NEW CANAAN — There may not have been any North Carolina blue at Dunning Field when the New Canaan girls lacrosse team hosted Glastonbury on Saturday, but it was two future Tar Heels who got the ball rolling on the opening draw.
New Canaan’s McKenna Harden and Glastonbury’s Sam Forrest, two North Carolina commits, were featured in a game which saw the Rams score the first 10 goals on the way to a dominating 18-5 victory.
The mutual respect between the future teammates was apparent.
“It was fun going back and forth with her because she was defending me and I was defending her until we subbed,” Harden, who’s younger sister Kaleigh will play at UNC in two years, said. “I know Sam is a great player so coming into this, it was a lot of making sure she didn’t get the ball, and making them rely on other players.”
“It was awesome to see someone that I know that’s my friend right across the field from me,” Forrest said. “It’s great to be able to play against someone of such high caliber because we both have so much respect for each other and each other’s team. It’s awesome to be able to get a taste of what it’s going to be like next year.”
While New Canaan (12-0) continued to steamroll towards the playoffs, the Guardians (9-3) got what they wanted in preparation for the postseason.
“When you come to a game like this, at least you feel like you’re getting those opportunities to see what works and what doesn’t work, and what they do and what we need to do,” Glastonbury coach Kris Cofiell said. “Typically, we’ll pick up (FCIAC teams) because I want us to be ready for states. If I didn’t do that, then every year we’d finish 14-2, 16-0 or whatever, and then go to states and get our butts kicked.”
Hollis Mulry led the Rams with four goals and one assist, Dillyn Patten had a hat trick, and Lexie Tully, Devon Russell, Olivia Lockhart and Caroline Underwood each scored twice.
For Glastonbury, Mary Norman scored twice in just her second game back from an injury, and Forrest, Christina Guanci, and Joelle Solecki each scored once.
New Canaan had played 10 games in the season’s first 17 days, but finally had a full week of practices.
“The week of practice made a big difference in the excitement of the play today,” New Canaan coach Kristin Woods said. “I wasn’t expecting to go up 10-0 in the first 15 minutes, so it was a great showing for our starters, and the people coming off the bench held their own and did a great job as well.”
STILL THE ONE
For the second straight week, the Rams held on to the top spot in the State Coaches Poll, earning every No. 1 vote so far this season.
It’s a lofty position which comes with some pressure as well.
“It’s exciting and they know that everybody’s ready to play us and is going to bring their best game,” Woods said. “That’s what we want because then we’ll bring an even better game.”
GOALIES TIMES TWO
New Canaan’s one-two goalie punch has been a boon. Junior Claire Mahoney, who had three saves Saturday, is the starter, but senior Shea Hobbs, who had five saves, has played significant minutes.
More importantly, according to Woods, the players work well together.
“They have the best relationship I have ever seen between two goalies competing for a spot,” Woods said. “They’re so supportive of one another and they really want each other to play the best game possible.”
“We like the aspect of having to always prove ourselves and proving that we belong (at No. 1). It’s a huge testament to how much work we’ve put in, but I don’t think it says enough until we win FCIAC finals and state finals. Yeah, we’re No. 1 but we can keep going and we can be better.” — New Canaan senior co-captain McKenna Harden