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Stamford girls lacrosse tops rival Westhill

Updated 10:56 pm, Tuesday, May 7, 2013

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  • Stamford's Lindsey Colandro changes direction on Westhill's Heide Hernandez during their game at Stamford High School on Tuesday, May 7, 2013. Stamford won, 14-3. Photo: Jason Rearick / Stamford Advocate
    Stamford's Lindsey Colandro changes direction on Westhill's Heide Hernandez during their game at Stamford High School on Tuesday, May 7, 2013. Stamford won, 14-3. Photo: Jason Rearick

 

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STAMFORD -- If Westhill High School was looking for a model for which to aspire, to gain respectability in the toughest girls lacrosse league in the state, it didn't have to look too far Tuesday.

Westhill, in its third varsity season, visited Boyle Stadium Tuesday and witnessed exactly how it can be done. Stamford, a varsity program that is just four years old, moved to within one win of qualifying for the state tournament for the second consecutive season by routing the winless Vikings, 14-3.

"We don't have the man-power," Westhill coach Todd Gilman said after his team fell to 0-9 and 1-24 the last two years. "We're an up and coming program but right now we're depleted, with just 15 players."

As if trying to get established in the FCIAC wasn't difficult enough, Westhill has lost several players to MCL and ACL injuries this season, and has been outscored 185-29 in nine games.

"The FCIAC might be the second toughest league in the country," Gilman said. "We're going against teams that have been playing for 40 years and have feeder systems. It's so hard to compete against the larger programs, and (Stamford) Coach (Ben) Levy always has his teams prepared."

Levy's teams have made a meteoric rise since 2010. After going 0-13 that first year, the Black Knights went 6-10 and missed the state tournament by one game in 2011. Last year they finished 11-6 after losing to Ridgefield in the Class L first round, and now they're one win away from making back-to-back state tournament appearances.

"Our goal the first year was one win, then we said let's get a couple the second year," Levy said. "Now the goal is to make the states, year in and year out."

The Knights (5-7-1), who used seven goals from Kelly Niesen to fuel the win, need one win in their final three games to return to the state tourney. After tough tests against Wilton and Fairfield Warde, the Knights end the regular season against winless Brien McMahon.

The secret to Stamford's quicker-than expected success?

"We get a lot of school support and have a lot of multiple-sport athletes," Levy said. "The girls know sports already and I think that gives us a competitive edge."

Westhill actually took the lead Tuesday when Lindsay Bagwin scored two minutes into the game, which was delayed an hour because of late-arriving referees.

"After the hour delay we might have been a little over-hyped," Levy said. "But that first Westhill goal was a wake-up call."

Stamford then scored 12 straight before slowing it down in the second half. Besides Niesen, Justine James and Lindsey Colandro each had two goals for SHS while Brianna Gordon, Adriane Caitan and Klara Hoherchakadded one apiece. Stamford goalie Lesly Sanchez finished with three saves.

Bagwin, Rachel Katz and Alexandra Fahey scored for Westhill and goalie Jordan Lytton-Smith had nine saves.

Stamford 14, Westhill 3

WESTHILL 1 2--3

STAMFORD 10 4--14

Records: Westhill 0-9, 0-7 FCIAC, Stamford 5-7-1, 2-6-1. Scoring: W--Lindsay Bagwin 1g, Rachel Katz 1g, Alexandra Fahey 1g; S--Kelly Niesen 7g, Justin James 2g, 1a, Lindsey Colandro 2g, Brianna Gordon 1g, Adriane Caitan 1g, KlaraHoherchak 1g, Jasmine Li 1a. Goalies: W--Jordan Lytton-Smith (9 saves); S--Lesly Sanchez (3). Shots: W--6; S--23.

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