Conard beats crosstown rival Hall to improve its playoff seeding and keep the team’s momentum alive.
By Marlon Pitter. Photos by Hunter Marotto
For a team looking to avoid playing in the qualifying round of the CIAC tournament, Conard High School girls lacrosse seems to be headed in the right direction.
With a 12-4 win over crosstown rival Hall at McKee Stadium in West Hartford on Thursday afternoon, the Chieftains have won three straight and five of their last six, improving to 9-6 on the season with one game remaining.
The Chieftains moved up from 12th to 11th in the Class L rankings, likely putting themselves in a position to earn a spot in the first round of the state tournament with a win Tuesday against Northwest Catholic on Senior Day, pending other results in the final days of the season.
“We’ve been talking for the past eight weeks – specifically the last five – about always … having more effort than the other team,” said Conard head coach Meg Cersosimo. “We really had great effort against a well-coached and very athletic Hall team.”
Kate Shaffer (three goals, one assist), Cate DiGiacomo, and Coco Haverty powered Conard offensively – each scoring a hat trick – as the Chieftains put the game away on an 8-0 run over 25 minutes of play spanning both halves.
The Chieftains took an early 3-0 lead with a trio of goals in the first 3:30 of play. Haverty found the net just 40 seconds into the game, opening the offense for Conard. Ally Turner and Anna Czajkowski (goal, two assists) followed suit shortly after.
The Warriors scored three of the next four goals as Anne Tulikangas, Lola Smith, and Chloe Nordyke found the net to bring the game within one, 4-3, with 14:44 remaining.
Conard persisted offensively, scoring three more goals in the last 14:12 of the first half to take a 7-3 lead into halftime.
The Chieftains’ attack hardly wavered after the intermission. Conard continued its offensive onslaught as Haverty, DiGiacomo, and Shaffer scored the next five goals in the first 11 minutes of the second half – each completing their hat tricks on successive scores – to put the Chieftains up 12-3.
Tulikangas scored her second goal of the game to end the Chieftains’ run, but the Warriors failed to draw any closer over the last 8:38 of the contest.
Hall falls to 10-4 with the loss.
The Warriors, meanwhile, entered the contest with a first-round tournament game already set for Tuesday, May 30. They will finish the regular season with a game at Canton on Saturday before returning home to host Danbury on Monday for their senior day.
For Hall head coach Meg Chaplin, the loss to Conard loss does not dampen the success of this season with the postseason on the horizon. Instead, it gives the Warriors more to work on as they finish the regular season.
“I think it gives a wake-up call for what we can expect in [the state tournament],” Chaplin said. “We’ve got to clean things up. Yesterday we played Avon and we started sloppy. We cleaned things up and we took over the game and we won. Today, we weren’t able to clean things up, and the score showed that.
“We were down four at halftime. That’s a very close-able gap,” said Chaplin, “but we weren’t able to close it. I think it’s an important lesson for us in just how important it is to protect the ball.”
While Conard is playing well heading into the postseason, Cersosimo said the team’s ability to stay even-keeled and focus on the next game has served it well.
“We continue to look at the next opponent,” she said. “We’re not looking past them. We’re trying to build every single day. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Our practices are harder than our games, so if we continue to … execute in practice, we’ll do a nice job going forward.”
Like what you see here? Click here to subscribe to We-Ha’s newsletter so you’ll always be in the know about what’s happening in West Hartford!