MADISON — The Southern Connecticut Conference girls’ lacrosse final that most expected is now set.
Hand (13-4) earned its berth into a rematch with arch rival Cheshire Wednesday night with a 15-13 victory over neighboring Guilford at Hand High School. The Rams reached the championship game with an 18-9 win over Amity Tuesday night in what was supposed to be a semifinal doubleheader. Hand and Guilford were postponed to Wednesday because of heavy thunderstorms.
The title game is slated for Thursday night at 7 p.m. at West Haven High School.
Both Hand or Cheshire have won every SCC crown since 2006 with each school having won four titles in that span. They have also played each other five times in the last six SCC championship games.
“We want to play Cheshire, even though they’ve had our number the last few years,” said Hand coach Kevin Siedlecki.
For the first eight minutes Wednesday night, it seemed as if Hand would roll to victory. The Tigers erupted for a 6-1 with Lauren Cole () and Erin Mammele () each scoring a pair of goals.
But Guilford coach Steve Jewett made a change in goal, pulling senior goalkeeper Clare Hall in favor of freshman Brooke Distante.
“It was just a gut instinct,” said Jewett. “They had four shots and three goals. Sometimes you’re on your game. Sometimes you’re not.”
After Hand was able to push its lead to 6-1, Guilford responded by scoring six of the next seven goals to close the gap to 7-6 at halftime as the Indians started to win faceoffs.
“We put a couple girls on the left side where the ball kept ending up,” said Jewett. “We started winning 50-50 balls and then were able to wear down their midfielders as our possessions worn on.”
“It was a good move,” said Siedlecki. “Erin Mammele is good at putting the ball where she wants to and they figured out where she wanted to after we won the first five in a row.”
The second half was back and forth with Guilford tying things at 8-8 with 20:47 to play on a goal by Marnie Jacobs. From there, Hand started to control more of the play despite yellow cards being big in the second half. Guilford lost Edy Moritz with her second yellow with 15:16 remaining in the game. Hand also had two yellow cards late in the game and played down two players for a few minutes.
“We still scored three times when we were down,” said Siedlecki. “The kids played so hard and took the situation given to them and got the win. I am so proud of the effort out of them.”
Cole finished with six goals and an assist, while Mammele added five goals and Brook Barry had a goal and three assists for Hand. Jewett collected four goals and Moritz added three goals and two assists for the Indians.
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