The Greenwich Academy and Convent of the Sacred Heart lacrosse teams have been embroiled in close games the past few seasons and Saturday was no different, as their annual regular season matchup went right down to the wire.
The Gators, who beat the Tigers twice last season, after falling to CSH two times in 2011, prevailed Saturday, posting an 11-10 road win. GA, which trailed 6-5, at halftime, received four goals from Sasha Fritts, two goals and one assist from Gabby Noto and two goals from Lexi Henkel.
Sacred Heart was paced offensively by Colleen O’Neill, who scored three times, Allie Kenny (2 goals, 1 assist) and Mo Leitner (2 goals). With five lead changes it was a back-and-forth battle throughout. Watching the game, you got the feeling whichever team opened a two-goal lead late in the game would be in the drivers’ seat. That’s what the Gators did, taking an 11-9 lead with 7:21 to go in the game. CSH scored to close to within one, but couldn’t tally the equalizer, as GA took a lot of time off the clock running their stall.
The Tigers, who have had ups and downs in some of their games this season, turned in their most impressive performance of the season so far and could be boosted by this effort. Here’s what some of the players had to say after the game.
Sacred Heart goalie Maddie Pillari: “We could come away from this game with our heads up. After this game we look forward to seeing what we are capable of. A one-point game is about just one mistake, so it could have gone either way.”
Greenwich Academy defender Emma Olney: “We really needed to get our heads into it and believe we could do this. At the end of the game it came down to us trying to keep possession.”
Sacred Heart midfielder Colleen O’Neill: “I think in the end we needed to keep our composure. We lost the ball a few times and that hurt us in the long run. Even though we lost we did a lot of things well and this will motivate us for the rest of the season.”
GA is 9-0 after the win and is on pace to breeze through another regular season en route to reaching the finals of the FAA Tournament. At 5-4, Sacred Heart has some work to do, but after the effort it displayed Saturday, this team has what it takes to make it back to the FAA finals once again.
“That’s the plan,” CSH coach Courtney DePeter said. “To make it back there.”