Greenwich Girls Lax Fights Off Norwalk in Class LL Opener
In a game starting and ending with goals from Greenwich High’s Paige Mautner, the Lady Cardinals had plenty to deal with as the Bears of Norwalk High tested GHS both early and late in the first round of the Class LL tournament on Tuesday.
Behind a five-goal performance from Mautner and an impressive day in goal for Kat Crouchley, the Lady Cardinals pulled out a 12-9 victory to advance to the quarterfinals to play Ridgefield High on Thursday.
“I think if we continue to come out the way we did today, I don’t think our season lasts much longer,” said GHS head coach Caitlin Young.
Norwalk and Greenwich traded leads early in the match, with tie scores of 1-1, 2-2, 3-3 and 4-4 before Greenwich could finally pull away for good in the second half.
Greenwich had multiple chances to break the game open early by forcing a couple turnovers, but to no avail as the Norwalk defense would go into the half just down by a lone goal in a 54 game.
“Norwalk came out with a lot of energy today,” Mautner said. “We were lacking that energy and came out flat. In the second half we pulled through, like always.”
It took just 20 seconds for Mautner to score off a won faceoff to finally give Greenwich a two-goal lead in the second half. From there, the Cardinals took control with three more goals to give them a comfortable cushion of a six-point lead.
But Norwalk never checked out, as Emma L’Archevesque and Brianna Fitzgerald provided a late spark for the Bears with five goals, three consecutive, in the last 13 minutes of the game.
It wasn’t too long after that Greenwich was leading 11-9 with just over three minutes to go. A clutch save from Kat Crouchley secured the game late for the Lady Cardinals, as a Mautner goal sealed the deal for the first round of the state tournament.
“We talked about getting the next play, finishing the shot, getting the draw and getting the next possession,” Young said of her team. “We went up by one before half, but we need to have a more consistent effort throughout the entire game. We went on a little run in the second half, which was huge. We picked up the execution, played smarter and we were being little bit tougher on defense.”
Norwalk’s Emma L’Archevesque finished with four goals, while her teammates Brianna Fitzgerald and Marissa Mastrianni both pitched in two goals a piece. Freshman Lily L’Archevesque added a goal for the Bears in the loss.
For Greenwich, five different first-half scorers in Mautner, Maggie O’Gorman, Erika Bloes, Elizabeth Lufkin and Genevieve DeWinter put the Lady Cardinals ahead at the half. O’Gorman and Lufkin added second half goals to their total, as Sailor Jiranek scored as well.
The final three goals for Greenwich were rallied by quick defense and were all recorded by Mautner.
“We’re excited to be moving on and we’ll use this game as a learning experience,” said Young. “We’ll make sure we come out harder, faster and stronger on Thursday. At the end of our season, Ridgefield got us so the girls are excited. We have to come ready to play and execute. I know they’ve had a great season too, so it’s going to be a battle.”
Ridgefield, who took down Greenwich in overtime 8-7 at the end of the regular season, will host the Cardinals on Thursday at 5:00 p.m.
“We’re definitely looking forward to playing Ridgefield again,” Mautner said. “We lost a tough game to them in overtime and we know we can beat them. It’s about bringing the energy.”