Girls lacrosse: St. Joseph advances to Class M title game
CHESHIRE —The St. Joseph and East Lyme girls’ lacrosse teams will each find themselves in an unfamiliar situation on Saturday and they just couldn’t be happier.
Posting victories they will long remember, the Cadets and Vikings earned themselves berths in an event they’ve had their sights set on for quite some time — the state lacrosse final.
No. 13 St. Joseph advanced to its first state lacrosse finals, while third-seeded East Lyme moved on to its first state title game since 2006 and they did so with impressive victories at Cheshire High School on Monday evening.
Receiving four goals and four assists from junior Lily Ivanovich and 14 saves from senior Erin Owens, 13th-seeded St. Joseph eliminated top-seeded Guilford, 14-10, in the semifinal-round of the CIAC Class M Tournament.
The Cadets, will face the Vikings in Saturday’s Class M championship game at Jonathan Law High School. East Lyme moved on to the finals by registering a 9-4 win over No. 10 Masuk.
“St. Joseph never even made it to states until four years ago,” Cadets coach Leeland Gray said. “We made the semifinals in S Class two years ago and last year we got bumped up to M and we made it to the first round. It feels awesome to make it to the finals, after being in Class M for only two seasons.”
Junior Kylie Lucifora and senior Annie McNeil each recorded hat tricks, while freshman Isabelle Casucci tallied twice to power the Cadets’ offense.
“Making it to the championship game feels better than we imagined, because we lost in the playoffs in the past, so that was our motivation – to make it to the finals,” Ivanovich said. “To know that we broke a school record by getting to the championship game is awesome.”
Guilford (16-3) trailed early but rallied to tie St. Joseph at halftime, 6-6. The Indians were sparked by five goals from junior Catherine Larrow and three tallies from senior Maddie Constantino-Lyons.
Ivanovich gave St. Joe the lead for good, weaving her way past a pair of defenders, before putting a shot past Indians freshman goalie Sydney Widlitz at the 23:43 mark of the second half. With St. Joseph running its settled offense, senior Jettke Gray converted a low shot, giving the Cadets an 8-6 lead with with 21:38 remaining in the second half.
Later in the half, McNeil made a free position shot and Ryan Camiglio tallied off a feed from Ivanovich, making it 11-6 with 14:34 to go in the second half.
Meanwhile, Owens was rock-solid in goal for the Cadets. She helped the victors keep the momentum by making key saves throughout.
“Defensively, we just talked well together, and our great defensive players were listening to me,” Owens said. “We pushed for the whole game. We’re so excited and I’m just so happy to be there on Saturday and have a chance to play.”
Trailing 5-2, after Lucifora converted an 8-meter shot, Guilford rallied to even the score at 6-6 at halftime. Maddie Constantino-Lyons scored off a dodge, Nicole Tepley made a free position shot and Larrow tallied in transition to tie the score.
Widlitz made 12 saves in goal for the Indians. The Cadets had the possession edge in the second half and were sound defensively throughout.
“We went into the game knowing that the draw girl from Guilford was really good, so we had to work as a unit to get the ball to our side of the field,” Jettke Gray said. “Erin, our goalie, had an amazing game, which was also in our favor.”