FAIRFIELD >> Every day the Fairfield Ludlowe girls’ lacrosse team ends practice with sprints the length of the field. They have 18 seconds to make it from end line to end line.
Friday night at Taft Field against rival Fairfield Warde, they were granted 24.1 seconds for one final sprint.
Down 8-7 in the second overtime, the Falcons’ defense was able to gain possession, call timeout and head coach Heather Lewsey drew up a play.
“So with 24 seconds left…you want to run it down, keep your head up and look for opportunities,” Lewsey said.
The Falcons did just that.
Ludlowe’s Sophie Butcher received a perfectly-placed pass from senior Ali Gorab up top, made a quick move and zipped it in from nearly 15 yards out with seconds remaining to tie the game. That score held as the two finished in an 8-8 draw.
“We had two girls wide open, and Ali Gorab pumps it up top to Sophie and Sophie did exactly what we said; make one move and shoot,” Lewsey said. “They executed it perfectly.”
It was a rather fitting ending in a game where no team held more than a one-goal lead all evening.
“That was a hell of a high school girls lacrosse game,” Warde head coach Tom Davis said.
Tied at six late in the second half, Gorab, who is headed to Gettysburg College this fall, gave Ludlowe a 7-6 lead.
But a few plays later, Warde’s Sarah Reilly, who had a fantastic game, quickly responded as she knotted the game at seven with less than four minutes to play.
Reilly finished the evening with four goals and one assist.
“She’s the ideal player,” said Davis of Reilly. “Everyone knew that she was going to get the ball, everyone knew she was going to go to goal, but you still have to stop her, and they didn’t stop her.”
While neither team could score before the final buzzer ended regulation, Warde struck first in overtime as Meredith Nerreau found the back of the net with just about a minute remaining to give her team the 8-7 lead.
The Mustangs appeared to be headed to victory as their offense was able to move the ball around and stall a bit as the game drifted into second overtime.
The Falcons’ defense however, came up with a key turnover with less than 25 seconds, and Ludlowe (0-1-1) set up the game-tying play from there.
“Our defense was huge,” Lewsey said. “We’ve actually practicing pressuring the ball and cutting off the adjacent.”
Gorab finished the game with four assists and one goal, while Butcher added two goals and two assists and Byrce McClure chipped in with three goals. Miranda Rosenfeld added two goals. Goalie Sarah Chapdelaine finished with four saves.
Nerreau ended with three goals for Warde (1-0-1), while the Mustangs also received solid performances from Hannah Doughtery (two assists), Amanda Orvis (one goal) and Caroline Lambert who finished with one assist. Goalie Rebekah Snitkoff had eight saves.
After a somewhat jittery start for Warde, where Ludlowe held possession for a good majority to open the game, the Mustangs were able to settle down and match the Falcons goal for goal. Rosenfeld gave Ludlowe a 4-3 edge heading into the half as she scored right before the buzzer.