its core defense of Zoe Lash, Emmy Goodwin, Ally Disanto and Delia Freliech, and midfielders Brant, Wistreich, Carly Sullivan and Julia Skillin.