Rebels use late stand to keep crown
MILFORD — With less than minutes to go in the Class S state championship game on Saturday, the New Fairfield High School girls lacrosse team desperately needed a big defensive stand. The fate of the Rebels’ season absolutely depended on it.
East Catholic had scored four straight goals to trim what had been a six- goal deficit down to a very manageable two. The Eagles had the momentum in their favor, and they were charging hard.
However, as it had done all afternoon — and all season, for that matter — the New Fairfield defense valiantly stood its ground to secure the Rebels’ second consecutive state title with a 9- 6 victory.
As East Catholic sniper Alexa Weber streaked toward the Rebel cage determined to make it a one- goal game, four New Fairfield defenders swarmed her and jarred the ball away. Out of the pack flashed New Fairfield’s Sydney Colesworthy to snatch up the loose ball, and end what proved to be East Catholic’s final threat. Moments later at the other end of the field, Colesworthy set up Nicole Berry for an insurance goal — and all of New Fairfield breathed a collective sigh of relief.
“We all worked so hard, and I knew this game was going to be intense because this was their first time here, and they wanted to win,” New Fairfield goalie Rachel Mikolay said. “We knew we would have to come out aggressively because they were going to want this. We just wanted it more.”
Berry and Dominique DeMarsico each scored three goals, with Berry adding two assists. Katelyn Sousa, Reagan Tenaglia and Colesworthy each scored a goal, with Colesworthy adding two assists and Sousa one. The fourthseeded Rebels kept their composure despite losing two of their top players — Katelyn Nieves and Tenaglia — to injuries.
“East Catholic really put a charge on and kept us on our toes, and we really had to play as a team and minimize the mistakes at the end, and we were able to do that,” said New Fairfield coach Karen Nell, whose Rebels won seven straight playoff games to win the South- West Conference and state titles after losing their regular- season finale to Newtown. “Everybody pulled together when they needed to. East Catholic had some strong players who could really pressure us, and our defense played really under control.”
Goalie Rachel Mikolay — the MVP of last year’s state championship game as a sophomore — made seven huge saves. She’s grown accustomed to being the Rebels’ last line of defense when the pressure is at its greatest.
“I used to be nervewracking, when I was starting off in the game, but now I’m just confident in myself, and I’m calm,” she said. “I make sure that I’m talking a lot because if you don’t have someone talking on defense, nothing productive is going to happen.”
It was a tough way to finish what had been a strong season for thirdseeded East Catholic — but the Eagles certainly went down fighting. Weber scored three goals, Macy Wilcox scored two and Cami Pasqualoni scored one. Goalie Kiely Callahan made seven saves.
“I am really proud of them,” East Catholic coach Brian Wilcox said. “It’s hard to see it end after the great run we had, but I’m really proud of them. We have a lot to be proud of, but it’s hard to lose.”
Both teams played tremendous defense. In fact, the game remained scoreless for the first 13 minutes.