GREENWICH — Each win Greenwich Academy has earned on the lacrosse field this season seems to be even more impressive than its previous victory, a trend most teams can only dream of following.
GA entered its matchup against Choate Rosemary Hall averaging 15 goals a game, while allowing only five and those statistics improved once play began on Saturday.
Behind a 12-goal first half and shut-down defensive play, Greenwich Academy kept its perfect record intact, coasting to a convincing 16-2 win.
The Gators, who went into halftime with a commanding 12-1 advantage, upped their record to 8-0 heading into Monday’s home game against Greens Farms Academy.
Junior midfielder/co-captain Taylor Lane registered three goals, while sophomore attack Rachel Rogers also recorded a hat trick for GA.
“I was pleased that a lot of different players scored and that we were getting scoring opportunities off a lot of different situations,” Greenwich Academy coach Melissa Anderson said. “We want to make sure our transition game and settled game is strong and that we are showing a lot of different things to the teams we play.”
Eliza Bowman, a junior attack, sophomore midfielder Margaret Maruszewski and sophomore midfielder Katie Goldsmith each tallied two goals and one assist for the Gators, who imposed their will at the start of each half.
“A goal of ours is to set the tone in the first five minutes of each half,” Lane said. “No matter what the score is, we want to start out strong and keep our composure throughout.”
Choate (3-5) received two goals from senior captain Julia MacKenzie.
“You get better by playing more challenging games,” Choate Rosemary Hall coach Courtney Barker-DeStefano said. “We’ve got to give Greenwich their due, they have a very talented team. We have a very large freshman class, so we are figuring out what it takes to work together.”
Junior midfielder Grace Schulze opened the scoring, putting a free position shot past Choate junior goalie Gina Driscoll to give GA a 1-0 lead at the 23:14 mark of the first half. Lane scored in transition off a pass from Goldsmith and junior attack Tessa Brooks converted an 8-meter shot, putting the home team on top, 3-0 with 16:59 to go in the opening half.
Maruszewski made a free position shot, Bowman scored from close in and Goldsmith showed her elusiveness, tallying off a dodge making it 6-0 with 11:06 remaining in the first half.
Continuing to show stellar ball movement and organization in its settled offense, the Gators kept increasing their lead. Lane tallied off a Maruszewski feed, Rogers scored off a dodge and Lane beat Driscoll with a top-shelf shot after catching a pass from Bowman, putting Choate in a 9-0 hole with 8:04 still left in the opening half.
“We have great team chemistry, it’s always been one of our strong suits,” Lane said. “Our middies winning it off the draw are really powerful and they do a great job of dishing it off to the attack players.”
MacKenzie accounted for Choate’s first-half scoring, tallying in transition at the 5:15 mark. Rogers, sophomore defender Lila Murray and freshman midfielder Maddie Holden each added first-half goals for the victors.
“Choate is a strong program, they beat us a couple of years ago, so we needed to be as prepared for this game as we are any other,” Anderson said. “As long as we can be versatile and produce threats from a lot of different places then we’ll be successful in our toughest games. If we’re predictable, then we’re easier to defend.”
The Gators had the possession advantage throughout, but when Choate did have the ball it had to work hard to get quality shots on goal. Junior goalkeeper Cate Spaulding made seven saves for GA, which saw senior co-captain Leila Schneider pace the squad defensively, along with junior Binney Huffman, sophomore Alessia Packard, Lila Murray (sophomore) and Julia Freedman (sophomore).
“We picked it up midway through the game with our intensity and we were trying to be more aggressive in going after the ball,” Schneider said. “Our team chemistry has already been great, but improved communication has really helped with it. Defensively, we continue to get stronger each game.”
Said Murray: “Our talking has been up and we’ve been working well together, which is important on defense. What’s really important for our team is to come out strong from the start with energy and support one another.”
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Lane and Rogers helped spark GA offensively with three goals apiece, while Goldsmith, Maruszewski and Bowman continued to show their play-making ability. Brooks, Holden, Schulze and Paige Lipman each provided a presence all over the field.
Defensively, GA was sound once again.
“It’s been so great to play with such incredible players, being a part of this team this year has been so much fun,” Rogers said. “Our versatility is strong, it’s really important to have people who can play anywhere.”
After hosting Greens Farms Academy Monday at 4:30 p.m., GA turns its attention to its biggest rival — Sacred Heart Greenwich — which is also undefeated and in the midst of another fantastic season.
“We’re definitely looking forward to that game,” Lane said. “They are a great bunch of girls to play, so it should be a super fun matchup. It’s been fun playing for my three years of high school.”