Girls Lacrosse

New Canaan’s Defense Leads The Way In A 6-4 Win Over Wilton

New Canaan’s Karlie Bucci drives toward the goal against Wilton. (Photo: Mark Conrad)

WILTON — Wilton girls lacrosse coach Meredith Meyran had a checklist to be happy about following tonight’s game against New Canaan. Topping it was a defense that allowed only six goals.

The difference between happiness and full joy was her opponent’s superior stinginess. After giving up two early goals, the Rams yielded just two more the rest of the way to come away with a 6-4 decision in a quick test between teams that are both league and state title contenders.

“Huge win. It’s tough to play Wilton this early in the season,” New Canaan coach Kristin Woods said. “Either team could have won this game today. Wilton is an outstanding program. I’m really proud of my kids. We came out slow but finished strong. They stayed really composed at the end and came up with the W.”

New Canaan’s Braeden Dial sets up to make a pass. (Photo: Mark Conrad)

Down 2-0, Braeden Dial scored a pair of goals and assisted on a third to put the Rams ahead. She later added an assist as New Canaan went on another three-goal run to break a 3-3 tie.

“We were really focused on our matchups today, and having everyone working their strengths and working other players’ weaknesses worked well for us,” Dial said. “Our defense really kept us in there.”

The Rams opened the season yesterday with a 9-8 overtime loss to West Hampton (NY). Woods felts the quick turnaround benefited her team.

“It helped us at the end of this game,” Woods said. “We learned from that game what not to do and in one day we got to get right back at it and showed what we had, and how we could stay composed.”

Paige Brown finished with eight saves for Wilton. (Photo: Mark Conrad)

Wilton’s Paisley Eagan and Eva Greco were the focus of New Canaan’s defensive gameplan. Eagan scored both early goals, the first off an assist from Greco, who found the back of the net midway through the second half to tie the game at 3-3.

The Warriors (1-1) were then held scoreless for over 11 1/2 minutes, until Sophie Sudano scored on a beautiful spin move with 3:07 left.

Wilton never touched the ball the rest of the game.

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“I would give the credit to New Canaan,” Meyran said. “I thought their defense played really great. I think that’s what it really came down to. We could have been more selective on our shots. Overall I’m really happy with our effort to be honest with you.”

Wilton’s Sophie Sudano tries to set up a play as New Canaan goaltender Caroline O’Dea and Natalie Lopez defend. (Photo: Mark Conrad)

Paige Brown was outstanding in goal for the Warriors. She stopped eight shots and kept her team within striking distance. Her back line was effective limiting the Rams’ drives.

“We’re actually really positive to be honest with you,” Meyran said. “I thought our defense played great for the amount of defense that we played. Any time you hold New Canaan to six goals it’s kind of a win. We just weren’t able offensively to get the output we needed tonight.”

Karlie Bucci, Julia Ozimek, Jane Charlton and McKenna Kearney also scored for New Canaan. Ozimek, Caroline Schuh and Natalie Lopez spearheaded the defense.

Wilton’s Paisley Eagan and New Canaan’s Karlie Bucci battle for the ball off a faceoff. (Photo: Mark Conrad)

“I think they just did a real nice job communicating,” Woods said. “Just helping each other out, getting the slides when we needed to. Our defenders matched up against Wilton’s best. I’m excited to see them throughout the season and hopefully we will have a few more of these. In a month in a half it’s going to be two different teams.”

Both are considered the main threats to stopping Darien’s recent dominance both on the league and state level. Dial said the Rams came away with a confidence boost and measuring gauge.

“Wilton is one of our biggest opponents all season,” Dial said. “Especially an early season game, it shows where we are in reference to other teams in the FCIAC, we get to see who they beat and who we beat and kind of scale ourselves on how games are going to go. This is a huge win.”

Wilton’s Zoe Lash begins a transition attack. (Photo: Mark Conrad)