MADISON — Having played Barlow the past three seasons in the CIAC Class M girls lacrosse tournament, Hand coach Kevin Siedlecki expected a tough matchup with the 2018 South-West Conference tournament runner-up in the quarterfinals on Thursday at Strong Stadium.
In 2015, Hand defeated Barlow 15-9 in the Class M semifinals. In 2016, Barlow defeated Hand 10-9 in overtime in the semifinals. Last season Hand defeated Barlow 13-5 in the first round.
When the Falcons scored the first goal on Thursday there was a little concern, but the Tigers went on to score the next seven goals and top-seeded Hand took control for a 13-5 win to advance to the Class M semifinals. Taylor Scully led the Tigers with two goals and two assists and Kenzie Larson had eight saves. Caroline White, Riley Kokoruda, Dory Howard and Emma Sullivan each added two goals for the Tigers.
Brooke Squitier had 17 saves for the Falcons.
“Barlow is a really good team and we couldn’t come out flat against them,” Siedlecki said. “The advantage of playing them before is they use the same defense and we were able to take advantage of that. Since our (regular season) game with Greenwich we’ve been good getting fired up in our pregames. So I knew we were ready for this game. After they scored it woke us up and our players responded the rest of the half.”
Hand (18-2) will face SCC rival No. 13 Guilford on Tuesday at a site and time to be determined. Guilford defeated No. 5 Woodstock 14-7 in its quarterfinal game.
In the first half, Sarah Witherbee gave the Falcons a 1-0 lead with 17:56 to go. But it was all Tigers after that with seven unanswered goals to close the half for a 7-1 halftime lead.
White started the scoring run for the Tigers with a goal from about five yards out to tie the game at 1. Taylor Scully gave the Tigers their first lead at 2-1 with 16:35 to go.
“A lot of times this season we have been getting off to slow starts,” White said. “When they scored the first goal we took it upon ourselves to respond. I took it on myself to respond and I ended up having one of my best games of the season.”
Lauren Valluzzi scored off a low shot for a 3-1 lead with 14:32 to go and Scully added another for a 4-1 lead with 10:24 to go.
White, Riley Koruda and Glenna-Kate Gies closed the 1st half scoring for the six goal lead.
“Two years ago when they beat us in overtime, we had the exact 7-1 lead at halftime,” Siedlecki said. “I didn’t want the girls to forget about that this time.”
Barlow’s Bella Micelli kicked off the second half scoring with a goal with 21:11 to go to trim Hand’s lead to 7-2. The T igers responded with a 6-1 run capped by a Howard goal to make it 13-3 with 10:37 left in the game and cruised the rest of the way.
Witherbee led the Falcons (14-7) with three goals.
HAND 13, BARLOW 5
HAND 7 6—13
Scoring: Barlow-Sarah Witherbee 3g, Bella Micelli 1g, Emily Grob 1g; Hand-Taylor Scully 2g, 2a, Caroline White 2g, Riley Kokoruda 2g, Glenna-Kate Gies 1g, 1a, Dory Howard 2g, Emma Sullivan 2g, Regan Larson 1g, 1a, Lauren Valluzzi 1g. Saves-Barlow-Brooke Squitier 17; Hand-Kenzie Larson 8. Records: Barlow 14-7; Hand 18-2.