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    Sunday, July 21, 2024

    Neither drizzle nor thunder can stop top-seeded East Lyme from reaching Class M semifinals

    East Lyme’s Dani Bruno (11) attempts to run past Farmington’s Grace Ortiz (4 ) during Friday night’s Class M girls’ lacrosse quarterfinal game at East Lyme High School. Bruno scored seven goals as top-seeded Vikings won 13-9. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
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    East Lyme’s Riddi Venkatesh (14) takes a shot that is stopped by Farmington goalie Lindsay Hillemeir (00) during Friday nighit’s Class M girls’ lacrosse quarerfinal at East Lyme High School. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
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    East Lyme’s Kaitlyn DiLoreto, left, Abigail Belleville (17) and Alanna Benoit, right, put the squeeze on Farmington’s Lile Chekas (2) during Friday night’s Class M girls’ lacrosse tournament quarterfinal at East Lyme High School. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
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    East Lyme — By the time the game ended, the sun reappeared over Dick North Field, rather symbolic of the way the home folks were feeling.

    But it certainly wasn’t easy, this 13-9 win over No. 9 Farmington in the Class M girls’ lacrosse quarterfinals, the game that gets top-seeded East Lyme into the semifinals next Wednesday against No. 4 Pomperaug at a site and time to be determined.

    The Vikings endured a 30-minute thunder delay — game officials stopped the game amid drizzle and thunder — and a physical game whose soundtrack was the constant tweet of whistles.

    East Lyme (19-1), the Eastern Connecticut Conference champion, led 5-2 with a little more than eight minutes left in the first half when the thunder sent things asunder.

    “We hadn’t really experienced that before and didn’t know what to do,” East Lyme coach Phil Schneider said. “It was more of an annoyance. But we were ready to go once we got back on the field.”

    East Lyme ‘s 8-3 lead early in the second half felt seemingly comfortable until Farmington scored two quick goals to make it 8-5.

    Time out, Schneider.

    “It was more to try to break the momentum,” Schneider said. “We talked about valuing the ball more on offense.”

    No worries. Dani Bruno scored two of her game-high seven goals 54 seconds apart to give the Vikings a 10-5 lead. Quite a night for Bruno, who played her last high school game on her home field.

    “I’ve played my whole life,” Bruno said. “I stepped on this field as a sophomore. … I love this team. We’re a family.”

    Schneider: “Dani didn’t get on the field as a freshman because of COVID. She scored 56 goals as a sophomore. She’s become one of the best attacks in the state.”

    Lilly Poletto and Abby Belleville had two goals apiece for the Vikings, while Meaghan Nagle and Izzy Pazzaglia scored a goal apiece. Goalie Giana Franco made 10 saves.

    “We’re definitely focused,” Bruno said. “We want to win the state championship. That’s the goal. We’re chipping away at it.”

    m.dimauro@theday.com

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