New Canaan field hockey defeats Barlow 1-0 for Class M title
WETHERSFIELD — Getting the bounces.
For New Canaan and Joel Barlow that’s what the Class M championship came down to.
The Rams got one more bounce than Barlow and Camaren Dayton made it count; flipping a shot in to the back of the cage five minutes into the second half for the only goal of the game in a 1-0 win for New Canaan.
“It’s been a tough road here and the bounces haven’t always gone our way this year,” New Canaan coach Erin Gildea said. “I’ve had my heart broken so many times and been fooled but she’s done a great job of scoring goals for us this year.”
For the Falcons it was the opposite story, they just couldn’t quite get the right bounce at the right time. Barlow and New Canaan played even for the entirety of the match and with eight minutes left Barlow got its chance to tie.
The Falcons had five penalty-corner opportunities in the final eight minutes but were unable to capitalize, partially due to bad luck and partially because of the stout defense of the Rams, led by Catherine Granito, Tigger Nesbett and goalie Emily Conley.
“My dad used to say, ‘That’s the way the ball bounces,’” Barlow coach Connie Chapin said. “And it used to get me mad but that’s pretty much what happened to us today; I think we were very evenly matched, they put one in and we didn’t.”
Those waning moments were stressful for Gildea, who paced the sidelines frantically while barking orders to her players.
“I was petrified,” Gildea laughed. “Their corners are amazing, we have a lot of respect for that but Emily was amazing, she made some really good saves and to see her step up at the end and save those was huge. I was worried — until those zeros came on the clock anything can happen.”
Those zeros finally did flash on the clock at Wethersfield High School and the Rams stormed the field with their first state title since 2003, when Gildea was actually a member of the team.
“I was playing the last time we won, like really, playing for New Canaan,” Gildea said. “It’s amazing, I appreciate it, my first year we had this great run so I didn’t have the appreciation for how difficult it is to get to this game.”
Despite the loss, Chapin said she has no disappointment and was holding back tears while recalling the season that propelled her team into the finals while seeing it win an SWC title.
“Coming in we knew we had some very gifted kids and they’ve been playing together for four years.” Chapin said. “And the cohesiveness and togetherness that I’ve tried to instill in the program since I got here three years is really paying off and I couldn’t ask for a better group or better effort, I am honored and humbled by getting to the finals.”
NEW CANAAN 1, JOEL BARLOW 0
NEW CANAAN 0 1—1
Goals: NC—Camaren Dayton. Goalies: NC—Emily Conley (4 saves); JB—Tatiana Naclerio (3). Shots: NC—4; JB—4.