New Canaan girls lacrosse team defeats rival Greenwich
Published 7:45 pm, Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Whenever the Cardinals seemed to gain momentum during the FCIAC duel, the Rams' dynamic duo put a quick end to it by putting goals on the scoreboard at an eye-opening pace.
New Canaan's high-scoring tandem combined for 10 goals, igniting their team to an impressive 14-9 victory over host Greenwich in a rematch of last spring's CIAC Division I final.
Hompe scored six goals, while Mannelly recorded four goals and two assists for the Rams, who edged the Cardinals, 10-9, for the state championship a year ago.
"I think both teams knew coming into it that it was a big FCIAC game and there were leftover feelings from last year's game because it was a great state final," said Hompe, a sophomore attack. "We came out hard and took it to them, but they stayed with it the whole game, which was good because it turned out to be a great fight."
Greenwich, which has lost three straight after starting the season with six straight wins, received a hat trick from junior midfielder Tori Dunster and two goals from sophomore attack Emma Christie. The Cardinals (6-3) entered the matchup off a disappointing 15-12 loss against Staples.
"We definitely played a lot better than we did against Staples," Dunster said. "We tried to come out hard and we played strong defense, but we couldn't keep up with all the cuts. The score doesn't show how well we played."
Dunster scored the game's first goal, tallying off a free position attempt 2 minutes, 22 seconds into the first half. But the Rams (6-4) registered three unanswered goals and led the rest of the way and entered intermission with an 8-4 advantage.
Executing their settled offense and capitalizing on their opportunities in transition, the Rams also had numerous shots stopped by Cardinals netminder Hannah Jeffrey. The junior made 11 saves, seven of which came during the first half.
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"The girls played a good motion offense," New Canaan coach Kristin Wood, said. "There was not one person out there controlling the ball. A lot of people were cutting to the ball."
Wood knows she's fortunate to have a duo like Mannelly and Hompe.
"Mannelly and Hompe did a good job of distributing the ball and finishing their shots," Wood said. "The two of them are natural athletes, which is something you can't teach. Mannelly never picked up a lacrosse stick until her freshman year, so it shows anyone can play if they want to work on it."
Greenwich closed to within 8-5 when junior attack Claire Feeney tallied off a feed from junior midfielder Shannon Colligan at the 22:04 mark. Mannelly put the Rams up by four two minutes later, before Christie tallied her second goal with 13:40 to go.
New Canaan saw its lead trimmed to three again later in the half on Dunster's goal with 11:23 to play, but it scored four unanswered goals to seize a commanding 14-7 lead. Mannelly scored twice during the run, while Elizabeth DeTour and Bea Eppler each added their second goals.
"We kept it close for a while then it got away from us a little bit," GHS coach Caitlin Keane said. "We just could never get to within that range. Our girls kept hitting the goalie's helmet with their shots and did not capitalize on their opportunities."
Elizabeth O'Sullivan was strong in goal, making nine saves for the Rams, who will visit St. Joseph on Friday.
"I knew Greenwich was going to come out wanting to beat us, so we came out pumped up," Mannelly said. "On offense we did a good job of spreading the field and setting picks for each other, so everyone was involved."