Stonington avenges 2018 loss to East Catholic and reaches girls' lacrosse semis
Stonington — They remembered, all of them did, the pain of 364 days earlier. This was the team that ended last season for Stonington High School, many miles away on a pasture of a grass field in Manchester.
And so the No. 3 Bears walked on to their turfed lawn with redemptive thoughts in Thursday's Class M quarterfinals, hopeful they could repay No. 11 East Catholic for the events of May 31, 2018.
Turns out Ringo was right when he said it don't come easy. But with goalie Bella McCarthy delivering two memorable saves in the final minute, the Bears hung on for a 12-11 win and a trip to the Final Four of the Class M girls' lacrosse tournament.
Stonington (17-3) will play No. 2 Canton in Monday's semifinals at a site and time to be determined.
"We remembered last year, and we came here today with some personal matters on the line," senior Emma Sabbadini said.
"This was redemption for sure," Stonington coach Jeff Medeiros said.
It was just that the Bears, seemingly cruising with a 10-5 lead midway through the second half, had to hang on by an eyelash at the end. Sabbadini scored with 1:43 remaining to give her team a 12-10 lead and then watched McCarthy make two saves with East Catholic at the doorstep.
"Bella was insane," Sabbadini said.
Stonington led 7-5 at halftime and proceeded to play 10 textbook minutes to begin the second half, taking a 10-5 lead. Hannah Lamb scored two of her team-high six goals in that span, reaching 88 on the season. She is two shy of the breaking single-season and career goal-scoring records.
They needed every one of them, too.
"The first part of the second half was great," Medeiros said. "Possession, ball control and scoring on top of it. And we needed it. We knew East Catholic was good."
The Eagles scored four times within a four-minute span to make it 10-9. Cami Pasqualoni, daughter of former UConn football coach Paul Pasqualoni, led her team with five goals, including one with 14.5 seconds left to make it 12-11.
"These games are fun to play in," Sabbadini said. "It was a similar situation to last year. But this time, we executed better and I thought kept our composure."
Kate Johnson also scored three times for Stonington.
"(McCarthy) came up very big for us at the end," Medeiros said. "But I have to be honest: I was praying for time to run out there at the end."