Girls Lacrosse

Girls Lacrosse 2017: Darien And New Canaan Poised To Continue State Title Runs

Laura Murphy returns to try and help keep Darien’s league and state playoff runs alive. (Photo: Mark Conrad)

There was a refreshing change in the FCIAC last season. Fairfield Warde propelled itself from a strong regular season to its first state championship game appearance. With Courtney Scheetz and Libby McKenna back, the Mustangs will remain strong.

But in the end it was the blue-blood programs — Darien and New Canaan — taking home CIAC titles, building on long runs that could continue this spring. Familiar obstacles include Wilton and Greenwich, while Ridgefield has also elevated itself into a contender.

The Favorite

Darien. The Blue Wave, with five straight state and four league titles, will be counting more on new personnel than at any time during this run. That means the names will be different but the talent will not be lacking. With a pair of strong leaders in middie Emma Lesko and defender Laura Murphy, the Blue Wave are poised to continue both streaks. Logan Book is a dangerous scorer, while Emma Jaques is solid at midfield. The defense will count on Annie Stein and goaltender Carly Schoudel. Coach Lisa Lindley has enough talent to mix and match, which will help with the demands of a difficult schedule.

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The Contenders

New Canaan. The Rams are riding five straight Class M championships, but complete fulfillment has been tempered by two straight heartbreaking losses to Darien in the conference final. They have their strongest piece in the middle of the field, with three-sport star Campbell Armstrong, back after missing most of basketball season due to injury. She will be joined by Karlie Bucci and Julia Ozimek in what should be an outstanding unit. The defense is another strength, though the season-ending injury to Ellery Baran, who tore her ACL on the third day of practice, is a sizable loss.

Wilton. The Warriors will be counting on one of the state’s top midfields and nine returning starters to build on last year’s run to the Class L semifinals. The trio of Eva Greco, Sydney Brant and Rebecca Wistreich is formidable. Ellie Armstrong and Julia Bonnist pace the attack. The Warriors face an early test Thursday against New Canaan in what should be a telling game.

Libby McKenna is back after helping Fairfield Warde to its first state final appearance. (Photo: Matt Dewkett)

The Sleepers

Greenwich: With 14 new roster members, the Cardinals are a team that should get better as the season goes on. They are also strongest at midfield, led by Romy Villemure, Genevieve DeWinter, Maggie O’Gorman and Paige Finneran. Greenwich will be solid in goal, with Sloane Loveless.

Ridgefield. The Tigers lost a strong senior class that carried them to one of their best regular seasons before a pair of disappointing playoff losses, including a second-round Class L defeat to Greenwich in overtime. The cupboard is not empty, especially on offense, led by Kaitlyn McMullan. She will be flanked by Julia Realander and Cate Costigan. Annie Hage is a leader at midfield.

20 Players To Watch

Campbell Armstrong, New Canaan

Colleen Bannon, Staples

Logan Book, Darien

Sydney Brant, Wilton

Karlie Bucci, New Canaan

Emily DeMaso, Fairfield Ludlowe

Genevieve DeWinter, Greenwich

Eva Greco, Wilton

Emma Jacques, Darien

Emma L’Archevesque, Norwalk

Emma Lesko, Darien

Libby McKenna, Fairfield Warde

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Kaitlyn McMullan, Ridgefield

Laura Murphy, Darien

Maggie O’Gorman, Greenwich

Julia Ozimek, New Canaan

Courtney Scheetz, Fairfield Warde

Annie Stein, Darien

Romy Villemure, Greenwich

Rebecca Wistreich, Wilton

The Lineups

Darien: G Carly Schoudel, D Annie Wright, D Logan Book, D Abigail Hancock, D Cathrine Arrix, D Laurie Travaglini, D Kiki Tropsa, M Emma Lesko, M Katie Ramsay, M Emma Jaques, M Kendall Wisinski, M Sarah Jaques, M Nicole Humphrey, M Ashley Humphrey, A Laura Murphy, A Anna Stein, A Christine Fiore, A Mason Maloney.

Fairfield Ludlowe: M Emily Demaso.

Fairfield Warde: M Courtney Scheetz, M Libby McKenna, M Sarah Adams, A Olivia Seymour, A Emma Kallenbach, A Jenna Kuczo, A Caleigh Walklet, D Caroline Aufiero, D Cara Bebey, D Grace Dougherty, D Bella Giacomazza, G Abby King.

Greenwich: A Erika Bloes, A Ellie Lufkin, A Grace Fahey, A Jordan Stefanowicz, A Katie Large, A Leah Caputo, M Romy Villemure, M Genevieve DeWinter, M Maggie O’Gorman, M Paige Finneran, D Sailor Jiranek, D Olivia Hoekman, D Olivia Caan, D Courtney Swift, D Harley Guerrieri, G Sloane Loveless.

New Canaan: A Tigger Nesbett, A Brooke Deane, M Campbell Armstrong, M Karlie Bucci, M Julia Ozimek, D Gwen Thalacker, D Caitlin Hevesey, D Leigh Charlton.

Norwalk: A Emma L’Archevesque, M Marissa Mastrianni, M Graces Bradley, D Isabel Nees, A Kaitlin Uralowich, A Lily L’Archevesque.

Ridgefield: A Julia Realander, A Kaitlyn McMullan, M Annie Hage, A/FO Caroline Curnal, A Cate Costigan, M Fair Smith, M Lucie Picard, D Lexi Pass, D Erika Linke.

Stamford: M Kelly Jagodzinski, M Erica Stietzel, M Sydney Leeds, D Shanice Silpot, D Emily Newman, D Carly Bennett, G Tatiana Wright, A Olivia LaBella, A Melany Sanchez, A Alexis Reyes, D Jairy Sandoval, A Natalie Pesantez.

Staples: A Colleen Bannon, A Christine Taylor, M Olivia Troy, M Abby Najarian, M Kyle Kirby, M Meghan Johnson, M/D Ellie Fair, A/D Sam Gebicki, D Sam Paciliio, D Alexa Mysel, D Phoebe Mendelson, G Alexa Moro.

Trumbull: Sophia Hopwood.

Wilton: G Paige Brown, G Bridgette Wall, D Ally DiSanto, D Carly Lattimer, D Emmy Goodwin, M Zoe Lash, M Sydney Brant, M Rebecca Wistreich, M Julia Skillin, M Eva Greco, A Julia Bonnist, A Margaret Smith, A Ellie Armstrong, D Sarah Hinck, D Lizzie Kennard, D Delia Freliech, D Molly Ward, M Carly Sullivan, M Jillian Lynch, M Olivia Roman, M Sophie Sudano, A Erika Bonnist, A Taylor LaMantia, A Callahan Drake, A Megan Lynch, A Chess Cawley.

(Teams missing did not reply to requests for information.)