Girls lax downs Hand for Class M title
Published 11:49 am, Wednesday, June 17, 2015
They wrote the exact ending they wanted.
The nine seniors on the New Canaan girls lacrosse team closed out their high school careers by defeating Daniel Hand High 13-7 Saturday in the Class M state championship at Bunnell High.
"The nine seniors have been through a lot together," New Canaan senior tri-captain Elizabeth Miller said. "This was the way we wanted to leave. It’s an exciting feeling to go out winning another state championship."
Indeed. The crown was New Canaan’s third Class M state title in four years and fourth state championship since 2010.
"It was a nice way to end a great season," said New Canaan coach Kristin Woods. "I’ve been coaching most of them since the third grade. I’m sad to see all the (nine) seniors go. But I’m sure I will hear about all their college exploits. I know their focus was here today."
No. 2 seed Daniel Hand (21-2 overall) jumped out to a 2-0 edge. But the afternoon’s final 43 minutes all belonged to No. 4 seed New Canaan.
The Rams were brilliant in all phases of the game as New Canaan led 7-3 at halftime, 11-4 with 13:03 to go and 13-6 with 8:50 remaining.
Hand, the SCC champions, saw their high-power attack derailed in the faceoff circle Saturday.
New Canaan’s 6-foot sophomore Campbell Armstrong used her height to dominate faceoffs in the air. Her Ram teammates used their speed to grab a number of ground balls off the faceoff.
"New Canaan really hurt us on the draws," said Hand coach Kevin Siedlecki. "Armstrong was better on faceoffs than anyone we faced all season. The other issue was New Canaan’s midfield was so fast."
The speed of Miller (team-high four goals) and junior Catherine Granito (three goals) set the tone for New Canaan.
New Canaan’s defense also slowed Hand’s top senior attack Lauren Cole (three goals). Sophomore Ellery Baran faceguarded Cole the entire 50 minutes keeping her out of the flow of the offense.
"New Canaan isn’t the first team to faceguard Cole," Siedlecki said. "We do have four other players who scored 20 or more goals this season. But New Canaan’s defense made it hard on all our scorers."
It was New Canaan senior goalie Bailey Pilder (one save) who summed it up best.
"Lauren Cole was Hand’s strongest player," Pilder said. "But one player can’t win a title by herself."
Junior Katie DeMarino (two goals, two assists) was a force in transition for New Canaan (19-4 overall).
Hand senior goalie Emilee Wargo was stout in net (eight saves) but New Canaan’s ball possession time ruled the day.
"I think we’re a great team," Siedlecki said. "But where we have two Division I college level players, New Canaan has six or seven. They just reload each year. The New Canaan team and program is just at another level."
Woods felt the Rams’ season turned after a 13-6 regular season loss to Yorktown (N.Y.) on May 1.
"We were a different offensive team after Yorktown," Woods said. "But that’s why you play a high caliber schedule. To expose weaknesses that you can fix for the postseason."
So your seniors can collect state titles.