East Lyme rides big second half to beat Masuk 9-4 in Class M girls' lacrosse semis

Cheshire — Senior Julia Bates thought she and her East Lyme girls' lacrosse teammates were too "frantic" in the first half of Monday's CIAC Class M semifinal against Masuk.

Bates wasted no time making Masuk feel antsy in the second half.

Bates scored the go-ahead goal 13 seconds into the second half as the third-seeded Vikings pulled away from the No. 10 Panthers 9-4 at the McClary Athletic Complex.

East Lyme (16-4) outscored Masuk 6-1 in the second half. Bates scored three of her game-high four goals that half, too.

"We were a lot more patient on attack," Bates said about the second half. "We had patience, worked the ball around, and didn't try to force shots, and it worked out in the end."

The Vikings will play St. Joseph (12-7) in Saturday's final at Law High School in Milford at a time to be announced. It will be East Lyme's second trip to a final — the Vikings beat Amity to win the 2006 Division II title.

The Cadets, seeded 13th out of 18 teams in the division, knocked off No. 1 Guilford 14-10 in the first semifinal. They didn't qualify for their league tournament playing in the lacrosse-rich Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference, which accounted for all four Class L semifinalists.

Masuk (12-8) scored three times in the final 4 minutes, 31 seconds of the first half to tie the game at 3.

Bates went on the attack on the second-half faceoff as she and the Vikings scored four in a row to go ahead, 7-3, with 17:43 remaining.

"Julia decided to take control of it, which she can and does," East Lyme head coach Phil Schneider said. "She had a couple of goals to start the half and that really helped us."

Senior Maeve Counter, juniors Anna Johnson and Kristin Healy, and sophomores Nancy Alden and Dylan Park also scored for the Vikings. Senior Megan Bauman and junior Natalie Joy Taylor each had an assist while senior Maya Rose was terrific in goal.

Masuk senior Jessica Pyrek-Bennett and freshman Juliana Pagano scored back-to-back goals with 1:52 left in the first half to tie the game at 3.

The Panthers didn't score again until there was 11:30 left in the game.

"They play as one," Masuk head coach Rob Troesser said about East Lyme. "Phil has got them working as well-oiled machine. They all know what the other is doing, and their defense was phenomenal. They were able to anticipate our next move, and our girls, it took them too long to figure it out.

"(The Vikings have) aggressive girls. (Phil) has a bunch of seniors there who really played their hearts out tonight. It was a good effort by them. We gave them a run in the first half, but my team is not really experienced at this level, playing this caliber of teams in the playoffs, and the nerves showed."

n.griffen@theday.com

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