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Yellow Cards Sink Red Wolves Lacrosse

Caroline Cersosimo of Conard (15) uses the shield from teammate Olive Hole (8) to get away from her defender. Conard vs. Amity girls lacrosse. May 4, 2024. Photo credit: Paul Palmer

The Conard girls lacrosse team hosted Amity Regional on Saturday morning in West Hartford.

Nicole Gorman scored one of her four goals on this play as she beats an Amity defender around the corner. Conard vs. Amity girls lacrosse. May 4, 2024. Photo credit: Paul Palmer

By Paul Palmer

What started out as a great back and forth girls lacrosse game between Amity Regional and Conard turned on the Red Wolves having to play through four, two-minute periods of being at least one player down.

Conard was called for four yellow cards – and on the fourth one by rule had to go two players down allowing Amity (9-4) to score at will. The Spartans did just that, scoring seven goals with the advantage to win 17-13.

‘We played down pretty much a quarter and a half and you can’t do that against a good team like Amity,” said Meg Cersosimo the head coach of Conard (9-2).

Conard golaie Maya Nanayakkara makes the save early on. Conard vs. Amity girls lacrosse. May 4, 2024. Photo credit: Paul Palmer

The start of  the game saw Conard jump out to a quick 1-0 lead on Maddie Sweeney’s goal just :32 into play. Goalie Maya Nanayakkara kept it that way when she stopped a free play shot from the Spartans less than one minute later. Over a six-minute span the two sides scored seven total goals with both going on separate runs.

Amity started it at 6:25, followed was followed at 4:47 by Haley Marino and then at 3:32 Liliana Flemming scored to make it 4-1. Conard’s response came quickly when at 2:55 Ashley Gorman scored the first of her four goals in the game on an assist from her sister, Nicole Gorman.

Nicole Gorman – who scored her 10oth goal in the team’s last game – scored at 1:29 with a low shot and again at :44 shooting high, both on free plays, then finished off the natural hat trick with :25 to play to give Conard  a 5-4 lead that they took to the end of the first. The final goal saw Olivia Hole make a great pass through traffic to Gorman as she cut in from up top.

Maddie Sweeney of Conard and Haley Mario of Amity battle for the ball off the draw. Conard vs. Amity girls lacrosse. May 4, 2024. Photo credit: Paul Palmer

Conard got their first yellow card just after Gorman’s late goal in the first. Amity had a great chance less than a minute into the period, but once again Nanayakkara made the save on the free position shot, but she could not control the rebound. The Spartans gained control and Lilianna Flemming scored with the carryover advantage to tie it up. When Sweeney was released from her two minutes off, she raced into the attack, took a pass from Courtney McPhee, and found teammate Caroline Cersosimo who scored the go-ahead goal. The freshman Cersosimo would then score the next two for the Red Wolves, first at 9:34 on a free position and again at 7:56 from Sweeney at 7:56 to make it 8-5 Conard.

It would stay that way until once again Amity found itself playing with the advantage after Conard received its second yellow card of the game at 3:35. Twenty-nine seconds later Addy Maxwell scored on the free position shot and with just :23 to go and playing at even strength, the Spartans scored a backbreaker when Maxwell scored again to make it 8-7 at the half.

Defensive pressure from Conard forced this shot wide. Conard vs. Amity girls lacrosse. May 4, 2024. Photo credit: Paul Palmer

The third period was a disaster for Conard as a combination of an aggressive offensive attack by Amity and the Red Wolves taking more yellow cards changed the fortunes for both teams and Amity outscored the hosts 7-1 over the 12:00. Amity scored :29 into the second half to tie things at 8, then again :33 later to pull ahead 9-8 – both were even strength. Cersosimo would score for the fourth straight time just under 3:00 into the third to tie it at 9. The Spartans answered that score to go up 10-9 on Maxwell’s rocket into the net on a free play, before the bottom fell out for Conard.

With the score at 11-9 Amity, it appeared that Conard’s Jacqueline Capone had scored to cut the lead to 1. But the officials ruled that Capone’s goal did not count  calling a “dangerous propel” penalty. In lacrosse, if the officials believe an offense player shot the ball at a defensive player, it is a two-minute penalty and a yellow card. In Capone’s defense, she was moving forward with the ball through traffic, made a catch and shoot play that hit the other player and deflected in.

Tessa Flemming of Amity stops Courtney McPhee’s shot of the free position. Conard vs. Amity girls lacrosse. May 4, 2024. Photo credit: Paul Palmer

Amity went right to work with the advantage scoring three times in the span of the 2:00 to make it 14-9. Conard picked up its fourth yellow with just :30 to play in the third, seconds after Capone returned to play. The accumulation of yellows meant that Conard now had to play the next two minutes down not one, but two players.

To their credit, the Red Wolves managed to kill off the man-down situation and got back on the score sheet when Nicole Gorman scored her fourth of the game on another assist from Hole. Starting 30 seconds later, the Spartans would score three unanswered goals over a period of 2:30 to take a commanding 17-10 lead. The first came when McPhee was stripped of the ball from behind as she was carrying the ball out of the defensive zone and Amity converted on the attack. Carly Marino would score just over one minute later off a play that highlighted the patience of her team. The Spartans held the ball behind the Conard cage for 45 seconds before Marino made the cut from the top, took a pass, and scored. Maxwell would score what turned out to be Amity’s final goal at 6:27 while on the advantage.

Nicole Gorman’s (12) run would set up Jacqueline Capone’s goal. Red Wolves Courtney McPhee (10) looks on. Conard vs. Amity girls lacrosse. May 4, 2024. Photo credit: Paul Palmer

The Red Wolves tried to fight back but ran out of time. Ashley Gorman scored three times for Conard between 2:10 and :16 to make it a 17-13 final.

“They [Conard players] fought hard and continued to do well and we will use this game as we go further in the season,” coach Cersosimo said after the loss. The loss snaps a nine-game win streak that started after a loss in the first game of the season to Newtown. The 17 goals are four more than the Conard defense had allowed in the previous four games combined. It is a non-conference loss for the Red Wolves who came into the contest Saturday ranked eighth in the state in Class LL.

They won’t have much time to dwell on the Amity game as next up is 10-1 Simsbury on Tuesday, the No. 2 team in Class L.

Evelyn Black of Conard races up field ahead of an Amity player. Conard vs. Amity girls lacrosse. May 4, 2024. Photo credit: Paul Palmer

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