The 2021 season saw the Greenwich Country Day School girls lacrosse team finish in a second place tie in the FAA standings with a record of 6-2 and post an overall mark of 8-2 in its inaugural year as a team.
This spring, in their second season as a varsity program, the Tigers took their success to a higher level.
A team laden with underclassmen, Greenwich Country Day earned a share of the FAA regular season championship with a record of 6-1 in the conference and earned the No. 1 seed in the FAA Tournament. Coached by Caitlin Copelan, the Tigers registered an overall record of 10-2.
Greenwich Country Day’s lacrosse roster featured only one senior, five juniors, four sophomores, seven freshmen and sixth eighth-graders – so indeed, the future is bright for the squad.
“These programs that we’re going against have some kids that are playing four or five years,” Copelan said. “This season is something they should be really proud of.”
GCDS was awarded the No. 1 seed in the FAA Tournament because it defeated Greens Farms Academy, which finished with an identical 6-1 league record, during the regular season. In Tuesday’s FAA semifinals, Greenwich Country Day hosted fourth-seeded School of the Holy Child, which proved to be a tough matchup for them.
Holy Child dealt GCDS its lone regular season loss and topped the Wildcats again, posting a convincing 17-8 win to advance to the championship game of the FAA Tournament.
The Tigers scored two of the game’s first three goals, then the Gryphons seized control, going on a 7-0 run to open a 9-2 halftime lead.
“It was definitely a tough game,” said Greenwich Country Day junior attack/midfielder Saedi Gibbs, one of the Tigers’ leading scorers. “It’s representative of our team, we had a tough start, but we still worked hard to the very last second. That’s who we all are and it shows on the field.”
Indeed, despite facing a seven-goal halftime deficit, the Tigers trimmed the visiting Gryphons’ lead to 10-6 nearly nine minutes into the second half with a 4-1 spurt, before Holy Child rebuilt its advantage. Goals by freshman attack Ella Wilner and Gibbs gave Greenwich Country Day a 2-1 lead, then Holy Child knotted the score at 2-2 with a free position goal at the 22:05 mark of the opening half.
The visitors took the lead for good with 20:29 remaining in the first half, scoring off a rebound and added on to its lead by effectively running its settled offense and converting a pair of 8-meter shots. Sydney Tyler was a tough matchup for GCDS. Tyler scored a game-high six goals to spark the victors. In the second half, the home team gained some momentum with a pair of goals from Wilner and a tally by junior midfielder Clauda Citrin. Yet Holy Child went on another run midway through the second half to pull away.
“Our youth showed a little bit,” Copelan said. “We have one senior, we have six eighth graders and they have never been here before. It’s a testament to what we have done during the regular season. Last year we tied for second and this year we tied for first. They are going to learn from it.”
Senior defender Katherine Sternberg was the only senior on the GCDS squad. She was impressed by the rapid improvement the team displayed in such a short period of time.
“Overall, it was amazing and everyone was supportive of each other,” said Sternberg, one of the Tigers’ five captains. “We tried our best and put our hard work over everything and we continued to try as hard as we could. Even if some of the games weren’t the best, we continued to put our best foot forward.”
One of the highlights of the season for Sternberg was the team’s Senior Day game against FAA foe Rye Country Day School.
“It was a great day overall with an amazing game against RCDS,” she said. “It was back and forth, very challenging and we were able to get the No. 1 seed and it was amazing. I can’t wait to see them play in the future and watch them get better and better as the years go on.”
Gibbs, who also filled the role as one of the Tigers’ captains, noticed the chemistry the team gained as the season progressed.
“It’s awesome how close we became during the season,” Gibbs said. “Our unity became so much better than last year. Everyone increased in skill level and we were definitely more of a team this year. We won the FAA this year and hopefully, we’ll go even further next year. I know everyone on the team will work hard in the offseason so we can have more success.”
Wilner also helped pace Greenwich Country Day offensively throughout the season. She started on the team as a freshman in 2021.
“I just think we really did a great job of working as a team and encouraging each other this whole season, even this game,” Wilner said. “This year, teamwork became the main theme and I learned a lot about that and I think the whole team did.”
“I am looking forward to seeing the team improve over the years,” Wilner continued. “We have gotten this far in two years and I think we can go so much further in the future. As a second year team, getting this far is a big accomplishment.”
Citrin, junior attack Brooke Andrews-Pedan and sophomore defender/midfielder Paloma Snisky also provided clutch play and leadership as captains.
“I’m proud of how this was just the second season of GCDS lacrosse and we pulled it together,” Citrin said. “We were first in the FAA and I thought it was awesome how we were all able to come together and win it as a team. Winning against Greens Farms Academy was awesome, because they were a really hard team. This season, we only lost to Holy Child.”
Junior Gabby Gianatasio provided steady play in goal for the Tigers throughout the season. In the FAA semifinals against Holy Child, freshman midfielder Ellie Watts scored a goal for GCDS.
“This is a really good group of girls,” Copelan said. “I’m super excited for them about where the program is going. We also have some kids transferring in that will be immediate contributors. It was a great season for the team. This team’s success this season gave the school its first banner.”
Categories: Greenwich Country Day School, Spring sports
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