Nineteen seventy-three. The first year that club lacrosse was played at New Canaan High School, making this the 50th anniversary season. Fifty years of growth, perseverance and victory. Seven out of 12. The recent streak of seasons in which the girls lacrosse team has been crowned state champion.
It was the first time the two rivals had seen each other since last year’s classic FCIAC championship game, when Darien defeated New Canaan, 13-12, in triple-overtime. And with both squads coming into Tuesday afternoon’s matchup boasting undefeated conference records, many were hyping it to be a potential preview of this year’s FCIAC final. But after a back-and-forth first half that saw five tie scores and three lead changes, Darien (12-1-1, 8-0 FCIAC) took it to New Canaan (12-2, 8-1 FCIAC) in the second half, scoring ten goals while holding the Rams to one, for a convincing 20-10 victory. “We just stopped playing,” New Canaan head coach Kristin Woods told NewCanaanite.com when asked about her team’s second half troubles. “We played great in the first half. We were poised, aggressive and moving the ball well.
The night opened with a ceremony honoring New Canaan girls lacrosse seniors Mia Carroll, Kylie Murphy, Catherine Granito, Katharine Freiberg and Sami Stewart—a class that has ventured on their journey in the sport and through much of their childhood and adolescence, together. And thanks to hat-tricks from senior co-captains Stewart and Granito and two goals from fellow senior co-captain Murphy, the Rams (10-1, 8-0 FCIAC) notched a 15-11 victory over the previously undefeated Ridgefield Tigers (9-1, 7-1 FCIAC). “The first half we were on fire,” New Canaan head coach Kristin Woods told NewCanaanite.com. “We were a little slow in the first five minutes, which is probably due to there being a lot going on [senior night] pregame. But there’s going to be a lot going on for our upcoming games, too.
In the spring of 2012, five New Canaan eighth-grade girls played in what they later would call an unforgettable multi-state lacrosse tournament at Yale. The girls—Mia Carroll, Katharine Freiberg, Catherine Granito, Kylie Murphy and Sami Stewart—would end up losing their final game after a last-minute New Canaan travel team penalty allowed Greenwich to tie up the score and force overtime. “It was one of those heartbreaks,” Carroll, surrounded by her four teammates, recalled on a recent afternoon from NCHS varsity head coach Kristin Woods’ office. An interior room on the high school’s ground-floor level, its walls are dotted with newspapers clippings and photos featuring accomplished Rams athletes. “But that season we all became so close with one another and it’s pretty cool that the five of us are the last ones standing.”
Coming off its first loss of the season, New Canaan Girls Lacrosse looked to get back into the win column on Tuesday night at Wilton’s Kristine Lilly Field. And thanks to hat tricks from senior co-captains Catherine Granito and Sami Stewart, and crucial saves from freshman goalie Caroline O’Dea, the Rams (7-1, 5-0 FCIAC) defeated the Wilton Warriors (2-3, 1-2 FCIAC), 14-10, to remain undefeated in conference play. “We’re learning, and every game with a young team is a learning experience,” New Canaan head coach Kristin Woods told NewCanaanite.com. “I thought everyone came out tonight really focused, which was what we learned from Saturday where we had a first-half lapse when we went out to Long Island, and really didn’t show up ready to go. So we learned from that, and today we came out really on fire. They [Wilton] never had the lead; they only had us tied, briefly, 2-2.