WILTON — Much like the prior 50 minutes, overtime became a chess match for the Wilton and Staples girls lacrosse teams in today’s Class L quarterfinal contest.
Ultimately, one minute and 42 seconds of patience and perseverance paid off for the Warriors. The end result was Sophie Sudano’s goal that was the difference in a 10-9 win, propelling Wilton to Monday’s Final Four meeting against Darien.
“We got into OT and we just literally went off,” Sudano said. “Meghan got the ball, which was awesome.”
Meghan Lane won her fifth draw control since the start of the second half and the Warriors patiently set up their offense. Sudano was set up on an isolation play, but the Wreckers’ Kathleen Cozzi forced her outside. A subsequent penalty led to a free position for Carly Sullivan, but Sara DiGiovanni, the Wreckers’ freshman goaltender, who had an outstanding game, made the save.
The Warriors again regrouped, and this time Sudano took a pass from Morgan Lebek, attacked the goal and scored to the right side.
“I think this kind of shows how hard we all worked,” Sudano said. “When we got it down we were all composed and everybody was settled, like we got this, don’t worry. Julia Skillin was standing in front of me and I saw there was only one girl on me and I was like, Skillin, I think you can get through. This might work. She was like all right and sprints through and I just cut. It was kind of an out-of-body experience.”
Sudano provided the heroics and Lane, who was able to end the first-half domination by Staples’ Kyle Kirby on draws, was the unsung hero. But the Warriors’ most valuable player was goaltender Bridgette Wall, who stopped 14 shots. The last robbed Kirby at the end of regulation.
“Definitely her best performance of the season,” Wilton coach Meredith Meyran said. “Just playing like a true senior and captain. Not wanting her season to end. And carrying the team on her shoulders. We’re so thankful and grateful for the opportunity to play this late in the season. The seniors just stepped up and really were difference makers for us today.”
Sudano ceded the mythical player of the game award.
“Bridgette had literally one of the most amazing games of her life,” Sudano said. “She was so good. I just owe it all to her. If it wasn’t for her we would not have been that close. She did amazing, Meghan did amazing, everyone did great.”
— Dave Ruden (@DaveRuden) May 31, 2019
The 11th-seeded Warriors improved to 13-6. They defeated the Wreckers by three goals during the regular season.
The teams were even today almost the entire game. Neither team led by more than a goal except when Wilton was ahead, 5-3, and one mirroring sequence. The Warriors scored three straight times in a span of 64 seconds to take an 8-5 advantage midway through the second half. Staples answered with three straight of its own over a six-minute span to tie the game at 8-8.
The teams then traded goals the rest of the way. Anna Sherman put Wilton ahead with 1:28 left. Elle Fair picked up a groundball on the ensuing draw and finished a feed by Kirby with 36 seconds left to force overtime.
“We had a great season,” said Kirby, who finished with three goals and two assists. “We fought hard coming back from three to tie it and I think that really shows just how resilient our team is. It didn’t go the way we wanted it. Sara had a huge day.”
Staples, the third seed, finished with a 16-4 record, the best in team history.
“I think our team has really grown this season,” Kirby said. “Coming in we had lost so many seniors and we came back from that, and I feel many people underestimated us and how good we really were. This year we showed how much the program has grown and how good we’re going to be.”
Cozzi had three goals and an assist and Fair scored twice for the Wreckers, who were without their coach, Nicole Gerosa, who gave birth to a daughter last night.
Sherman scored twice for Wilton, which got goals from seven different players. Lane also had six ground balls.
“In the first half Kyle Kirby was actually dynamite on the draw controls,” Meyran said. “It was really hard for us to get possession. When we were talking about it at halftime Meghan said I want the draw. She wanted to get after it and I said go for it girl. I just wanted to give her that opportunity and she really stepped up.”
Sudano said the Wreckers forced her team into its best effort to advance.
“I think they’re a great team. Like they were really good,” Sudano said. “Their attack was really good and their defense was good too. This is big rivalry for us. I think both of us were just so amped up. It was really unfortunate because they kept getting the ball and scoring. Their goals were great. I don’t think our defense did anything wrong.”