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Stonington, East Lyme cruise into ECC girls' lacrosse title match

Montville — Stonington coach Jeff Medeiros was looking for game film on Killingly, Tuesday's opponent in the semifinals of the Eastern Connecticut Conference girls' lacrosse tournament, with the Bears not meeting Killingly during the regular season.

He couldn't find much.

"The only film they had was from the NFHS network and I couldn't see much," Medeiros said. "They were tiny (on the screen). So I didn't know what to expect. I had no idea who their best scorer was. I could check the ECC stats or the all-stars and I could check to see who the best scorer was but that's all."

Stonington, the No. 3 seed in the tournament, knocked off second-seeded Killingly 15-6 in the first game of a semifinal doubleheader at Montville, getting five goals from Ivy Goodman. And that leads the Bears to an all too familiar opponent. Stonington will meet top-seeded East Lyme in the championship game at 5 p.m. Thursday after East Lyme topped No. 4 Fitch 18-7 in the second semifinal of the night.

East Lyme, the defending ECC tournament champion, defeated Stonington twice during the regular season, 13-9 on May 2 and 15-5 on May 19.

Dani Bruno had four goals for East Lyme (13-4) in the victory over Fitch and Meghan Nagle, Kaci Pierce and Sydney Sager had three goals each. Greta Schwartz had a goal and five assists. The Vikings held a slim 3-2 lead after a goal by Fitch's Nora Casey, but they scored nine straight goals to make it 11-2 at halftime and then 12-2 on a goal by Bruno just 42 seconds into the second half.

East Lyme beat Fitch (10-8) in two close matchups earlier in the season, 17-15 and 16-11, but grabbed the momentum early in this one.

"Fitch is good. They played a tough schedule," East Lyme coach Phil Schneider said. "They have good lacrosse players. They'll be good for years. Our girls have been playing better and that's what we're trying to do, play our best at the end of the season. ... I always say it's a game of runs. We got on some runs tonight and we prevented them from going on some runs."

Of playing Stonington in the championship game, Schneider said: "They're in the finals for a reason. We've got to play well against them. It's always been a tough game. They're good with their sticks, they're good defensively. It can't be a game where we decide not to show up."

"Going into this game, we knew Fitch was going to give it their all," said Bruno, a junior attack who scored her 100th career goal recently. "It all comes down to the draw. We like to keep possession and just steal the lead. We don't like to take chances."

In the opening game of the night, ECC Division III regular-season champion Killingly struck first against Division II champ Stonington (14-4), getting a free position shot from Makala Dube and also leading 2-1 on a goal by Emily Lamparelli. But Goodman scored to even things for Stonington and that was the first of seven straight goals for the Bears. Gabby Dimock gave Stonington the lead for good on a free position, Emma Logel scored on an assist from Katherine Glenn behind the goal, Shay Burnside scored from Lauren Goebel and Dimock drove to the goal herself and scored to make it 6-2.

Charlotte Cornell made it 7-2 and Goodman tacked on a goal for an 8-2 lead, with the Bears going on to lead 9-4 at halftime.

Logel finished with three goals for Stonington, Dimock two goals and an assist and Burnside with two goals. Dimock, a sophomore, controlled 12 of 17 draws, an assignment she took on about halfway through her freshman season.

"We all came out here very focused on what we wanted," Dimock said, asked if there was a chance the Bears could have overlooked Killingly in their haste to reach the championship game. "We all wanted to win. It was a team effort. On the draw, my teammates were helping me out a lot. In the circle, everybody was getting the ball. Defense was working hard. Offense was also working hard."

Stonington won its first-round game Monday against Bacon Academy 10-8, but Dimock said fatigue wasn't a factor.

"Everybody comes here with the energy we need."

East Lyme defeated Fitch for the 2021 ECC title 21-8, getting five goals from Bruno.

v.fulkerson@theday.com 

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