Rams Dial up ti­tle

Connecticut Post (Sunday) - - High Schools - By Rich DePreta rde­preta @ stam­for­dad­vo­cate. com

MIL­FORD — In the end, it was a sim­ple plan for the New Canaan High School girls lacrosse team.

Be in­tense. Be pa­tient on of­fense. Be phys­i­cal at both ends of the field. Win crit­i­cal draws.

The No. 5 seeded Rams checked all the boxes and earned their just re­ward — a 19- 7 tri­umph over No. 6 Ridgefield in the Class L state cham­pi­onship fi­nal Satur­day at Jonathan Law High School.

It was New Canaan’s first Class L girls lacrosse crown, but the Rams’ third state ti­tle in four years hav­ing won Class M in 2015 and 2016.

“We played our hearts out,” New Canaan se­nior tri- cap­tain Brae­den Dial said. “Hav­ing all the seniors on the field in the clos­ing min­utes was so great. But we made it clear to ev­ery­body on the team that as won­der­ful as our win over Darien ( first time ever for the NC seniors) was in the L semi­fi­nals, it meant noth­ing if we didn’t fin­ish the job to­day.”

Dial cer­tainly took those sen­ti­ments to heart. She was named the game’s Most Valu­able Player, col­lect­ing six goals and eight as­sists to haunt the Ridgefield de­fense. Dial, who will play lacrosse at David­son in the fall, con­cluded the state tour­na­ment with 23 goals and 15 as­sists in four vic­to­ries.

“I was so proud of the fo­cus, com­pet­i­tive­ness, pa­tience and de­ter­mi­na­tion I saw on the field,” New Canaan coach Kristin Woods said. “We saw how im­por­tant our cap­tains were to our suc­cess. They will be so suc­cess­ful on the field and in their lives.”

Se­nior tri- cap­tain Kar­lie Bucci was the re­cip­i­ent of passes from Dial on three of her four goals. Bucci also won five straight face­offs in the sec­ond half, al­low­ing New Canaan to push the con­test into run­ning time ( 10- goal edge) with 7: 28 left to play.

Se­nior tri- cap­tain Ju­lia Oz­imek was stout on de­fense early and scored a key first- half goal to give New Canaan a 6- 3 edge and stop a Ridgefield surge.

New Canaan and Bucci had an 8- 4 edge in draws in the first half as the Rams

( 17- 5) led 8- 3 at in­ter­mis­sion. New Canaan finished with a 14- 12 edge in draws.

“We didn’t have a lot of pos­ses­sions in the con­test,” Ridgefield coach Cece Berger said.

De­fen­sively, New Canaan chose to shadow and face­guard Ridgefield se­nior tri- cap­tain Caro­line Cur­nal from open­ing draw to fi­nal buzzer. NC ju­nior Caro­line Schuh did the job, lim­it­ing Cur­nal to a pair of sec­ond­half goals.

“Caro­line Schuh is an ex­tra­or­di­nary ath­lete and a quick de­fender,” Woods said. “Get­ting into Cur­nal’s head ev­ery mo­ment made a big dif­fer­ence. We wanted to stop the fast­break goals by Cur­nal and ( sopho­more) Caitlin Slaminko.”

Cur­nal, se­nior Mae Bri­ody and ju­nior Maeve Tobin each had two goals while Slaminko tal­lied once for Ridgefield ( 14- 6).

Arnold Gold / Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia

New Canaan’s Kar­lie Bucci ( left) and Brae­den Dial cel­e­brate af­ter scor­ing in the sec­ond half of New Canaan’s 19- 7 vic­tory over Ridgefield in the Class L fi­nals.

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