East Lyme girls happy to be tested in lacrosse win over Fitch
East Lyme — Phil Schneider knows what is required of a championship program, the evidence of which came the last time there was a spring state tournament.
Schneider led East Lyme High School to the Class M title in 2019, using a primary tenet: complement the conference calendar in girls' lacrosse with a killer nonleague schedule to properly prepare for what looms and lurks in June.
Ah, but one problem here in the times of COVID-19. No out-of-league scheduling is permitted this season within the Eastern Connecticut Conference, leaving the Vikings — and everybody else — wondering what life might be like west of the river.
East Lyme entered Tuesday night's game with Fitch having cut a swath through the ECC to date, scoring roughly 140 more goals than the competition already. Its 19-9 win over Fitch wasn't necessarily as easy as the score indicated, though. Not necessarily a bad thing.
"This is the schedule we have," Schneider said. "All we can do is keep getting better and keep challenging ourselves in practice and in games. Sure, it would be nice to play some other teams. But that's not happening this year."
Ryan Nagle and Dani Bruno scored five goals apiece for the Vikings, 9-0 overall and 7-0 in Division I of the ECC. Nancy Alden scored four times, including a goal with 8.3 seconds left in the first half that gave the Vikings a 10-5 lead.
East Lyme, which defeated Fitch 18-3 earlier this season, led 5-0 and looked well on its way to another rout. Except Fitch suddenly made it 7-5.
"Fitch is a good team," Schneider said. "What we did to them the first time surprised me. They do things very well fundamentally. There's plenty of stuff we need to work on."
Rita Sefransky, Bridget O'Leary, Sophia Clang and Jessica Russo scored two goals apiece for the Falcons (8-2, 6-2). The Falcons might have made things closer had East Lyme goalie Hadley Farragher not made four of her six saves in the first half.
"Girls' lacrosse is about momentum and if they had made it 7-6, I'd have called timeout," Schneider said. "We went on a little run after that. Our offense is talented."
Sydney Sager scored three times for the Vikings, while Meredith Healy and Izzy Mazzi also scored.
"We're getting there," Schneider said. "We don't compare ourselves to past teams. We're getting closer."