GREENWICH, Conn. The Greenwich High girls lacrosse team bent about as far as possible, but the Cardinals refused to break in a rain-soaked conference semifinal game Monday.
Greenwich's second half seven-goal lead nearly evaporated against two-time defending champion Wilton, but the defense clamped down just in time. The Cardinals sweated out the final 10 minutes to hang on for an 11-10 victory, punching a ticket to their first conference title game since 2007.
We just like dramatic finishes, Greenwich head coach Caitlin Keane said. All the girls had it in the back of their mind how good of a team Wilton is. I think today we proved to ourselves were as good a team as we think we are.
After Greenwich dominated face-offs, ground balls and time of possession in the first half, Wilton came roaring back after the break. The Warriors exploded for five goals in less than four minutes to pull within one.
Shannon Colligan and Tori Dunster led the Greenwich defense to keep the Warriors at bay, forcing several crucial turnovers. Dunster stripped Wiltons leading scorer Casey Pearsall of the ball while on a breakaway with just more than three minutes to play. The Cardinals ran out the clock in the offensive end for the final two minutes.
Carolyn Paletta completed a hat trick on what turned out to be the game-winning goal with 12:38 to play. Claire Feeney led Greenwich scorers with four goals, including two in the second half.
Emma Christie added a pair of goals, while Dunster and Emily Johnson rounded out the Greenwich scoring with a goal each. Hannah Jeffrey tallied eight saves in net for the Cardinals.
That last 10 minutes of defense was some of the best defense weve played all season, Colligan said. Ive never been to a [conference] final before for lacrosse, so its really exciting. Weve worked really hard for it.
Greenwich will go for its first conference title since 2003 as it takes on 13-time champ Darien at Brien McMahon High School on Friday at 4 p.m.
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