NEW FAIRFIELD -- Oh, what a week it has been for the Danbury High School girls lacrosse team.
The Hatters extended their winning streak to seven games on Saturday with a thrilling 14-12 victory over New Fairfield in a non-conference game. That win came just two days after the Hatters held off FCIAC rival Ridgefield 10-9 at Tiger Hollow.
With these two big wins against two perennial contenders, the Hatters are now 10-3 overall and 8-1 in the FCIAC -- and feeling pretty confident as they get ready for the final stretch of the regular season and the FCIAC and state playoffs thereafter.
"We have depth, which is a good thing, and we're getting stronger every game," Danbury coach Jaime Williams said. "We've made a few mistakes, and we're hoping to fix those things by the time we get to the end of the season."
The Hatters feature nine seniors in their lineup, and those seniors are looking to make the most of their final season on Clapboard Ridge.
"I can't wait to see who we play (in the postseason)," Hatters senior Raven Winters said. "I think we'll do really well and I think we'll make it far this year. We have a new coach and a new style of play, and I think we're ready to play these tough teams."
The Hatters have beaten Ridgfield three years in a row by one goal. In Thursday's 10-9 win, Molly Miller scored four goals, Kendall Krafick had two goals and an assist, Pauline Kaplan scored two goals, Winters had a goal and three assists and Lindsey Eanniello scored a goal. Goalie Ketsia LeFranc sealed the win with 11 saves.
The Hatters followed that up with another big performance at New Fairfield Saturday. It was a close game, but one in which the Hatters never trailed.
"We played them in the preseason and we didn't do so well, so it was great to come out here and show them what we could really do now," Winters said. "We're well-developed now and we're coming together as a team."
Kaplan led the Hatters on Saturday with five goals and two assists. She scored three of Danbury's first four goals as the Hatters opened a 10-7 halftime lead. Winters had three goals and three assists, Lindsey Eanniello had three goals and two assists, Miller scored two goals, Alison Reisert scored one goal and Kendall Krafick handed out five assists, four of them setting up Kaplan goals.
For New Fairfield, Nicole Hughes scored four goals, Leah Osborne scored three goals, Alexis Rullo had two goals and an assist, Dana Bouwman scored two goals, Danielle Hanley scored a goal and McKayla Romanello and Casey Jagemann each added an assist.
Kaplan's goal with 48 seconds remaining in the first half -- after Miller and Winters had each rung a shot of the goal post -- gave Danbury a three-goal lead at the half. The Rebels, however, quickly erased that lead as Bouwman scored twice and Hughes scored once in the first 2:23 of the second half to tie the game at 10.
Then, after valiant defensive stands and clutch saves at both ends of the field, Winters broke the tie with 10:05 remaining off a pass from Eanniello, who had made an athletic move to leap and snare a pass from Krafick and then move the ball to Winters.
Winters then assisted goals by Reisert and Miller, and Eanniello scored unassisted, as the Hatters opened a 14-10 lead with 6:01 remaining. The Rebels chipped away in the final minutes, with Osborne and Hanley each scoring once, but they came no closer.
Both goalies played extremely well. Danbury's Ketsia LeFranc made seven saves and New Fairfield's Emily Zurzola, who entered the game in the first half in place of starter Colleen Loughran, made seven saves of her own. With the game tied at 10, Zurzola made a dazzling stick save to rob Miller on a free-position shot with 15:30 remaining. Four minutes later, with the score still tied at 10, LeFranc denied Romanello's close-range shot with a fine stick save.
"We've been on a good run so far," Williams said. "Coming off that win against Ridgefield I was worried that we would have a little let-down. And we had the junior prom last night. New Fairfield has been having a great run. After beating Newtown (17-16 on April 30) and then beating Brookfield (10-9 on Thursday), they've been playing very strong. We knew it was going to be good competition coming in."
Next up for Danbury is a road game at Norwalk on Monday at 4:30 p.m. The Hatters had beaten the Bears last Saturday 19-5.
New Fairfield (10-3), which had won eight straight before Saturday's loss, will look to rebound at home Monday at 6:30 p.m. against Lauralton Hall. That will be the Rebels' Senior Night game.
DANBURY 10 4 -- 14
NEW FAIRFIELD 7 5 -- 12
Records: Danbury 10-3; New Fairfield 10-3.
Scoring: D--Raven Winters 3g, 3a; Kendall Krafick 5a; Alison Reisert 1g; Lindsey Eanniello 3g, 2a; Molly Miller 2g; Pauline Kaplan 5g, 2a. NF--Casey Jagemann 1a; Dana Bouwman 2g; Leah Osborne 3g; McKayla Romanello 1a; Danielle Hanley 1g; Alexis Rullo 2g, 1a; Nicole Hughes 4g. Goalies: D--Ketsia LeFranc (7 saves). NF--Colleen Loughran (0 saves); Emily Zurzola (7 saves).