MILFORD — Anyone looking for an instructional video on how to play team lacrosse should do this:
Find a copy of New Fairfield’s performance in the first half of Saturday’s Class S girls state championship game against Stonington at Law High School.
To say the top-seeded Rebels put on a clinic would be an injustice. New Fairfield forced turnovers, won draws, made crisp clearing passes, scooped up groundballs and moved the ball around quickly.
Oh yeah … the Rebels also scored goals. Lots of them.
Fourteen straight, in fact, to open the contest and send New Fairfield on its way to an 18-5 triumph over third-seeded Stonington and a third consecutive Class S title.
“We really prepared for this,” New Fairfield coach Karen Nell said. “We broke down the game into pieces and worked on each part and they executed it perfectly. Perfectly.”
— Tim Murphy (@TimMurph27) June 9, 2019
Less than 10 minutes into the contest, New Fairfield was ahead 8-0. Two more goals and the lead reached double digits, sending the game clock into running time with 9:13 still to play. Four more goals and it was 14-0 before Stonington got the final goal of the opening half.
The Rebels’ trademark scoring balance was on display, as nine players contributed goals and/or assists during the 14-0 run. Katelyn Sousa and Reagan Tenaglia each had three goals, and Danielle Hernandez, Katelyn Nieves and Daria Bock added two goals apiece.
Equally impressive were New Fairfield defenders Maria Zegarelli, Eileen Rattigan, MaryMargaret Orloff, Maddie McCollam, Ailis Wargin, and Jordan Siemonsen, and goalie Rachel Mikolay, who made eight of her nine saves in the opening half. Two of Mikolay’s stops came during the first three minutes, as she denied Stonington’s Hannah Lamb and Kate Johnson on free positions to keep the game scoreless.
“Our defense hasn’t given up more than seven goals except for one time … our only loss of the season (11-10 to Staples),” Nell said. “We’re pretty tough and obviously we have an amazing goalie who takes care of us.”
“We worked really hard on our transitions because we weren’t doing that great on them, and we also worked a lot on offense and creating motion,” Mikolay said. “On defense we were just focused on making sure we had the cutter and we were prepared.”
The Bears began the second half with four unanswered goals — two apiece from Kate Johnson and Hannah Lamb — cutting their deficit to 14-5 and prompting Nell to call a timeout with 14:29 remaining.
When play resumed, New Fairfield regained control. The Rebels scored four goals in six minutes and held Stonington scoreless to close out the victory.
“We knew it was going to be tough, but we didn’t have a great first half … we thought we could play better than that,” Stonington coach Jeff Medeiros said. “It’s tough when you get down that much to a team like New Fairfield. They do everything well.”
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Rachel Mikolay, New Fairfield. The senior goalie, who will play at Elon University next year, finished with nine saves, including five on free positions for Stonington.
“I couldn’t ask for anything more. They did everything we wanted them to do.” — New Fairfield coach Karen Nell on her team.
— Tim Murphy (@TimMurph27) June 8, 2019