STRATFORD — Before New Fairfield’s game against Weston in the CIAC Class S Girls Lacrosse final, Rebels coach Greg Schwarz emphasized that one of the reasons his team advanced as far as the final was its heart and grit.
Heart and grit shown through in the final, with the Rebels holding off a pair of Trojans comebacks and never relinquishing the lead. Reagan Tenaglia had four goals, Ava Romanello added three and Margaret Morgan had eight saves to lead No. 3 New Fairfield to an 11-8 win over No. 12 Weston in the Class S final at Bunnell High on Saturday.
“Heart is what got this done for us today,” Schwarz said after the game. “What this team does, it’s easy to characterize what they do. They work hard, they have grit and they give it everything they have every time on the field.
“Weston is a very good team and very well coached. But this championship means a lot to all of us, especially coming off two (COVID-19) quarantines during the season. Reagan had a great game, they all did. Our 1-on-1 defense came up big for us along with our goalie.”
The championship was the fifth overall and fourth-straight for third-seeded New Fairfield, which also defeated 2019 def. Stonington in 2019, East Catholic in 2018 and Weston in 2017.
New Fairfield has won 16 consecutive state playoff games dating back to the start of the 2017 Class S tournament.
“I’m really proud of these girls,” Schwarz said.
The Rebels set the tone early, scoring the first three goals of the game. Colleen Rattigan scored with 19:08 left in the first quarter for a 3-0 lead.
Hannah Cross produced Weston’s first goal off a free position with 8:00 to go in the first half to make it 3-1. The teams traded goals, and with the score 4-2, another Cross goal for Weston cut the lead to 4-3 with 11:13 left in the first half. Tenaglia scored for a 5-3 lead, and when Weston’s Kayla Schiffer scored to cut the lead to 5-4 with 1:44 to go in the first half, Schwarz called time out.
Weston scored what appeared to be a game-tying goal with 1:20 left in the half, but it was waved off due to a foul in the crease.
The Rebels went on to score the next five goals to take control. Tenaglia’s goal with 18:24 to go in the second half made it 10-4.
“We came out strong today, the game plan coming in here was to come out full speed,” Tenaglia said. “We were so pumped up for this game. We wanted to show our alumni we are the new generation at New Fairfield. It wasn’t just me today, everyone on this team came through for us. And it all started in youth lacrosse where we all played together.
“It was tough when we had to go on quarantine early in the season. But we did virtual workouts and the coaches did everything to keep us fit and prepared. When they cut the lead to 5-4 and coach called time out, he settled us down and we came out motivated and determined.”
Weston got as close as 11-8 on a Taylor Werner goal with 1:36 left in the game and that would be the final.
“The turning point in the game was when that goal was waved off that would have made it 5-5,” Weston coach Kyra Fraiolo said. “I thought we had some momentum at that point. But when they scored the next five goals and got the big lead, it was hard to come back.
“Early in the game I think we were a little nervous, but the girls settled in. Overall we had a good season and I’m proud of the girls.”
Kayla Schiffer had three goals for the Trojans and Carina Giordano had eight saves.
NO. 3 NEW FAIRFIELD 11,
NO. 12 WESTON 8
Weston4 4 — 8
New Fairfield6 5 — 11
Scoring: Weston — Kayla Schiffer 3 goals, Hannah Cross 2 goals, Taylor Werner 2 goals, Rebecca Strouch 1 goals; New Fairfield — Reagan Tenaglia 4 goals, 2 assists; Ava Romanello 3 goals, Colleen Rattigan 1 goal, Gwyneth Enright 1 goal, Evelyn Butorac 1 goal, heather Clark 1 goal. Saves: Weston — Carina Giordano 8, New Fairfield — Margaret Morgan 8. Records: Weston 12-8; New Fairfield 17-3.