MADISON >> Both coaches called it a good non-conference measuring stick.
But it was Hand that came out on top Wednesday night with a wild 15-12 girls’ lacrosse victory over Southington on Senior Night.
Both teams came into the game with 11-3 records.
“I think Southington is a good team and our schedules are pretty comparable,” Hand coach Kevin Siedlecki said. “It’s a good way to see what’s out there. We have Avon Friday and we’ll see if we can contend with one of the best teams in our class. But we’re going into the rest of the season knowing we can win any game as long as we play our ‘A’ game.”
Southington, a member of the Central Connecticut Conference, took a quick 3-0 lead and the Lady Knights held an 8-7 edge at halftime.
“We were really excited about his game,” Southington coach Jillian Pomposi said. “It was good to come down here to play a good team like this. The last couple games we’ve played have been with teams outside our conference, so we can size up and see how we’re doing out of the league.”
On the other hand, Siedlecki wasn’t pleased with the Tigers’ play in the first half.
“We threw the ball away in the first half, but we’re so used to pushing fast breaks that when we try and force it, we don’t get any passes,” Siedlecki said. “In the second half, we did much a better job of just spreading out, running a motion offense and got looks at the cage.”
Hand tied it up less than 3 minutes into the second half on an Erin Mammele (four goals) shot. For most of the second half, the teams exchanged goals, with neither taking more than a one-goal lead until Mammele and Lauren Cole (six goals) scored midway through the second half to give the Tigers a 13-11 edge.
Southington’s Morgan Raymond (three goals) closed it to 13-12 with 6:47 remaining. Brooke Barry then helped Hand regain a two-goal lead with 4:59 to play.
But then Hand goalie Emily Wargo (nine saves) made a huge save with 4:35 to go when Carolynn Keal (four goals) had a shot in front of the cage.
“Emily made a nice save and we got some great defensive plays from Sara Popolizio and Nicole Riccio,” said Siedlecki.
Just 8 seconds later, Mammele scored to give Hand the 15-12 lead.
Hand fought off a 2-minute penalty called on Brenna Hobin in the final 4 minutes. After a Southington turnover with just over a minute to go, the Tigers ran out the clock for the win.
“We just let up a bit and gave them too many 50-50 balls and rebounds,” Pomposi said. “We also threw the ball away on our attacking end in the last few minutes and made some sloppy plays. They just were the better team at the end.”