Hail to the Champions! Girls Lax Wins Class M Title

Bill O'Brien Photo Last Saturday the no. 4 ranked Branford Lady Hornets stopped a 23-year streak of missing a SCC school win a girls’ lacrosse championship when they defeated no. 1 Pomperaug 15-8 in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score indicated.

Bill O'Brien Photo Before a raucous crowd of supporters from both teams, the Lady Hornets dominated the game from the middle of the first half to the very end. The victory was sweet revenge from an earlier loss to the Panthers on the road, 13-12, in overtime in the rain last month. Here team members show their championship medals as the coach holds the title plaque.

Bill O'Brien Photo “I’m very proud of our team” said coach Jackie Ceccolini, “We lost three one-goal games this season all by a scores of 13-12 and one was to Pomperaug, so it was nice getting a big win over them today and winning the title.”

Bill O'Brien Photo The turnout was great and some parents and friends had a tailgate party before and after the game.

Bill O'Brien Photo Branford boys’ lacrosse coach Jim May showed his support by being at the game.

Bill O'Brien Photo The Hornets scored two quick goals to jump out 2-0 before the Panthers rallied and scored the next three but it was all Branford from that point on.  Here the Branford fans react after a Lady Hornets’ goal.

Bill O'Brien Photo At one point LanLe Crotty (5) and Sophie Spencer (4) converge on the Panthers’ Allison McCormick.

Bill O'Brien Photo Here Morgan Gilman runs up field past Allison McCormick.

The Hornets scored the next five goals to take a 7-3 lead into the half. “Early on, we lost most the draws and that gave Pomperaug possession of the ball, which led to their first three goals. I told the team during the halftime we had to start winning those draws and that’s what Autumn (McHenry) did.”

Bill O'Brien Photo McHenry completely controlled the second half draws and Branford’s first-half momentum continued in the second half as they scored two more goals early to build up a 9-3 lead before Pomperaug scored again Here McHenry (43), Ashley Smestad (26) and LanLe Crotty come after Kathleen Schenk.

Bill O'Brien Photo The lead was up to 15-5 with three minutes to go in the game when the Panthers scored a trio of late goals when the game was already out of reach .Here LanLe Crotty tracks down Pomperaug’s Erin Mulhall.

Bill O'Brien Photo “Between Autumn and Sophie (Spencer), we controlled the momentum of the game and they never were able to catch us,” said Ceccolini. Spencer led the game with six goals and an assist and was the dominant player on offense, while McHenry scored three goals and had three assists. Brianna Shaw (12) rushed up to congratulate Spencer after she scores a goal.

Bill O'Brien Photo Here Sabrina Torcellini runs past two defenders

Others who scored for the Hornets were LanLe Crotty with three goals, Sabrina Torcellini with two, and Ashlee Smestad with one.

Bill O'Brien Photo Goalie Jillian Ciarleglio (14) makes one of her seven saves in the first half.

Bill O'Brien Photo It was a great day. Here a fan takes a selfie with co-captains Morgan Gilman (L) and Ashlee Smestad as coach Jackie Ceccolini smiles in the rear.

Bill O'Brien Photo The scoreboard in back of coaches Joe Alessi, Billy Alessi, and Coach Ciccolini shows the final score.

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