Darien and Greenwich will face each other in the Class L finals on Saturday at Bunnell High School. Bob Luckey photo
Round 2 of one of the biggest rivalries in FCIAC girls lacrosse will take place Saturday when Darien and Greenwich – two teams that have been contenders in their conference for years – duel, this time for the state championship.
The Cardinals and Blue Wave, who met in the 2012 FCIAC finals, won by Darien, each advanced to the CIAC Class L finals Tuesday with impressive victories. Second-seeded Darien downed third-seeded Hall of West Hartford, 14-7, while fourth-seeded Greenwich eliminated top-seeded Glastonbury, 11-8. Here’s the game story featuring both team’s victories bit.ly/11jKtcy
Let’s take a closer look at both games, then check out how the Blue Wave and the two-time defending Class L champion Cardinals match up.
GREENWICH VS. GLASTONBURY
SPEED DEMONS: Glastonbury, which entered the game with just one loss, gave a valiant effort, but it was apparent as the game progressed that the Tomahawks didn’t possess the Cardinals’ speed. Junior midfielder Carolyn Paletta (2 goals) was a tough matchup for Glastonbury the whole game, as was Emma Christie.
CHRISTIE CATCHING FIRE: Christie, a senior, played in the Class L championship three times her first three years on the varsity team and she wasn’t going to be denied a fourth appearance in the title game. Christie scored four of her game-high five goals in the first half and each one proved to be crucial, as the Cards entered halftime with just a 6-5 edge.
“We knew it was going to be a close game and when it was close in the second half we knew our season could be over if we didn’t step it up,” Christie said.
Said GHS coach Caitlin Keane: “Emma has natural ability. She has such a quick shot off the crease rolls.”
JOHNSON’S JOLT OFF THE BENCH: Senior midfielder Emily Johnson, one of the Cardinals’ leading scorers, played a limited amount of minutes because she was ill, suffering the effects of a fever. Yet Johnson came off the bench and scored three goals in the second half, two of which pulled Greenwich even at 8-8. After a Glastonbury player was charged with a yellow card, Johnson scored a man-up goal, dodging a pair of defenders along the way, making it 8-7 with 14:15 left to play. At the 13:06 mark, she weaved her way between two defenders before unleashing her shot from close range, tying the score at 8-8.
GINSBERG’S GREAT DEBUT: A soccer goalie in the fall, sophomore Kylie Ginsberg decided to give lacrosse a try in the spring. The Cardinals are sure glad she made that decision. Besides being solid all year in goal, Ginsberg rose to the occasion in her first appearance in the state tournament, making nine saves Tuesday.
“She has never played in this tournament before, this is all new to her,” Keane said. “She’s played so well all season and she’s worked very hard, staying after practice to improve her skills.”
WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY: Carolyn Paletta: “It’s nice to advance to the finals again, especially for our seniors. We all worked hard to get there for them and the hard work has paid off.”
Glastonbury coach Kris Cofiell: “Greenwich had experience over us. They’re an FCIAC team, they beat us two years ago in the state finals (a 12-10 Cardinals victory) and they play in these type of games all the time. If you told me we would be in the state semifinals before the season started I wouldn’t believe it. We had a great season.”
DARIEN VS. HALL
Hall came out and effectively slowed the game down the first 10 minutes or so. The Warriors had a couple of good defensive stands during Darien’s first two possessions and had some chances to score the game’s first goal. But the Blue Wave withstood Hall’s solid start with strong defensive of their own, then imposed their will.
FANTASTIC FOUR MINUTES: A scoreless game turned into a 7-0 Darien lead in a matter of 4 minutes, 11 seconds. Hollis Perticone lit the scoreboard first, converting a free position shot. Dillon Schoen followed with a goal off a 1-on-1 move, then Jena Fritts tallied, making the score 3-1 in a 1:30 span. Darien was just getting warmed up, as Kristen Gilbert scored and Schoen added two more goals, putting Hall in a 7-0 hole.
DYNAMIC DEFENSE: “Our defense played an overall great game,” Darien coach Lisa Lindley said. “Hall was very patient at the start of the first half and we didn’t have many chances to score, so it took us a while to get going offensively. But our defense kept it a scoreless game.”
Vanessa Budd, Lauren Pryor, and Jacqueline Brokaw helped lead Darien’s defense, while Caylee Waters (8 saves) was outstanding in goal once again.
Let’s take a look at how Darien and Greenwich’s last meeting went on May 7.
I couldn’t tell the difference between the two teams, as Greenwich came out strong, led 7-5 at one point and entered halftime with a 7-6 edge. The second half was a different story. Darien outscored Greenwich 11-2 in the second half and left its home field with a 17-9 victory.
Emily Stein hurt the Cardinals, scoring six goals. Taylor Hardison was also a force scoring twice, while registering five assists. Draw control was a big reason for the turnaround in the second half. Lindley relied on Ellie Bennett to take the draws in the second half and Bennett responded, consistently helping her squad gain possession. Darien posted a 17-14 win over the Cardinals in last year’s FCIAC title game.