Lady Trojans advance to Class S lax finals
It took two days to do it but the Weston girls lacrosse team will be playing for the Class S title.
Fifth-seeded Weston advanced to the pinnacle game with a 12-9 win over top-seeded Haddam-Killingworth at Sheehan High School in a game that began Wednesday and concluded yesterday because of a threat of lightning (see Man in the Stands) and raised its record to 15-6. Haddam Killingworth ended its season at 17-2.
"They wanted it so badly, especially the seniors," Lady Trojans Coach Megan Murphy said. "I don't think the girls experienced anything like this before."
Completing this game in two days isn't the norm and prevented Weston from practicing Thursday in preparation for Saturday's Class S title game against seventh-seeded Granby Memorial at Bunnell.
"What are you going to do, the weather is the weather," Lady Trojans senior tri-captain Alex Fumai said. "It's a long bus ride."
Weston advanced despite beginning the game with a 4-0 deficit. The Lady Cougars dominated behind senior Emily Anderson, who is 5-11 and talented as she will play for UConn next year.
"We made a good decision to put [5-10 freshman] Stephanie Thomson on draws and she did a good job there," Murphy said. "We had to chip away and we did. Once we did, the momentum went to our side and there was no stopping us."
"I ran up and scored," Fleming said. "Once we scored, we saw we were able to score more goals and I saw the momentum shift after that."
This was the first goal of a 7-0 Lady Trojan run, which spanned two halves. Weston led 8-5 at the break.
Less than a minute after Fleming's goal, Moubayed (one goal, three assists, two draw controls) performed like a playmaker all night and less than a minute later, she set up junior Abby Chepolis (one goal, two draw controls) for a goal to make it 5-4.
"I work well with the team, I try to find the open player and get her the ball," Moubayed said.
Weston tied it 5-5 with 10:24 to go when junior Catie Ledwick (one goal, one assist, one ground ball, two draw controls) set up freshman Lindsay Koch (one goal, two draw controls, one ground ball, one caused turnover), who flung it home. Lady Cougar senior goalie Teagan Ferguson (11 saves) prevented the Lady Trojans from taking the lead and made some huge saves on Hutchins and Chepolis on free possession shots.
Haddam-Killingworth countered and also had chances to reclaim the lead. However, Weston defensive stalwart senior Sara O'Brien (three ground balls, one caused turnover, three interceptions) didn't allow it to happen. O'Brien was a catalyst who intercepted a clearing pass and harassed Anderson and the other Lady Cougars when they got close to the net.
"I try to shut down the one with the ball," O'Brien said.
Complementing O'Brien on defense is twin sister Becky O'Brien (two ground balls, one caused turnover, one interception) and Fumai (two ground balls, one caused turnover, one interception).
"We hold our positions and move our feet," Becky O'Brien said.
When Haddam-Killingworth found openings, it was usually met by Lady Trojan junior goalie Carolyn Figliola (nine saves), who made clutch saves on free possession shots.
"Honestly, it was all about staying calm and I had a good defense in front of me," Figliola said. "Our defense especially stepped it up and made the checks."
Holmes (three goals) especially stepped it up and gave Weston the lead for good when she circled the net and scored with 2:41left to make it 6-5.
"I think we worked well as a team and we had high energy even though we were down in the beginning," Holmes said. "The team energy got me going."
Hutchins said, "We pulled together as a team and took it too them. Once we took the lead, we never looked back."
Fleming (two goals, two ground balls, one draw control) made it 7-5 with 42.7 seconds remaining. Less than 30 seconds later, Hutchins drew a hit from Lady Couger senior Sarah Musie, which earned her a yellow card and gave the Lady Trojans a man-up situation. Hutchins (three goals, two ground balls, one draw control, one caused turnover) was catalyst all game and scored a layup goal with 3.4 seconds left for the 8-5 halftime lead.
"I tried to cut, be patient and read the defense as much as possible," Hutchins said.
Ledwick's free possession goal made it 9-5 with 23:28 remaining in the game.
The Lady Cougars cut the margin to three on two occasions in the second half but Moubayed and Hutchins answered with layup goals. Weston also burned time with a stalled-offense and went up 12-7 with 1:27 to go on Holmes' goal off a long pass from Moubayed. That's when the referees suspended play.
Haddam-Killingworth scored twice the following day but the game was already rapped up.
Sophomore Grace Mattison (two ground balls, one caused turnover) played a scrappy game for the Lady Trojans and made her presence felt on defense. Thomson had a draw control.
"It's amazing," Murphy said. "I think the girls definitely deserved it. They play hard but it may be cliche, but it's a perfect example of teamwork. We deserved it in the end. We keyed on two people [Anderson and her younger sister, freshman Kiley Anderson]. They were amped up and you could tell."