FAIRFIELD >> “It doesn’t get any better than this, and this is what all the hard work is from,” Fairfield Warde girls lacrosse coach Tom Davis told his team members In the huddle following Tuesday’s 11-10 win over Greenwich in the Class L state semifinal girls’ lacrosse game, which was held at neutral site Fairfield Ludlowe.
With the triumph, the sixth-seeded Mustangs advanced to Saturday’s championship game against top-seeded Darien. The game will take place at Jonathan Law in Milford, at a time to be determined.
The seventh-seeded Cardinals saw their strong season come to a close despite battling back to make things interesting late in regulation.
The Mustangs got four goals from Courtney Scheetz, three goals and two assists from Libby McKenna, two goals off the stick of Olivia Seymour, a goal and an assist from Amanda Orvis, and a goal from Clare Secrist.
Warde goaltender Rebekah Snitkoff made seven saves, including some lead-preserving stops very late in the second half as the Cardinals tried desperately to tie things up.
The Cardinals were led by Paige Mautner with four tallies and Maggie O’Gorman and Erika Bloes with two each.
“We watched film. We knew what to expect,” said Orvis, adding that Greenwich possesses a combination of zone and man-to-man defensive strategies which made advancing a challenge. “I’m so proud of the team. I can’t wait to go to the state championship game.”
“This is a good lift for this program,” Davis said. “It’s exciting.”
The semifinal game was a nail-biting one throughout, despite the Mustangs maintaining the lead. Wade led 7-4 midway through the second half, but saw the Cards strike twice in a brief span to snip the deficit to a goal with 15:45 remaining. The Mustangs got the ball off the ensuing draw and Secrist scored only eight seconds after the Cards made it 7-6.
Following another Greenwich goal again made it a one-goal game, the Mustangs answered as Seymour scored on a free position shot. The goal came nearly two minutes after the Cardinals struck and after a Warde stop on the defensive end, foiling Greenwich’s bid to get the equalizer.
The teams continues trading goals. After the Cards made it a 9-8 contest, Seymour turned the corner on a defender and whipped home a shot to make it 10-8 with 6:17 left.
Warde won the draw but the Cardinals forced a turnover and cashed in to pull to within 10-9 with 5:38 left. Scheetz weaved her way through the defense and bounced home a shot with 3:42 left. Snitkoff made two saves in a 20 second span with less than 1:30 left, then stopped another shot before O’Gorman got to a rebound and scored to pull Greenwich back to within a goal with 46 seconds remaining.
The teams swapped turnovers in the waning seconds, and time ran out on Greenwich.
Davis said he was pleased with the play of his goaltender and defense and noted that his multi-threat offense, which boasted a trio of players who netted 30-plus goals and three more who scored 24-plus net-finders during the season, came through once again.
“You can’t key in on one person because another will score,” Davis said.
Wade fell to Darien 12-4 in the season opener, back in early April.