Brien McMahon scored the first goal of Tuesday’s CIAC Class L tournament game against Greenwich, but the Cardinals lit the scoreboard most of the time thereafter.
Eight different players scored during the first half for the Cardinals, who showed they were rested and ready after having several days to regroup following their loss to Darien in last week’s FCIAC tournament semifinals.
Seizing a commanding 10-goal halftime lead, third-seeded Greenwich was effective on both ends of the field in its 17-5 victory over 14th-seeded McMahon on the in the opening round of the Class L Tournament Tuesday at Cardinal Stadium.
Greenwich (16-3) advanced to the Thursday’s quarterfinal round, where it will host sixth-seeded Ridgefield on Thursday at 5 p.m.
“I’m happy that we came out and started the game so strong,” GHS coach Kaitlin Gaghan said. “We had so many players score and put up points, so it was great to see that we had such balanced scoring.”
Senior tri-captain/midfielder Maggie O’Gorman recorded three goals and had three draw controls, while senior tri-captain midfielder Genevieve DeWinter tallied two goals and five draw controls for the Cardinals. Junior attack Grace Fahey registered two goals and three assists, while junior Paige Finneran tallied twice to also pace the victors.
“I am really proud of our performance,” O’Gorman said. “Everyone stepped up and played their best. After our loss in the FCIAC tournament, it motivated us for the state tournament. We’re looking forward to moving on to the next round.”
A much-improved Brien McMahon squad ended its season with a record of 10-8. Senior co-captain Tatiana Arias and sophomore Anna Makover each recorded two goals for the Senators, who were 0-2 against Greenwich this season.
“This has been the most successful year in our program’s history,” McMahon coach Mary Peters said. “We were 4-12 last year annd 10-8 this year, so we really took a big step forward. We’re looking forward to continuing our improvement next season.”
Arias’ goal 1:58 into the first half gave the Senators a brief 1-0 lead, but it was all Cardinals after the game’s initial tally. Fahey scored the equalizer at the 22:50 mark, then DeWinter put the Cards ahead for good at 2-1 by scoring off a pass from Fahey shortly after.
Junior attack Jennifer Kelly put a low shot past Senators sophomore goalie Nicole Ostaszewski with 21:55 to go in the first half, making it 3-1. O’Gorman set DeWinter up for a goal and after senior tri-captain Sailor Jiranek caused a turnover, O’Gorman tallied in transition, putting the home team ahead, 5-1, with 14:46 remaining in the opening half.
Goals from Finneran, Fahey and O’Gorman extended Greenwich’s advantage to 8-1 with 11:47 still left in the first half.
“Greenwich is always a tough opponent for us,” Peters said. “They have a lot of speed and athleticism. It took us a while to get going, but I think our play improved during the second half.”
Junior Olivia Caan and senior Sailor Jiranek helped ignite the Cards’ standout defensive effort, while junior goalie Sloane Loveless made four first-half saves.
“Our defensive play was outstanding,” Gaghan said. “They were stepping up to the ball and did a great job of causing turnovers and getting to ground balls.”
Sophomore Kate Loughran recorded a hat trick, senior Jordan Stefanowicz scored twice and sophomore Leah Caputo added one goal and two assists in the win. Senior co-captain Anna Bean contributed a goal for the Senators.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
O’Gorman, DeWinter and Fahey paced the Cardinals’ offensively during the decisive first half. Jiranek had three draw controls for the Cards.
“It was beneficial to us that we raised our level of play for this state playoff game,” Loughran said. “We moved the ball really fast and we all worked together so well on offense, which helped us score a lot of goals.”
GREENWICH 17, MCMAHON 5
MCMAHON 1 4 — 5
GREENWICH 11 6 — 17
Records: Greenwich 16-3; McMahon 10-8; Scoring: BM — Tatiana Arias 2 g; Anna Makover 2 g; Anna Bean 1 g; G — Leah Caputo 1 g 2 a; Grace Fahey 2 g, 3 a; Jordan Stefanowicz 2 g; Jennifer Kelly 1 g; Maggie O’Gorman 3 g; Genevieve DeWinter 2 g; Paige Finneran 2 g; Sailor Jiranek 1 g; Kate Loughran 3 g; Lucy Saleeby 1 a; Goalies: BM — Nicole Ostaszewski (5 saves); G — Sloane Loveless (5 saves), Kaileigh Jackson (1 save).