WEST HAVEN >> Cheshire coach Dan Warburton finally got the complete team effort for an entire game that he has been yearning for all season.
And it came at the most opportune time.
Emma Farrel had three goals and three assists, Olivia Larson had four goals and the defense allowed only 11 shots as Cheshire earned a 13-7 win over Hand in the Southern Connecticut Conference tournament championship game on Thursday at Ken Strong Stadium.
“Our coaching staff has seen this team play like this in spurts in a few games, and sometimes for long stretches in other games,” Warburton said. “We knew this kind of effort was there. But this is the first time this team played hard and played smart start to finish.
“Our defense played amazing. We didn’t allow any fastbreak goals and on offense we were patient. Our game against Glastonbury was the only game that came close to this effort. Emma played her best game and reflected the way the entire team was playing with patience and smart play.”
The Rams (13-5), who won their fourth straight SCC title and sixth overall, were leading just 5-4 at halftime. But a 6-1 scoring spurt to start the second half, the result of winning six of seven face-offs, gave Cheshire control of the game.
Junior Kya O’Donnell scored her first varsity goal with 13:52 left in the second half to complete the 6-1 run for an 11-5 Cheshire lead.
“This was a complete game from everyone,” said Farrel, who was named the tournament most valuable player. “The seniors, juniors and everyone on this team, we were all focused and determined to make this a complete team effort tonight. This is pretty special for all of us seniors to come away with SCC championships all four years.”
Hand’s Lauren Cole, who entered the game with 95 goals, was held to two goals and an assist. Brenna Hobin and Erin Mammelle also had two goals for the Tigers (13-5).
“Cheshire played great defense and took away a lot of what we do on offense,” Hand coach Kevin Siedlecki said. “We were fired up, and early on it looked like it was going to be another typical close game between our teams. But during the scoring spurt they had we just couldn’t get the ball. They won the draws, had the ball possession and that was the turning point in the game.”
Cheshire 13, Hand 7
(at West Haven)
Hand 4 3 — 7
Cheshire 5 8 — 13
Goals: (CH) Olivia Larson 4; Emma Farrel 3; Maddy Levy 2; Kya O’Donnell 1; Danielle Chambrelli 1; Michelle Federico 1; Megan Dutchyshyn 1; (HD) Erin Mammele 2; Brenna Hobin 2; Lauren Cole 2; Brooke Barry 1;
Assists: (CH) Emma Farrel 3; Danielle Chambrelli 1; Megan Dutchyshyn 1; (HD) Brooke Barry 2; Lauren Cole 1;
Saves: (CH) Alexa Carbone 5; (HD) Emilee Wargo 3;
Shots—HD: 11; CH: 16;
Team records—Cheshire 13-5; Hand 13-5.