BRANFORD — For the first 2 minutes Friday night, it seemed like Branford might score 17 goals for the second straight contest.
But things settled down after the Hornets took an early 3-0 edge en route to a 9-5 Southern Connecticut Conference girls’ lacrosse victory over Hamden at the James MacVeigh Alumni Athletic Complex.
“I was psyched because sometimes you can come out flat-footed,” said Branford coach Jackie Alessi, whose Hornets blasted Lyman Hall, 17-2, two days earlier. “We came out of the gate hot and were consistent all night.”
Branford scored the three goals in a 24-second span of the opening half.
April Simmons, who scored three goals for the Hornets, scored off a set play in front of Hamden goalkeeper Megan DeCrescente 48 seconds into the contest. Just 13 seconds later, Kara Nardella converted a pass from Jessie Severino to make it 2-0.
Simmons quickly made it 3-0, winning the faceoff and racing down the middle of the field all alone and beating DeCrescente with a top-shelf goal just 11 seconds later.
“On the draw, April is a very strong athlete,” Alessi said. “She saw the hole and took it.”
At that point, Hamden coach Amanda Forcucci was forced to take a timeout before things got out of hand.
“We are just not starting off on the right foot,” Forcucci said. “We have to get them ready to go on the first draw. We called timeout to get them settled and after that we were fine.”
Hamden (0-2) got on the board when Cara Kennedy scored the first of her three goals with 16:32 remaining until halftime.
But Nardella and Severino each scored after that to push the Branford lead to 5-1. Sam Cozzulino closed it to 5-2 at the break for Hamden.
The Hornets put the game away with three goals to open the second half in the first 2:45. Jenny Royko scored twice and Claire Benevento added one to make it 8-2 with 22:15 to play.
“I was pleased with the lead, but lacrosse is a game of momentum and runs,” Alessi said. “You have to end the runs as soon as you can and keep composed.”
Hamden was able to get it back to a four-goal deficit when Kennedy scored twice midway through the second half. But Simmons tacked on her third goal with 15:13 left.
“We didn’t do what we wanted do down the stretch,” Forcucci said. “They were able to play keep away for the last two minutes.”
Sam Freeman had 15 saves for Branford, while DeCrescente stopped nine shots for Hamden.
“We’re happy being 2-0,” Alessi said. “We’re in a tough conference. There are some strong teams in our conference, but we’re looking to compete.”