Stonington's still perfect, but far from content

Stonington - Jeff Medeiros just wants to make sure his players are ready for whatever opponents await them.

"I keep telling them, 'We haven't won anything yet. We've got better games to go. We've got tougher games to go,'" said Medeiros, the Stonington High school girls' lacrosse coach.

"... So many teams go undefeated and win nothing. I don't want to be that guy. I want to be the (undefeated) Miami Dolphins, 1972."

On senior night Tuesday at Palmer Field, the Bears pressed on in their quest with a 20-0 victory over St. Bernard, with all eight seniors on the roster breaking into the scoring column.

Let the record show the Bears won something, too, capturing the Eastern Connecticut Small Division title for the second season in a row. Stonington, which has one regular-season game remaining Thursday at Ledyard, is 15-0 overall, 9-0 in the Small Division.

The Bears, thwarted by St. Bernard in their first attempt to win last year's division title, assured there would be no repeat of that in the opening minutes Tuesday. Stonington scored eight times in the opening 6 minutes, 25 seconds and stretched that to 16-0 at halftime. St. Bernard didn't manage a shot attempt in the game.

Heaven Datino led Stonington with five goals, followed by fellow seniors Emily Cassata and Elizabeth Morrison with three each and Val Muller with two. Other seniors scoring were Celeste Courtney, Megan Roberts, Jamie Hayes and Emily Grey.

The Bears, meanwhile, were able to work on their transition game.

With St. Bernard coach Jon Zielinski shouting to his players to "beat the ball down the field," Stonington made that difficult with a series of long yet precise passes, two in particular by Margot Calmar in the opening minutes and one soon after by Roberts.

"In practice we've been doing a lot of passing up field," Cassata said. "The ball moves faster than people move.

"All of the seniors have been playing together since middle school; we have really good team chemistry that really helps us this year. With senior night, plus the fact we've had such a good season, that gives us that motivation."

With many of the players on the lacrosse team having played for the state championship field hockey team, too, the Bears are proud to note they haven't lost on Stonington's new turf field since it opened in the fall.

The next game they play there, if they should get that far, will be tougher, however. The ECC championship games for boys' and girls' lacrosse are scheduled to be played in Stonington next week.

"I can't say where we're at," Medeiros said. "I feel like we're really good. ... We worked on that this week, practicing their transitions and fast breaks. Again, this is all going forward. We need to stay focused."

The first task is to beat Ledyard on Thursday. Medeiros recalls the last time the Bears played under the lights on the football field at Ledyard, losing a 5-0 lead and falling 12-11 in overtime in the 2012 ECC semifinals.

"I saw Bill (Glenn, Ledyard coach) and I said, 'What are you going to do for senior night, put it under the lights on the football field?'" Medeiros said with a smile. "And he did. We're not looking past the Ledyard game by any means."

Danielle Keefe came on to play goal in the second half and made six saves for St. Bernard (7-7-1, 3-6), allowing four goals.

v.fulkerson@theday.com

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