Fall sports

Greenwich High field hockey team rolls past Newtown, 9-0 in opening round of Class L Tournament

Photo by David Fierro: From left to right: Isa Lattuada, Justine Liguori and Zita Cohen combined to help power the Greenwich High field hockey team to a dominant 9-0 win over visiting Newtown in the first round of the Class L Tournament.

Talk about starting a tournament in dominant fashion.

Eighth-seeded Greenwich began its journey in the CIAC Class L Tournament in dominant fashion, cruising to a 9-0 win over ninth-seeded Newtown Wednesday at Cardinal Stadium.

With the opening round win that saw the Cardinals score early and often, Greenwich (13-3-0-1) advanced to the Class L quarterfinals, where it will play top-seeded New Canaan.

Wednesday’s game marked Greenwich’s first since it dropped a 3-1 decision to Ridgefield in the FCIAC Tournament quarterfinals.

“Since our FCIAC game, the girls and myself were really heartbroken,” Greenwich coach Megan Wax said. “We felt that we could have made a bigger push in FCIACs and we were frustrated with how we played in that game. So we’ve had a really focused week-and-a-half of practice.”

The focus and determination surfaced Wednesday, as Greenwich scored three goals in the first quarter, took a 4-0 lead into halftime and continued its impressive play in the second half.

“The energy has been high and everyone has been going all out and we’ve been very intentional about what we’ve been working on and today they came out and they executed it perfectly with the focus and goal of getting to the finals on our mind,” Wax said. “It was fun to watch today.”

Zita Cohen, one of the Cardinals’ senior captains, recorded a hat trick with an assist to pace the team’s offense. Senior Justine Liguori scored twice and assisted on two goals and senior captain Maggie Bulis tallied twice for the Cardinals.

“What we always say is this whole season is split into three sections,” Cohen said. “It’s regular season, FCIACs and states and we get a new slate with every new section and I think that we really brought the intensity and this is how we will execute throughout states.”

Liguori opened the scoring with a goal off an assist from senior Isa Biagini 25 seconds into the first quarter. Nima Gupte, a senior, scored off a shot from Liguori, giving GHS a 2-0 lead at the 8:26 mark of the first quarter. Liguori set Biagini up for a goal, putting the Cards ahead, 3-0, with 5:10 to go in the opening quarter.

“I’m very proud of how we’ve been finishing lately,” Liguori said. “The team has been wanting to score and wanting to win and it has been very rewarding in the end and we’re ready for the next round.”

Cohen’s second-quarter tally gave Greenwich a 4-0 advantage heading into halftime. In the third quarter, Liguori scored at the 10:39 mark, then Cohen scored a pair of fourth-quarter goals, as did Bulis. Sophomore Kelly Janssen made five saves in goal for the shutout.

“I think the key was transferring the ball and utilizing both sides of the field,” said Isa Lattuada, also one of the Cards’ senior captains (Angelica Veronis is also a captain). “Sometimes we struggle with only staying on one side of the field, but this game, we really capitalized on using every single player on the field and involving everyone. We can’t wait to see how far we’re going to get.”

Said Wax: “We’ve been working on moving the ball really fast. We’ve been talking about drawing the defenders and making the better pass and getting quicker shots off. Today we were able to do that really well and a lot of the girls were hungry for it and we got a lot of different scorers in this game, which is good.”

Greenwich’s Class L Tournament quarterfinal-round game against host New Canaan is scheduled for Saturday at 12 p.m. The Rams’ lone loss of the season came against Darien in the FCIAC Tournament final. The Cardinals played the Rams tough when the teams met in the regular season, as New Canaan posted a 1-0 win.

“I believe everything in the season doesn’t matter, we are going to play New Canaan like we played today and we’re going to come out strong,” Liguori said.

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