GREENWICH — As its season-opener against Wilton illustrated, lighting the scoreboard shouldn’t be a problem for the Greenwich Academy lacrosse team this spring.
Capitalizing on their opportunities from the outset, while playing sound defense, the Gators opened their season in fantastic fashion, registering a decisive 17-9 victory over visiting Wilton.
Getting goals from seven players, GA displayed its multi-faceted offense throughout, making the most of a good deal of their possessions.
Sophomore midfielder Margaret Maruszewski scored a team-high five goals, junior midfielder Tessa Brooks tallied three times and junior attack Katie Goldsmith recorded a hat trick to power Greenwich Academy (1-0). The Gators entered halftime with an 11-5 advantage, behind crisp ball movement and on-target shooting.
“I thought it was a great effort, we all came out strong and we’ve all been working hard in practice during the preseason,” Brooks said. “We really wanted to come out strong and I think we accomplished that. One of our goals this season is to start out super intense and we managed to find the open players.”
Junior midfielder/co-captain Taylor Lane notched two goals and one assist for GA, which received 10 saves from sophomore goalie Cate Spaulding.
“Wilton is always a really good team and we were psyched to have them on our schedule again this year,” Lane said. “I think we played great from the first whistle and played a complete game with energy throughout. Tessa (Brooks) was amazing on draw controls. We started out strong and never let up until the final whistle.”
Junior Anna Sherman posted four goals, while junior Sophie Sudano lit the scoreboard three times for the Warriors, who also played their season-opener on Thursday. Wilton seemed to improve offensively as the game progressed and tightened up its defensive play in the second half.
“We knew it was going to be a challenge from the get-go,” Wilton coach Meredith Meyran said. “I’m really pleased with how we responded in the second half, the second half was pretty even. We were just impressed with GA and their overall team speed. We like to play these games, because we can grow from these games in the long run.”
Eliza Bowman, a junior attack, had two goals, while sophomore midfielder Paige Lipman added one goal and one assist to also pace Greenwich Academy.
Lane opened the scoring, tallying off a turnover with 22:54 left in the first half. Wilton tied the score at 1-1 when Olivia Gladstein, a junior, tallied off a dodge at the 22:07 mark. The Warriors briefly went ahead, 2-1, on Sherman’s goal with 21:03 to go in the first half, but GA took the lead for good with three unanswered goals.
Maruszewski converted a free position shot, then Brooks went top shelf with her perimeter shot, which got past Wilton goalie Bridgette Wall, making it 4-2. After Sudano scored off a free position shot, Goldsmith scored off a dodge, then Lipman tallied in transition, giving GA a 6-3 edge. Junior Grace Schulze set Goldsmith up for another goal, putting Wilton in a 7-3 hole.
Brooks converted a pass from Goldsmith and Maruszewski added two more first-half goals for the victors.
“It was a really strong performance by the whole team on every end of the field, especially on draw controls, because that’s what gives us the possession and allows us to convert,” Goldsmith said. “The passing was good, we were quick off the ball and unselfish, so that was good as well.”
Wall made six first-half saves and Kate Paulson stopped six second-half shots for the Warriors (0-1).
“Defensively, I thought we really locked down in the second half,” Meyran said. “I was proud of the adjustments we made and how we were able to respond. Credit to GA, they did a great job.”
Greenwich Academy was sparked by senior co-captain Leila Schneider defensively and junior Binney Huffman.
“Our kids were fired up, Wilton is always a great team,” GA coach Melissa Anderson said. “Our goal was to come out and play a complete game, we’ve been working on our defensive communication and our offensive and defensive sets — we wanted them to run smoothly and we focused on the draws. Tessa Brooks took 21 of 28 draws I think, which is a lot. Paige and Margaret were also instrumental in controlling the draw too. That just sets the tone for gaining possession. which set the tone of the game.”
Added Lane: “We have some strong matchups coming up, which should be a challenge. But it’s exciting, full season ahead and we are looking forward to it.”
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Besides her three goals, Brooks enabled Greenwich Academy to carry the momentum by winning the majority of the draws that she took.
“It’s always a competitive game with Wilton and I’m happy with how our team played,” Goldsmith said. “We came out, took the game full force and played to the best of our ability I think.”
GREENWICH ACADEMY 17, WILTON 9