By John Goralski
The Lady Knight lacrosse team had the longest wait for opening day. For three weeks, they ran drills while teams kicked off the spring season. For the last seven days, they couldn’t even scare up a scrimmage.
On Monday, April 8, the Lady Knights finally got a chance to compete in the spring, and it was like unleashing a pack of hungry wolves.
“Not seeing another colored jersey on the field for almost two weeks, I really didn’t know what to expect,” said Southington coach Amy Clark. “In my five years here, I’ve never seen anything like this. I’m not sure when it clicked, but we’re all playing as a team.”
Carolynn Keal tore into the defense with four goals in the first two minutes and collected nine of her 10 scores by halftime. Alexa Luponio assisted two early goals before biting into Windsor with a pair of second half scores.
Alexa Mitchell, Alyssa Gemmell, and Ashley Mafale joined the feast with Southington scores. Mitchell (2), Mafale, and Jess Lee carved out assists.
The Knights found the net eight times before Windsor scored their second goal. Southington rolled to a 10-3 lead at the break. When officials finally signaled the end of the carnage, the Lady Knights had rallied for a 15-7 win.
The momentum carried into the next contest when even more Knights joined the fray in the home opener against Berlin. Keal still managed five goals with an assist, but Mafale almost matched her with four scores. Lee added three goals with an assist. Gemmell and Luponio both managed two goals and an assist.
Meagan Asklar scored. Helen Dinnan scored. Laurel Dean and Faith Ritchie both collected assists, and Southington rolled to an 18-7 win over Berlin. Clark said that she liked what she saw in both games.
“There were assists everywhere. There were goals. It’s not just one person in charge of all the scoring. There are a lot of assisted goals, and a lot of fast break goals,” she said. “Everything is coming together. We’re working as a team, and it shows.”
In fact, the Knights dominated both sides of the field. Allie Abercherli and Sue Marcoux combined for 14 saves to get the first win but only needed to make five saves to get the second win. That’s because the defense and midfield raised the bar against Berlin.
“We’ve been working hard on both ends of the field,” said Clark. “The defense’s slides have been great. Our midfielders are coming back and defending or slowing it down in the midfield to help our defense set up. The girls are working hard, and it shows.”
Clark said that she expects the team to get even better as they try to build momentum toward the postseason. This is only the beginning.
Southington has just one game during the April vacation, and that means even more time in practice. Clark said that her team will be even more hungry, and that’s bad news for opponents.
“Every day I raise the bar for these guys, and every day they seem to raise their play,” said the coach. “We’re working hard, and we’ve had some good practices. When it comes to game time, we’re going to be ready to go.”
To comment on this story or to contact sports writer John Goralski, email him at jgoralski@ southingtonobserver.com.