Greenwich High

Greenwich lacrosse team pulls away from visiting Westhill, improves record to 3-0

Photo by David Fierro: Cece Tauber registered four goals and four assists to help pace Greenwich High School’s girls lacrosse team to a victory against Westhill at Cardinal Stadium on April 19, 2022.

Relentless on both ends of the field, Greenwich High School’s girls lacrosse team made sure it got back into the win column today against Westhill, after experiencing its first loss of its season in its previous game against Staples.

The high-scoring trio of Emma Abbazia, Noey Johnson and Cece Tauber provided the majority of the points, while MK Savio, Kaitlin Kelly, Sophie Roth and Keira Young anchored the defense for Greenwich in its third convincing win in as many games at Cardinal Stadium so far this season.

Abbazia, a sophomore, continued her scoring surge, totaling a game-high six goals, Johnson had another big offensive game, tallying five times and Tauber, a junior, recorded four goals and four assists in Greenwich’s 18-4 victory over visiting Westhill.

The Cardinals, who were coming off a 10-6 loss to Staples, raised their record to 3-1 with the triumph and are 3-0 at home.

Greenwich gathers during a timeout during its game against Westhill at Cardinal Stadium on April 19, 2022.

“We definitely picked it up,” Tauber said of the Cardinals’ overall performance. “After losing to Staples we came out hungry. Something that we worked on in practice is how consistent our offense was. I think that we definitely picked it up as opposed to Staples and our prior games.”

Sophia Neitzell, a sophomore midfielder, tallied two goals and one assist, while Grace O’Connor added one goal for the Cards, who entered halftime with a comfortable 10-3 halftime lead. A much-improved Westhill squad went into the game with a record of 3-0. The Vikings hung tough for most of the first half, before Greenwich pulled away, capitalizing on its possession advantage, impressive passing and ball movement and ability to cause several turnovers and scoop up ground balls. Greenwich’s defensive play was also strong in front of junior goalie Daryl Furno.

“They’re a very athletic team as we are too,” Kelly said. “But we pressured out on defense and took away their athleticism and just pressured on them and we worked together as a team to stop them from pushing through us.”

Photo by David Fierro: Grace O’Connor looks to move the ball up the field for Greenwich in its game against Westhill.

Johnson, a senior, midfielder opened the game’s scoring, then Abbazia followed with a goal, giving GHS a 2-0 edge. Senior midfielder Audra Hansen cut Greenwich’s lead to 2-1 with a goal at the 17:48 mark of the first half. On the ensuing draw, Abbazia took the ball right down the field and scored, making it 3-1 18 seconds later.

Johnson converted a free position shot and Tauber finished a shot off a feed from Johnson bringing the score to 4-1 with 13:53 to go in the opening half. Hansen tallied in transition, bringing the Vikings to within 4-2, but the Cards went on a 5-0 run to break the game open, at 9-2. The elusive Johnson scored twice during the spurt, with Abbazia and Tauber each added goals. Greenwich exhibited solid passing throughout.

“That’s been one of our issues – looking for two girls,” Tauber said. “Obviously, we have a lot of talent and we’re just incredibly deep with our offensive end and middies. I think today we showed we are not just two girls.”

Greenwich’s Emma Abbazia looks to pass the ball against Westhill at Cardinal Stadium on April 19, 2022.

In the second half, Greenwich continued to play with intensity on both ends of the field.

“I liked the composure we showed,” GHS coach Tara Clough said. “A lot of our players stepped up and we did a good job of gaining possession off the draw.”

Johnson posted five draw controls, sophomore midfielder Cate Adorney had four draw controls and Abbazia had three for the Cardinals (3-1).

Greenwich’s Mary Kate Frey, right, forces a turnover against Westhill at Cardinal Stadium.

The home team limited the Vikings to just one second half goal.

“We really wanted to come out strong coming off of our loss and I think we did, we had a lot of contributors,” Sophie Roth said. “We really had to adapt they had one really strong driver, so we had to double and cut off adjacents and make sure our slides were there.”

The Cardinals’ defensive unit has shown good chemistry over the first four matchups.

“We’ve played with each other for a while so we are definitely really close and we know each other’s strengths,” Roth noted.

Greenwich junior Sophie Roth helped pace Greenwich’s defensive effort against Westhill.
Greenwich junior Kaitlin Kelly helped anchor the team’s defensive play.

Said Kelly: “I think we have the best defense in the FCIAC. I think all of us work so well out there, we’re like a brick wall. We are definitely very strong defensively.

Westhill goalie Erin Casey turned in a stellar effort, making 21 saves, while facing shots from all angles and direction. Up next for Greenwich is a game against Brien McMahon on Thursday in Norwalk.

Noey Johnson (No. 3) sets up a play for Greenwich in its game against visiting Westhill.

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