New Fairfield delivered a tour de force in the CIAC Class S girls lacrosse final, scoring the first 14 goals of the game on their way to an 18-5 rout of Stonington at Jonathan Law High School in Milford on Saturday.
The Rebels entered the season as two-time defending state champs and the favorites to win the Class S title yet again, and exited as three-time champions.
After New Fairfield celebrated its three-peat and the trophy and medals were awarded, coach Karen Nell delivered an important message to the seven graduating seniors.
“I told them that few teams win one championship, let alone three consecutive state championships, and back-to-back SWC titles,” Nell said. “To such have an epic final game was a very fitting end to their high school careers.”
The seniors — goalie Rachel Mikolay, defenders Eileen Rattigan and Maria Zegarelli; midfielders Sydney Colesworthy and Alexa Meres; and attacks Nicole Berry and Katelyn Nieves — have been key parts of the New Fairfield dynasty, either starting or getting important time on the field during the first state title drive two years ago.
They’ve helped the Rebels compile a three-year record of 57-10 and turned the program into a force that takes on teams from much larger schools.
“This was a very special group of young women, who have exhibited the ability to adapt and overcome,” Nell said. “As a result, they have set the bar high for every team to follow. I have been truly blessed to be their coach.”
Mikolay, Berry, Rattigan and Colesworthy were named to the CHSCA All-State first team, with Nieves earning a place on the second team.
New Fairfield delivered a spectacular season. Not only was the team 22-1 overall, but it avenged all three of its losses from 2018, beating Pomperaug 13-7, Joel Barlow 11-7 and Newtown 11-7. In the SWC tournament, the Rebels beat Barlow 7-6 in the semis and Newtown 9-8 in the title game.
Top-seeded New Fairfield then rolled through the first two rounds of the Class S tournament, beating Morgan 20-6 and Sheehan 10-5, before overcoming a challenge from Weston for a 9-6 win in the semifinals.
In the final against No. 3 Southington, New Fairfield left nothing to chance, scoring eight goals in the first 10 minutes. The Rebels hit 10-0 to put the game into running time with 9:13 remaining in the first half, and added four more goals before the Bears finally scored in the final minute before halftime.
Mikolay, who will play at Elon University next year, capped her three-year career as the starting goalie by making seven saves, including five on free positions.
Four Rebels had at least six points. Junior Daria Bock had seven on two goals and five assists; juniors Katelyn Sousa and sophomore Reagan Tenaglia each had four goals and two assists; and Nieves had three goals and three assists.
While the departure of the seven seniors will leave big shoes to fill, the Rebels are built for sustained success, with eight juniors, two sophomores and a large group of eight freshmen.
“I’m very proud of their commitment and contributions to the program, and I want them to know that they’re also a great group with so much talent,” Nell said of the younger players. “The future is theirs to define.”
WAVE BACK ON TOP
Darien continued its remarkable streak in state championship games with a 12-6 victory over rival New Canaan in Saturday’s Class L final. The Blue Wave has now won in their last 10 appearances in the state finals, improving to 10-2 overall in championship game.
There was a bit of revenge involved for Darien as well. New Canaan had beaten the Wave 12-11 in last year’s semifinal round, ending Darien’s five-year reign as state champs. New Canaan then went on to win its first Class L title, 17-9 over Ridgefield, after moving up from Class M in 2017.
Darien (21-2) finished the season with a 12-game winning streak and was unbeaten against Connecticut foes, going 17-0.
New Canaan (18-5) also had a remarkable season, going 14-3 against Connecticut opponents with the only three losses coming against Darien.
Both teams went wire-to-wire as the top two teams in the Connecticut State Coaches poll, with Darien at No. 1 and New Canaan at No. 2.
They’ll both graduate a few key seniors — Darien with Katie Elders, Nicole Humphrey, Charlotte Wittstock, Eva Finn and Mason Maloney, and New Canaan with Caroline Schuh, Katelyn Sparks, Caroline O’Dea, Campbell Connors, Lauren Bisceglia and Kendall Patten — but return a lot of talent for next season.
DEFENSE RULES FOR EAST LYME
The East Lyme defense has been impeccable this season and delivered again Saturday, as the Vikings shut down St. Joseph for a 10-6 win in the Class M championship game.
Goalie Maya Rose collected 12 saves, and the back line featuring senior co-captains Laura Agbayani and Sarah Christensen, senior Erin Baumann and sophomore Ellie McCoy held down a Cadets attack that had generated 42 goals in the first three rounds of the state tournament.
It was East Lyme’s first state championship since 2006, when it beat Amity 7-3 in the Div. II final.
For St. Joseph, the loss was its first against a team outside the FCIAC this year. The Cadets went 8-1 against nonconference opponents and had never reached the state finals before.