WETHERSFIELD >> New Canaan dominated possession the first 25 minutes against Guilford in the Class M championship game, took a three-goal lead as a result, and the Indians never recovered.
Ellery Baran scored twice and Emily Gaeta had five saves to lead No. 7 New Canaan to a 3-1 win over No. 3 Guilford for the Class M championship on Saturday.
New Canaan (15-5-1) won its second straight Class M title. It also won a Class L title in 1983 and Class M titles in 1997 and 2003.
“This is really exciting, to play in my last high school game and contribute,” Baran said. “I really wanted to end my High school career with a bang. Our defense played great, especially in the second half.”
Olivia Clarke scored for the Indians and Cami Makula had four saves.
Guilford coach Kitty Palmer said it took her team a while to get in a rhythm.
“That first part of the game was tough, I think my girls were a bundle of nerves in the beginning,” Palmer said. “They took that 3-0 lead, but after we scored a goal and made it 3-1, I thought we just needed that second one to steal the momentum.
“We had our chances but couldn’t get that second goal. I’m so proud of the way our girls played and the effort they gave. It’s the way they played all season, always giving the most effort on every play.”
New Canaan dominated play in the first half to come away with a 3-1 lead.
Meghan Mitchell got the Rams on the scoreboard first off a wide open shot only 1:46 into the game. Baran gave the Rams a 2-0 lead with 18:06 to go in the first half.
Baran scored her second goal with 8:05 to go. She wound up for a hard hit as the ball bounced through two defenders and into the lower right corner of the net for a 3-0 lead.
Guilford gave some hope to its fans by scoring off a penalty corner as time expired in the first half.
There was a wild scramble for the ball in front of Gaeta. Bryce Makula got the ball to Clarke who poked the ball into the net to cut the Rams lead to 3-1 at halftime.
The Indians had seven penalty corners in the second half, including four in a row in a span of 3:50. During those four straight penalty corners, Teddi Stanley had one of the best chances to get the Indians’ second goal. But the shot went wide.
“The last two days leading up to this final, we talked about it and we knew it would be a tough game,” New Canaan first-year coach Alyssa Havens said. “We came ready to play. All our girls stepped up and worked hard for this championship. Our seniors really wanted it.
“Ellery’s two goals were big goals for us. But she’s been a powerhouse for us all season. Last season, I was an assistant coach. Getting a title as a head coach, well, that is exciting for sure.”
Class M Championship
New Canaan 3, Guilford 1
New Canaan 3 0 3
Guilford 1 0 1
First half: NCA: Meaghan Mitchell (Camaren Dayton) 28:14; Ellery Baran (Lauren Sturm) 18:06; Ellery Baran (Sierra Smith) 8:05; GU: Olivia Clarke (Bryce Makula) :00; Shots: NCA: 7; GU: 6; Saves: NCA: Emily Gaeta 5; GU: Cami Makula 4;
Team records: New Canaan 15-5-1; Guilford 17-4-0-1