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    Friday, June 21, 2024

    Lancers relying on their passing game to remain unbeaten in girls’ lacrosse

    Waterford’s Victoria Sturm (17) moves past Bacon Academy’s Isha Kansagara (27) during a girls’ lacrosse game on Monday at the school in Colchester. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)
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    Waterford’s Payton Smith (8) celebrates a goal with teammates during a girls’ lacrosse game against Bacon Academy on Monday at the school in Colchester. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)
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    Waterford’s Clara Mahoney (25) blocks a shot on goal from Bacon Academy during a girls’ lacrosse game on Monday at the school in Colchester. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)
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    Waterford’s Brianna McNeil (23) moves past Bacon Academy’s Brooke Burchfield (13) during a girls’ lacrosse game on Monday at the school in Colchester. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)
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    Colchester — Taylor Shannon knew she was taking over a Waterford girls’ lacrosse team this season with an accomplished group of athletes, many of whom she’s known since they were students at Clark Lane Middle School, where she teaches.

    She had an immediate suggestion: Pass more.

    “I didn’t know what to expect coming in,” said Shannon, previously the head coach at Norwich Free Academy. “I knew that I had athletes. I knew that I had girls who were going to be very talented.

    “For somebody new to step in and be like, ‘We can all throw and catch. We need to trust each other. Why not give it to anybody cutting through the 8 (yard-line) if they’re open? Why not? We can do it.’”

    So far, the Lancers are unbeaten at 6-0 overall, 4-0 in Eastern Connecticut Conference Division II, already with wins over division rivals Ledyard (9-8 in overtime) and Stonington (10-6).

    In Monday’s 13-1 division win against Bacon Academy/East Hampton, Waterford had six different goal scorers, led by Sadie Tiven with three goals and Adyson Wiseman, Quinn Brigham and Victoria Sturm each with two goals and one assist. Katie Jamroga also had two goals. Six different players were credited with assists.

    “Last season I think we were kind of a bunch of individual players. This year, I feel like our team has melded into one big team and, like, we’re all working together,” said Sturm, a junior. “We have so many assists on our goals. Last year, there were a lot of goals flat out, no assists.

    “We also have a ton of people that are scoring. It’s not just the same two people. Overall, our whole team is working together really nicely.”

    Shannon is a 2010 Waterford grad who went on to play lacrosse at Eastern Connecticut State University. She’s coached lacrosse at Norwich Free Academy and also coached the NFA girls’ soccer team to the ECC Division I tournament championship this past fall, a sore topic with Sturm, the Waterford goalie, who was on the losing end in the league title game.

    Shannon calls coming back to coach at Waterford a “full circle” moment, something that she’s always kind of hoped for.

    “I think she’s a really good coach and she makes all the right decisions for the team and it’s really helping us become a stronger team,” Tiven said.

    The Lancers, still a relatively young team with just three seniors in Madison LaForte, Payton Smith and Emerson Bunnell, have several more challenges ahead of them this season, beginning with a matchup against Hand on Thursday.

    Waterford will go another round with its league opponents and also has dates with ECC Division I giants NFA (May 7) and East Lyme (May 9). The Lancers were 12-8 last season with a berth in the ECC Division I and Class M state tournaments.

    “If we want to keep this up, we have to keep our heads up and we have to just keep our team together,” Sturm said.

    “Of course everyone wants to score and everyone wants to get the points, but we have to just keep our team together, know that a goal is a goal for our team not just for us. It feels really good getting the assist. It feels really good when you’re watching your teammates getting these assists.”

    Waterford scored seven goals in the second quarter Monday, two each by Brigham and Tiven, to lead 9-0 at halftime. Sturm, also in charge of draw controls for the Lancers, scored a goal assisted by Skyla Campisi to beat the third-quarter buzzer to make it 12-0.

    Lanie McIlduff scored the lone goal for Bacon (0-4, 0-3) in the fourth quarter.

    v.fulkerson@theday.com

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