Greenwich High School’s field hockey team journey toward the state final came to a heartbreaking end on Saturday.
The eighth-seeded Cardinals gave top-seeded New Canaan all it could handle in the quarterfinal-round of the CIAC Class L Tournament, taking the Rams to double overtime.
With the Rams and Cardinals deadlocked in a tense, scoreless tie, New Canaan’s Shawna Ferraro finally tallied the game’s only goal.
Her goal off an assist from Molly Mitchell gave New Canaan (20-1-0-0) a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Greenwich. The Rams play fifth-seeded Glastonbury at Pomperaug High School in the Class L state semifinals on Tuesday at 6 p.m.
Greenwich, which produced an impressive 13-6-0-1 record this fall, concluded its season with an outstanding performance. The Cardinals rose to the occasion throughout the season, posting a number of key wins, while playing well in matchups they were edged in.
“It was a phenomenal game that went down to double overtime,” Greenwich coach Megan Wax said. “It was intense and fast. Everyone on both teams played with their hearts on the line. It was the best field hockey game I saw all year and I’m honored we were part of it.”
On the game winning goal, a cross ball was sent into the left side of the circle. Mitchell controlled the ball and sent a pass to Ferraro, who was positioned at the left post. Ferraro tapped the ball into the cage, as Greenwich goalie Kelly Janssen made sliding effort to disrupt the play and New Canaan celebrated its victory.
Both teams had their moments and scoring chances throughout.
“We felt we could play with them and could beat them,” Wax said. “The girls worked hard all week and showcased it. “The entire game it would go in three, four minute segments where we were on defense, then we we would get it on their end. We had really great looks, some great breakaways. We missed the goal by an inch wide on one of them The girls are heartbroken – it is a tough pill to swallow coming so close.”
Janssen concluded her impressive sophomore season in goal for the Cards with a brilliant 21-save effort against New Canaan. The Rams drew 12 penalty corners, three of which came during overtime.
“Kelly Janseen was lights out in goal,” Wax said. “She is so young, but she can play with so much expertise and wisdom. She kept us alive on some of the possessions. She made so many saves that weren’t right in front of the goal. Kelly stepped up and made great saves throughout the game. Our defense in general was outstanding. We had a lot of defensive corners.”
Wax credited senior Isa Lattuada for helping the team stay organized on defense and for her leadership on the field.
“Isa organizes the whole field and really did a great job,” Wax said.
Greenwich’s coach also noted that senior Zita Cohen, senior Justine Liguori, junior Klara Meuffelmann and senior Isa Biagini were key in generating breakaways and scoring opportunities for the Cardinals.
During overtime, Greenwich played a man-down, after receiving a five-minute card, so they Rams had a one-player advantage.
“We talked about leaving it all on the field and we feel we did,” Wax said. “It was an awesome season, we had great chemistry and everyone was open to learning. I am so excited for next season, a lot of our team is young. I’m so proud of our seniors and the great legacy they are leaving behind.”