Competing in the FCIAC — one of the premier high school girls lacrosse conferences in the state — isn’t easy, but Greenwich High School has done just fine while playing some of the top teams in the region each year.
The Cardinals’ successful 2017 season saw them advance to the FCIAC Tournament quarterfinals and CIAC Class L Tournament semifinals, while producing a sparking 16-4 record along the way.
With depth and experience at each position, the Cardinals know they have it in them to enjoy even more success this spring.
“We are looking to take the big ones this year and go further than we did in the postseason tournaments than we did last year,” GHS senior tri-captain Genevieve DeWinter said. “Our team dynamic is really impressive. We are close on and off the field, which is a strength of our team. Our girls are really committed to the program.”
Seniors Maggie O’Gorman and Sailor Jiranek will also serve as captains of the Cardinals, who enter the season with a new coach. Kaitlin Gaghan takes over the coaching reins, replacing Caitlin Copelan, who guided the program for three seasons.
“I am so excited to join this program,” Gaghan said. “We have such a dedicated athletic program here and I am looking forward to working with a team that is committed to teamwork, hustle and grit. We have so many girls that show so much talent offensively and defensively.”
Following a highly successful regular season, Greenwich was edged by Ridgefield in overtime 15-14 in the FCIAC quarterfinals in 2017. The Cardinals proceeded to beat Fairfield Ludlowe and Staples in the first two rounds of the Class L Tournament, before losing to Wilton in the semifinal-round.
O’Gorman and DeWinter formed quite a scoring combination last spring and they figure to help spark the Cards offensively this season, which begins March 31.
“So far this season, we are learning new rides and quick attacking stuff,” said O’Gorman, who was an All-FCIAC selection last season. “We are going to be fast this season, because we have a lot of speedy girls. During the preseason, we have been working on being more aggressive on defense and on attack, making every single shot we take count.”
Greenwich opens its season on the road against FCIAC foe Fairfield Ludlowe.
“It’s definitely a competitive league, with a bunch of teams having a lot of great girls,” said Jiranek, one of the Cards’ top defensive players. “We are very young, but these younger girls are going to step up and I definitely think we can be a tough competitor.”
AT THE HELM: Gaghan arrives at Greenwich after spending one season as an assistant women’s lacrosse coach at Pace University. She played lacrosse at LIU-Post for three seasons, where she excelled as a defender. Gaghan was on two LIU East Coast Conference championship teams and played in the 2014 and 2016 NCAA Tournaments.
“I’m super excited to help the team expand and grow as a program,” Gaghan said. “It’s important for us to make sure everyone is an impact player, not just a role player.”
Returning as a varsity assistant coach is Megan Wax.
WHO’S GONE?: Erika Bloes, Romy Villemure, Katie Finneran and Elizabeth Lufkin, all of whom produced standout seasons, each graduated.
WHO’S BACK?: O’Gorman, who will play lacrosse at Dartmouth next spring and the Cornell-bound DeWinter (2017 All-FCIAC selection), should ignite the team at the midfield position. DeWinter provided numerous clutch goals throughout the 2017 season and also tallied a wealth of draw controls.
O’Gorman also rose to the occasion in crunch time, giving the Cardinals leads in several tight games.
“Maggie and Genevieve are two super-special players who love to play the game,” Gaghan said. “It’s exciting to watch them in action.”
Junior Paige Finneran is also an offensive threat at midfield.
Junior Grace Fahey and Leah Caputo will be relied upon to aid the squad at attack.
“Grace Fahey is fantastic with the ball and is a great dodger,” Gaghan said. “Leah Caputo has a great stick and I am excited to see how she continues to develop.”
Jiranek, junior Olivia Caan (All-FCIAC, All-State last year) and junior Olivia Hoekman(All-FCIAC, All-State) return as key defenders.
“We have been playing together on defense a lot and we have a good dynamic,” Jiranek said. “We should be really strong as a defensive group.”
Back in goal for GHS is junior Sloane Loveless, who is coming off a superb sophomore season in which she earned All-FCIAC honors.
“Sloane is like a general out there in cage,” Gaghan said.
STRENGTHS: “We have so many great girls who can play their position,” O’Gorman said. “This year, I think we are going to have a lot of players score goals, as compared to just one our two.”
CAPTAIN’S COMMENT: “The captains and team as a whole are excited for the season,” DeWinter said. “We have great girls returning, great new players and a lot of depth. Our excitment level is awesome.”
COACH’S COMMENT: “I can tell a lot of our players have competed together for a long time, it really shows in their chemistry. We are excited to show what we can do and hopefully, put the ball in the back of the net.”
SHOWDOWNS: Ridgefield (home, April 7), Warde (away, April 10), Daniel Hand (home, April 12), Cheshire (home, April 14), Wilton (home, April 20), Glastonbury (home, April 28), Rye (away, May 5) and Staples (away, May 10).