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Old Lyme — Allison Buckley never liked hearing "red," which was code for the Old Lyme High School girls' lacrosse team to just pass the ball and run time off the clock, even if there was a lot of time left on said clock.
Change has come to the Wildcats this season. They played their first game on their beautiful new on-campus field Tuesday. They have a number of new players. And they have a new coach, former assistant Emily Macione, who wants to attack, attack, attack.
"It's nice to have a coach who feels the same way I do," Buckley said after a 16-14 win over Morgan in the Shoreline Conference. "Today, we were up (11-4) at halftime, then we won by two, so it's huge to not just give up possessions like that and ask (opponents) to take the ball, I guess you can say.
"I know that Mr. (Tom) Risom (the former coach) liked the 'red' because of sportsmanship, which I understand, but at the same time, we want to win. ... We've got to show other teams what we're made of."
Risom had been the only coach the program had ever known, and he constantly had them in the running for a CIAC Class S title.
Macione took over the program after Risom retired. She had been an assistant for three seasons, and she's real competitive.
"I'm aggressive," Macione smiled. "Even if it's like a board game or something, I want to win. I've always had that fire in me about stuff. I don't want to beat a team into the ground and make them go home crying on their bus, but if we're ahead and we have a good lead, I'm not going to tell the offense to let up. I'm going to tell them to keep working, and then I'm going to try to sub in my second team players or players who aren't varsity starters because they are getting a chance to play up to that level and get experience."
Sophomore Sloane Sweitzer had eight goals for the Wildcats (2-1, 1-1). Buckley, a senior, had nine assists and two goals. Freshman Sydney Cowell (four goals) and Mary Bolles (one goal) added to team's offense.
Old Lyme did have to take the air out of the ball with over five minutes left. Morgan's Riley Musial scored all of her team-high five goals in the second half to help her team cut its deficit to 16-14 with five minutes, 13 seconds left.
The Wildcats still took their shots when they had them, however.
"I want them to always keep working and always keep working and always keep pushing themselves," Macione said. "If you practice slowing down, then you do that in a game."
Buckley also credited new assistant Megan Grills for helping an inexperience defense. Grills played defense at Springfield.
"I go home a lot and think, 'Wow, I'm pretty lucky to have this job,'" Macione said. "I'm very fortunate to have this group as my first group to work with because they're making my job pretty easy and a smooth transition."