GREENWICH — Well aware of what transpired when it played Ridgefield in last season’s FCIAC tournament quarterfinals, the Greenwich girls lacrosse team was extra intent on raising its level of play once it got the lead on the Tigers in Friday’s postseason matchup.
Responding well every time the Tigers cut into their lead, the fourth-seeded Cardinals advanced to the semifinal-round of the FCIAC tournament with an impressive 13-8 win over the fifth-seeded Tigers.
Greenwich advanced to Monday’s tournament semifinals, where it plays top-seeded Darien.
Last season, Greenwich was eliminated from the FCIAC tourney by losing at home to Ridgefield in double OT.
“We remembered what happened last year when we played Ridgefield and we didn’t want that to happen again,” GHS senior midfielder/tri-captain Maggie O’Gorman said. “Once we got the lead, we tried to keep the momentum and not let them get the train rolling and get ahead.”
Senior midfielder/tri-captain Genevieve DeWinter scored a team high five goals, while O’Gorman had a hat trick for the Cardinals, who took a 7-5 lead into halftime.
“We are extremely excited and ready for the rest of the playoffs. Winning today was a big momentum boost for us,” DeWinter said. “We look forward to seeing Darien in the semis.”
Jordan Stefanowicz tallied twice for Greenwich, which received one goal each from Grace Fahey, Paige Finneran and Jennifer Kelly.
“Ridgefield was paced offensively by Caitlin Slaminko and Maeve Tobin, both if whom had hat tricks.
“The effort was there and we were in it to the end,” Tigers coach Cece Berger said. “It seems like every time we cut it to one or two goals we had a key turnover.”
Leading 7-5, Stefanowicz out a shot past goalie Lexi Held while falling to the turf, giving GHS a three-goal lead 1:50 into the second half.
Ridgefield closed to within 8-7 on goals from Tobin and midfielder Caroline Curnal with 20:04 left to play.
But Greenwich went on a pivotal scoring spurt. Kelly scored from close in off a DeWinter pass and O’Gorman tallied in transition, giving the Cards a 10-7 cushion.
“The game was tight, but we knew we had it in us,” Kelly said. “We came out explosive, because they knocked us out of the tournament last year and we wanted revenge. We really meshed and pulled through in the second half.”
O’Gorman and DeWinter tallied late for Greenwich to seal the win. Sophomore Sloane Loveless made six saves in goal for the Cardinals, who received standout defensive play from Olivia Caan, Olivia Hoekman and Sailor Jiranek throughout the matchup.
“Our defense played aggressive, which is what we are trying to do, Loveless said. “It was exciting being out there in a game like this with so much on the line.”