Despite class L finals loss, Greenwich has plenty to be proud about [SLIDESHOW]

 

Greenwich vs Darien class L finals 1

Greenwich vs Darien class L finals 1

Greenwich vs Darien class L finals 1

Greenwich High’s Emma Christie works the ball past a slew of Darien defenders during Saturday’s CIAC class L championship game.

Greenwich vs Darien class L finals 2

Greenwich vs Darien class L finals 2

Greenwich vs Darien class L finals 2

Greenwich High sophomore Anne Dunster applies the defense to Darien during the CIAC class L finals.

Greenwich vs Darien class L finals 3

Greenwich vs Darien class L finals 3

Greenwich vs Darien class L finals 3

The GHS attack looks to push the ball down the field during the CIAC class L championship game against Darien.

Greenwich vs Darien class L finals 4

Greenwich vs Darien class L finals 4

Greenwich vs Darien class L finals 4

Greenwich High sophomore Jenny Goggin eludes the Darien defense during Saturday’s CIAC class L finals against Darien.

Greenwich vs Darien class L finals 5

Greenwich vs Darien class L finals 5

Greenwich vs Darien class L finals 5

Greenwich High School senior Emily Johnson darts down the field after a restart during the first half of the class L championship game against Darien.

Greenwich vs Darien class L finals 6

Greenwich vs Darien class L finals 6

Greenwich vs Darien class L finals 6

GHS sophomore Megan Collins beats the Darien defense and later fires a shot in the back of the net during Saturday’s CIAC class L title game.

Greenwich vs Darien class L finals 7

Greenwich vs Darien class L finals 7

Greenwich vs Darien class L finals 7

Greenwich High School senior Sarah Rider looks to gain possession of the ball during Saturday’s CIAC class L championship game against Darien

Greenwich vs Darien class L finals 8

Greenwich vs Darien class L finals 8

Greenwich vs Darien class L finals 8

Greenwich High School senior Daniele Raviele (25) and sophomore Anne Dunster (14) put the pressure on the Darien offense during Saturday’s CIAC class L championship game.

Greenwich vs Darien class L finals 9

Greenwich vs Darien class L finals 9

Greenwich vs Darien class L finals 9

GHS senior Emma Christie cuts through the Darien defense en route to a goal during Saturday’s CIAC class L finals against Darien

Greenwich vs Darien class L finals 10

Greenwich vs Darien class L finals 10

Greenwich vs Darien class L finals 10

Big Red senior Sophie Waine gets a medal during the awards presentation after CIAC class L finals against Darien

Greenwich vs Darien class L finals 11

Greenwich vs Darien class L finals 11

Greenwich vs Darien class L finals 11

Greenwich High School head coach Caitlin Keane picks up the team’s CIAC class L runners-up trophy during the awards presentation after the contest.

Although the Greenwich High School girls lacrosse team was still within striking distance against Darien High School in the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference class L championship game Saturday afternoon at Bunnell High School, the Blue Wave pulled away late in the first and dominated the second and beat the Lady Cardinals 18-6.

“We didn’t come out as strong as I would have liked,” Greenwich High School head coach Caitlin Keane said. “There were some things here and there and we were throwing the ball away. I don’t know if nerves got the best of us or what exactly it was, but we known for the things we do on attack and that’s what was missing for us today. Unforced turnovers killed us in the beginning and it took any momentum, if we got momentum, away from us early on.”

Senior Emma Christie led the way for Greenwich, netting two goals.

“This was one of the best out of the four years I have been on the team,” Christie said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better group of girls and a harder working group of girls. Although we lost today, we still made it out here for the fourth year in a row and I think our season was still very successful.”

Senior Sarah Rider, Emily Johnson and sophomores Jenny Goggin and Megan Collins each scored one goal for Big Red.

Darien was paced by junior Emily Stein, who finished with five goals and one assist. Fellow senior Taylor Hardison added three goals and five assists, while junior Dillon Schoen finished with two goals and two assists.

Senior Kristen Gilbert added two goals, while sophomores Mariah Matheis, Caroline Benitez, junior Hollis Perticone and senior Jena Fritts added one goal each.

“They came at us hard in the second half, but we got the draw, got a bunch of fast breaks and converted on our first five shots,” Darien head coach Lisa Lindley said. “I think in some element Greenwich gave up after that. It’s hard when you’re not getting the draw. My girls deserve a lot of credit for bringing a lot of intensity in the second half.

Although the Blue Wave started the game with a 4-0 lead, Greenwich wouldn’t back down. Working deep in the Darien zone, Christie earned a free possession and buried her shot in the back of the net for the team’s first goal of the game.

Three minutes later, Big Red had another solid chance at cutting into the lead, as junior Carolyn Paletta got the ball at point-blank range with the goalie, but the DHS goalie made the huge save.

“I think that we played them so intense that they learned a lot of our offense shots,” Paletta said. “They were really prepared for what we had to offer them. I also think that this team was pretty tired. All in all, they had a better game than us and we needed to prepare a little more. I am still so proud of our team. Some people didn’t expect us to make it to this far, but we pushed it the whole season. We are all so close and want everybody to win.”

Although Darien netted two straight goals to build a 6-1 lead, Greenwich answered when Collins charged down the middle of the field, circled the net and fired the goal with 10:30 left in the first half. Again Darien had an answer nearly five minutes later, but Greenwich came back again.

With 4:50 to play and on a fast break, senior Sophie Waine got possession of the ball and made a brilliant pass to Christie, who unloaded the shot in the back of the net. While Darien’s Matheis scored 45 seconds later, the Lady Cardinals made the score 8-4 with 3:44 left in the half, as Johnson gained possession of the ball at midfield, darted through the DHS defense and eluded the DHS goalie.

Both teams exchanged a goal each in the final 30 seconds to make the halftime score 10-5.

Offensively the second half was all Darien, as they exploded for eight goals. Greenwich wasn’t able to find the back of the net until Goggin blasted the goal with 55 seconds left in the game, although Waine came close with 19:29 to play in the game, but her shot hit the post and bounced out of harm’s way.

“I actually think a better first half in that game, but in this game we had a second half that was better than the last game defensively,” Keane said. “The score may not show it, but I actually think we played a pretty good defensive game. The attack wasn’t finishing it for us.”

While Big Red fell in the championship game, Greenwich certainly has nothing to be ashamed of. The seniors on the team that will be graduating in a few short days have been involved in a state finals every year at GHS. In addition, Greenwich competed in this year’s FCIAC tournament and upended top-seeded Glastonbury and beat Cheshire and Newtown to get to the class L title game.

“Darien can’t say that they’ve been here the past four years and we can,” Keane said. “It’s nice tradition that we have here and they want to win. Today they didn’t have it to come out on top. At the beginning of the season, people weren’t considering us to be a contender this year. To be here and to show people that we are here to play and win is great. We fought all the way to the No. 2 spot.”

This year, Greenwich was paced by Johnson, who finished with 83 points overall. She tied fellow senior Christie with a team-high 60 goals this season and added 23 assists. Carolyn Paletta was second on the team with 80 points, netting 57 goals and tied Johnson with a team-leading 23 assists.

In addition to her 60 goals, Christie netted 11 assists and finished third on the team with 71 points.

Waine also had a stellar season and finished with 46 goals and 14 assists. Sophomore Anne Dunster had a well-rounded season, tallying 21 goals and 22 assists for the Lady Cardinals.

“This is my fourth year on the team and every year we’ve had a great group of girls,” Christie said. “Everybody is talented, both on and off the field. I’m going to miss them so much and I had the best four years of my life on this team.”

When it came to groundballs, no one was better than the duo of Johnson and Paletta, who each finished tied for the team lead with 28.

Waine was third on the team with 26, while Goggin added 24.

In addition to Johnson, Christie, Rider and Waine, fellow seniors Molli Haimerl, Claire O’Connor, Danielle Raviele, Emily Bacon, Rebecca Potash and Maggie Sweeney played their final game for Greenwich High School.

Although Big Red lost some top-notch talent to graduation, the Lady Cardinals have a lot of talent returning.

“I am so excited for next year,” Paletta said. “Next year we want the FCIAC and the State. We’re going to be coming back strong. People don’t really notice all the underclassmen we have, but we have people with incredible strengths that we can capitalize on.”

For a photo slideshow from the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference class L championship game, check out today’s Greenwich-post.com and click on sports.

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