Entering the 2018 season, Branford midfielder Sophie Spencer knew she would be the focus of every opponent’s defensive game plan.
Spencer served notice as a junior in 2017 how dominating she could be with the ability to single-handedly impact the outcome of a game. Last season, she had nine goals in a 16-13 win over East Lyme in the CIAC Class M semifinals and six goals in a 15-8 win over Pomperaug in the Class M final. She finished the season with 90 goals and 11 assists.
As a result, she was routinely double-teammed and triple-teamed by opposing defenses this season. Did she feel any pressure to produce on offense for the Hornets?
“I really didn’t feel a lot of pressure,” Spencer said. “Opposing defenses knew me and I knew they would try to stop me. But I knew I was surrounded by talented teammates and in the two games or so when they did stop me my teammates always stepped up.”
Despite the pressure from opposing defenses, Spencer didn’t miss a beat this season. She led her team with a single-season school record 99 goals and added 23 assists. She had six goals, including the game-winner in overtime, in a 12-11 win over Pomperaug in the Class M semifinals. In the Class M final, with the score tied at 8 with five minutes left in the game, she scored the game’s last three goals for an 11-8 win over SCC rival Hand and a second straight M title.
For the second straight season she has been selected the Register Area girls lacrosse Most Valuable Player.
“The first time I saw Sophie Spencer I knew she had the potential to put up big (offensive) numbers,” Branford coach Jackie Ceccolini said. “She has a passion for the sport with a great lacrosse IQ. The bigger the game the better Sophie played. She loves this sport and thrives off of the competition. Even with her unbelievable stats, she is one of the most unselfish players on the field. Sophie does whatever she needs to do for the better of the team. She will certainly bring that passion and lacrosse IQ when competes at the next level.”
Spencer wasn’t suprised by her personal success or the team’s success this season.
“When we started the season 9-0, and then finished the regular season with big out-of-conference wins over Staples, Pomperaug and Barlow, we knew we could have another special postseason,” Spencer said. “It felt great getting back to the Class M final but we knew it would be tough against a talented team like Hand. They handed us one of our two losses in the regular season and we always struggle against Hand.
“In the final, when the score was tied 8-8, I decided I had to do something and I just kept taking shots. My teammates kept getting me the ball, especially Autumn McHenry who won the last five draws of the game to give us those opportunities. Another key in the game was the play of (defender) Karli King who shut down Taylor Scully, one of their top scorers.”
Spencer will move on to Quinnipiac University where she is looking forward to playing women’s lacrosse.