Comeback clincher; Second half surge secures postseason berth

By John Goralski

Sports Writer

Coach Jill Pomposi had enough and signaled to the officials for a timeout. Fewer than 8 minutes had elapsed, but the Southington lacrosse team was already trailing Farmington, 6-1.

“I told them to just forget about the first eight minutes, and let’s just play together,” said the coach. “We’re a scrappy team. It was a shorter field, so that helped. Everybody got on board, and I really felt it. It was great.”

The Knights began to turn the tide. Farmington scored again, but Carolynn Keal answered a few seconds later with her second score of the game. Southington out-scored the Indians, 4-2, over the next 14 minutes.

Officials waved off a Lady Knight goal at the half, but Southington was back in the game, trailing 9-6.

“We turned it around one possession at a time,” said Pomposi. “We kept chipping away, chipping away at it. We only allowed two goals in the second half, and we really played together.”

Alexa Luponio sparked the comeback with four goals and an assist over an 18-minute stretch. Faith Ritchie, Jess Lee, and Laurel Dean added solo goals. Helen Dinnan and Dean scored assists.

When Keal converted her fourth goal with six minutes remaining, the Knights were able to tie the game, 12-12. With 4:19 remaining, Keal converted a free possession to score the game winner.

“Then, it was pretty much possesson play,” said the coach. “They had it on our defensive end, but we stayed strong. We actually got a yellow card in the final minutes, which happens. We kept our composure, and that was the biggest thing. We were playing a man-down, but we were able to capitalize and finish.”

It wasn’t until the dust had settled on the victory that Pomposi pointed out the significance. With the victory, the Knights (7-2) clinched a postseason berth with seven games remaining.

“It’s been a while. It was huge, and some of our girls didn’t even know that we needed that game to get in,” said Pomposi. “Now, let’s get a better seeding. That’s what we’ll be working for now, but it’s still going to be one game at a time.”

The game came on the heels of another second half surge. On Tuesday, the Knights fell behind Simsbury by seven goals in the first half but out-scored them after the break. Southington lost, but the 6-5 victory in the second half foreshadowed the win over Farmington.

“They were hungrier than us, but we played the second half very well,” Pomposi said about the Simsbury loss. “They wanted every single possession, and we gave it to them. We let them have it.”

Against the Trojans, Keal (5 goals) was the only multiple goal scorer for the Knights. Luponio, Dinnan, Ritchie, and Morgan Raymond added single goals, but Pomposi points to the more balanced attack in the second game as the biggest difference.

“I’m very proud of all of them. We’ve already overcome a lot of obstacles, but that’s what we need to do,” she said. “We can’t have just one person carry us, whether it’s a goalie, a middie, or a scorer.”

Allie Abacherli was consistent in both games, securing 20 saves in Simsbury and 15 against Farmington.

By John Goralski Morgan Raymond attacks the goal during an early season contest.

By John Goralski

Morgan Raymond attacks the goal during an early season contest.

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