Greenwich Academy

Greenwich Academy lacrosse team opens its season with a pair of wins against formidable foes in Virginia

Photo courtesy of Sarah Burdick: Mimi Novak of Greenwich Academy, right, makes a move toward the goal, while being defended during a game against Georgetown Visitation this past weekend in Alexandria, Virginia. Greenwich Academy was victorious in the game.

Greenwich Academy’s Varsity A lacrosse team began its 2023 season with a road trip to Alexandria, Virginia and it returned home with two hard-fought, impressive wins to its ledger.

Competing at the Spring Fling tournament at St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes School in Alexandria, Va., this past Saturday, Greenwich Academy went 2-0, earning victories against Loyola Academy and Georgetown Visitation.

GA edged Loyola Academy, 14-13, in overtime, then topped Georgetown Visitation, 11-8, capping a highly successful tournament. Greenwich Academy co-head coach Halley Quillinan Griggs noted that Loyola Academy was ranked No. 2 in the Midwest Region in the USA Lacrosse rankings. Currently, Greenwich Academy is ranked No. 21 in Nike/USA Lacrosse National High School Rankings. Georgetown Visitation, one of GA’s opponents at the Spring Fling tournament is ranked No. 22.

The first game of the Spring Fling tourney had the Gators playing Loyola Academy. With the score tied at 13-13 in overtime, GA senior goalie/captain Rebecca Arpano made a point-blank save and thanks to strong defensive play, the Gators were able to regain possession.

Photo courtesy of Sarah Burdick: Greenwich Academy defender Ellie Johnson looks to move the ball vs. Georgetown Visitation during a game at the Spring Fling tournament this past weekend in Virginia.

After a successful clear attempt, senior midfielder/captain Ellie Burdick scored the game-winning goal. Mimi Novak, a senior attack, powered GA offensively against Loyola Academy, scoring four goals with two assists. Sophomore midfielder Claire Maruszewski made quite a varsity debut for Greenwich Academy, recording a hat trick against Loyola Academy.

Sophomore attack Katie Barr recorded three goals and one assist, while Burdick posted two goals and two assists and junior attack Dylan Casazza tallied one goal and two assists in the winning effort. Junior midfielder Molly Moore added a goal for the victors.

Loyola Academy held a 7-3 lead in the first half, but the Gators began their comeback.

“Over the course of the second half we slowly inched our way back into the game, largely due to the play of our seniors and veteran players,” Griggs said. “Kate Haffenreffer (senior defender) changed the game when she started taking the draws for our team.”

Photo by Sarah Burdick: Ellie Burdick controls the ball for Greenwich Academy at a tourney in Virginia.

Griggs noted that Ellie Burdick collected a game-high 11 draws and alongside her, senior captain Ellie Johnson did an excellent job anchoring the squad’s defense. Haffenreffer had five draw controls, two ground balls and caused one turnover.

“Loyola Academy is one of the most athletic, well-rounded teams I’ve seen in the high school ranks,” Griggs said. “I think their depth is one of their greatest assets and, because of it, you can’t really key in on any 1-2 players individually. So, I’m really proud of our girls and how they played as a unit defensively. To have veterans like Rebecca Arpano and Ellie Johnson helping first-year starters Brooke Bertrand, Lila Cabot and Ruby Montanez integrate in our system has been really special to see. 

Offensively, to have so many contributors – and to have half of our goals be assisted – I think just speaks to the unselfish nature of this team,” Griggs continued. Mimi Novak stepped up huge for us and her shot percentage is something that she should be proud of. She shot 100 percent from the field this weekend.”

Photo by Sarah Burdick: Greenwich Academy’s Kate Haffenreffer, left, sprints down the field with the ball in her possession.

In GA’s 11-8 triumph against Georgetown Visitation, Burdick recorded a hat trick with one assist, while Novak had two goals and one assist. Barr tallied twice, while Casazza, Moore, junior midfielder Amelia Lewis and Maruszewski each had one goal for the Gators (2-0).

Greenwich Academy entered halftime trailing 7-4, yet again stormed back to earn the triumph.

“In the second half, Kate Haffenreffer (three draw controls) started to find more success on the draw and Ellie Johnson’s (four draw controls) ability to battle for loose balls was game-changing for us in order to gain possession and get to work offensively,” Griggs said.

Photo courtesy of Sarah Burdick: Greenwich Academy’s Dylan Casazza helped pace the team’s offense.

“To hold one of the nation’s top programs to just one goal in the entire second half was extraordinary,” Griggs said. “Brooke Bertrand (2 ground balls, two caused turnovers, one draw control) turned in one of her best performances of the season back there and Lila Cabot was key for us in our transition game, especially.”

Up next for Greenwich Academy is its home-opener against Westminster School on April 10.

Photo by Sarah Burdick: Captain Rebecca Arpano turned in two strong games in goal for Greenwich Academy at a tournament in Virginia last weekend.

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