Barlow hangs on to beat East Lyme 12-11 in Class M girls' lacrosse semis
East Lyme — Time ran out on a valiant East Lyme comeback attempt on Tuesday.
Senior Caroline Real scored with two minutes, 39 seconds left, to cut the deficit to one against fourth-seeded Barlow in the Class M girls' lacrosse semifinals.
The top-seeded Vikings never got the ball back after Real's goal, helplessly watching the Falcons (18-2) keep possession until time expired for a 12-11 victory.
It was a difficult time for East Lyme (16-1) to suffer its only loss of the season.
"Our girls competed for the whole game," coach Phil Schneider said. "They didn't quit. They worked hard as they have done all season long. This is just another special group that we have here."
Schneider called it a championship-type game.
Neither team led by more than two until Joel Barlow scored four straight goals to grab a 12-9 advantage with 5:19 remaining.
"It was a back and forth game," Schneider said. "It was a well-played game by both teams. Pretty evenly matched. We went on a little run in the first half and we couldn't maintain it. They went on a little run in the second half. We just ran out of time at the end."
Senior Nancy Alden led the Vikings with three goals and an assist while Real and junior Sydney Sager had two goals apiece and senior Ryan Nagle added a goal and two assists. Sophomores Daniella Bruno, Abbie Belleville and Kaitlyn DiLoreto each had one goal.
The Falcons, who play No. 3 Guilford in Saturday's final, consistently put pressure on the Vikings and forced turnovers.
"They had a really good transition," Real said. "They were marking us really tight. They caused some good turnovers. That was something we didn't do well."
Goalie Hadley Farragher made some big saves on close-range shots, especially in the first half. If not for her quick reactions, East Lyme would have trailed instead of being tied at 5-5 at intermission.
"Hadley has been keeping us in games all year," Schneider said. "If you look at our scores and you see how we've played, that's the first team that's scored double digits against us the whole season. And it's not because of the goalie. It's because of the whole defense and because of the whole team."
The Falcons relied heavily on senior Becca Miceli who fired in a game-high five goals, including one from a free position to give the Falcons the lead for good, 10-9, with 10:34 left. Joel Barlow had a player advantage at the time due to an East Lyme penalty.
When Allison Kopec scored with 5:19 left, the Falcons extended their lead to 12-9.
Trailing by three, the Vikings were far from finished. Alden set up DiLoreto with a Barlow player serving a penalty to narrow the gap to 12-10. Then Real found the back of the net.
But the Falcons won the faceoff and never gave up possession.
"No doubt, it was frustrating," said senior Izzy Mazzi, who'll attend Springfield next year and play lacrosse. "But they did play a great game. That's just the luck of the draw, I guess."
Despite the loss, the Vikings have a lot to celebrate. They were the best team in the Eastern Connecticut Conference and didn't suffer a loss until Tuesday.
"We went undefeated in our conference division and we won ECCs," Mazzi said. "And we got to know all these young girls. ... It was definitely a great season. I wouldn't change it for the world."
"Very special," added Real, who'll play lacrosse at Quinnipiac next year.
East Lyme, which is graduating 12 players from a program that won the state title in 2019, has a bright future, according to Schneider.
"We've (lost seniors) in the past and we always come back strong the next year," Schneider said. "We've got a talented group of younger players, too. We should be right there again next year."
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