New Canaan rebounds from tough losses, topple Newtown
Published 5:45 pm, Wednesday, April 20, 2011
NEWTOWN -- Coming off consecutive tough-to-swallow, nail-biting losses to Staples, Darien and Yorktown, N.Y., New Canaan High School's girls' lacrosse team earned a much-welcomed win on Tuesday. The Rams jumped out to a 12-3 lead en route to a 14-9 win at non-conference foe Newtown to improve to 3-3 overall, handing the Nighthawks their first loss in six games to begin the spring.
Olivia Hompe led the way with seven goals and two assists. Sarah Mannelley and Carolina Lizzio both scored twice, and Lauren Freeland, Lily Citrin and Liz DeTour all added net-finders for the Rams.
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"The girls played well coming off three tough games, real hard teams -- they stepped it up," said New Canaan coach Kristin Wood, alluding to one-goal losses to Staples and Yorktown and a two-goal setback to Darien this past week. "It is a good confidence booster."
"She came up with some big saves, and not all of them were easy shots," Wood said.
"It's a lot of pressure, especially against such a great team," O'Sullivan said of facing the six-time South-West Conference champion Nighthawks. "You have to trust your team and focus on the next shot."
Wood was pleased with her team's ball movement and slides on defense. Mannelley scooped five ground balls, and Freeland had four. Eppler and Julia Tuttle forced five and four turnovers, respectively.
"I think we worked really well as a team today. We moved the ball really well on offense -- we stayed spread out," Hompe said.
Hompe helped the Rams take control of the game with five of her team's seven first-half tallies as the Rams established a 7-2 lead. Mannelley scored an unassisted goal just 10 seconds into the second half. Eppler's pressure on the offensive end caused a turnover which led to a Hompe spin move and shot for a goal and a 9-2 lead 2:02 into the half, and the Rams continued to pull away.
Newtown scored four straight times to make things a little interesting late in the game, but the teams traded goals in the waning minutes as the Hawks couldn't complete the comeback effort.
"I think they're a good team -- they never gave up. They have some really great attackers and a strong goalie," said Hompe, referring to Newtown netminder Celeste Cheung, who made nine saves.
As strong as Cheung was, and as hard as the Hawks fought, it was simply too much Hompe in this contest.
"We tried to put a particular player on her, we tried to slide early on her -- everything we tried to do didn't help us out today," Newtown coach Maura Fletcher said of Hompe.
"She played phenomenal today. She really stepped up," said Wood, adding that Hompe did a good job of making cuts to get open, and her teammates did a nice job of getting her the ball.
The Rams used their hustle and speed to get to loose balls, and also did nice job of keeping control of the ball when on offense, making generating scoring chances a seemingly easy task.
"I think we all played well overall," said Mannelley, adding that the Rams cleared the ball, passed well, and had a solid defensive effort. "I think now that we have a win under our belt again we can get on a roll now."