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    Tuesday, February 27, 2024

    East Lyme girls complete another ECC championship run

    Waterford — As East Lyme celebrated another Eastern Connecticut Conference girls’ lacrosse title on Thursday night, Izzy Pazzaglia hugged fellow senior Gigi Franco.

    Led by their talented senior class, the top-seeded Vikings put on an impressive performance.

    Pazzaglia scored a team-high five goals and Franco, who made 12 saves in goal, earned the James J. Courtney Award for most outstanding player in a 16-5 win over second-seeded Stonington in the tournament championship game at Waterford High School.

    Franco, who praised her defense, made several timely saves to prevent Stonington from closing the gap. She earned the outstanding player award for the second straight year.

    “It means the world to me,” Franco said. “It’s so incredible.”

    It was a total team effort.

    Top-seeded East Lyme (17-1) played smothering defense and five different players lit up the scoreboard. Senior Dani Bruno contributed four goals while seniors Meg Nagle and Abbie Belleville had two apiece and junior Lillian Poletto added one.

    The senior class is determined to keep playing for as long as they can.

    “We’re tight-knit,” Pazzaglia said. “We support each other on and off the field.”

    Franco added: “We’ve been playing together since fifth grade.”

    East Lyme and Stonington met just last week, with the Vikings taking a 10-4 lead at half and holding on for a 12-9 win.

    After racing ahead 10-3 at half in the ECC title game, the Vikings were determined not to let the Bears back into the game.

    They didn’t.

    Pazzaglia opened the second half with two quick goals in the first one minute, 10 seconds. And the Vikings kept the pressure on and gradually finished off the Bears.

    “We were aggressive in transition from the beginning,” East Lyme coach Phil Schneider.

    Stonington also lost in the ECC championship game last year to East Lyme.

    The Bears made too many mistakes to stay close on Thursday, according to coach Jeff Medeiros.

    “We were sloppy,” Medeiros said. “We had a good opening and it got away from us. East Lyme is a great team.”

    Stonington scored first on sophomore Shay Burnside’s goal. And the score was deadlocked at 2-2 after sophomore Emma Logel scored the first of her two goals.

    But East Lyme’s lethal attack produced five straight goals and the Vikings were never threatened after that.

    Franco allowed only two goals in the second half, the final one coming in the closing seconds.

    “Gigi stepped up big, and she has all year,” Schneider said.

    g.keefe@theday.com

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