Bears' Roberts perfects the silent treatment
Waterford — Megan Roberts stood next to Sloane Sweitzer at midfield, trying to be as intimidating as possible, while her Stonington High School girls' lacrosse teammates went on the offensive in the Class S semifinal on Tuesday.
Roberts didn't say a word.
"I stay dead silent," Roberts said. "I think it's more intimidating not to talk to her."
As Stonington's designated defensive stopper, Roberts has played her share of lethal scorers this season. She faced her biggest challenge Tuesday, marking the bigger and stronger Sweitzer, Old Lyme's talented sophomore who began the day with 111 goals (6.2 per game).
Roberts accomplished her goal, making Sweitzer work extremely hard for her four goals in No. 2 Stonington's dramatic 12-11 win at Waterford High School.
"My main goal was to make sure she didn't get as many goals as she does normally," Roberts said. "A lot of time it's to get underneath her skin. I feel kind of bad about it afterwards. But, in the game, the adrenalin is pumping."
Stonington coach Jeff Medeiros' game plan focused on containing Sweitzer and Allie Buckley, a play-making senior.
Roberts, one of eight seniors, shadowed Sweitzer, while freshman Lauren Turner blanketed Buckley. The strategy worked. Buckley finished with just one goal and an assist.
"I changed our strategy around to try to take those girls out of the game," Medeiros said. "That was the key to this game was to try to hold them to minimal goals. We were realistic; we didn't think we'd shut them out.
"But if we could cut in half what they normally score or less, then we were doing our job. It seems like that was the case."
Medeiros encourages his defenders to do whatever it takes to be a pest. The more annoying, the better.
Roberts has embraced that role since her sophomore year. She shut out one of Immaculate's top scorers in a 9-8 victory in the quarterfinals on Thursday.
"I enjoy doing it," Roberts said. "I think it's not necessarily fun but it's exciting when you know it's the best girl on the other team and you're stopping her. There's no stats for it, but I know I'm helping the team."
In the semifinals, Roberts was rarely more than a foot way from Sweitzer. Even in the face of defensive pressure, Sweitzer made an impact, slipping free to score with 1:27 left to temporarily give the third-seeded Wildcats (15-4) an 11-10 lead.
Roberts won the overall battle, though.
"Because she doesn't care what people think," said Medeiros when asked why Roberts was so effective. "It's hard to just stare at a girl for 50 minutes and get in her head. When the ball is away from you and you're both just standing there and a girl is a foot away from you looking at your eyes, it can affect you. I think it did."
"... Megan has done this for a couple years now. This has been her job in big games. This is what she does. She'll continue to do that."
Stonington (20-1) will be making its first state championship appearance on Saturday, facing No. 4 Granby.
"I'm so excited," Roberts said. "We've never made it this far."
Chances are Roberts will be giving Granby's top scorer the silent treatment.
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