Ridgefield builds early lead, beats Ludlowe

Aly Gagnon is pursued by a Ludlowe defender during Saturday's game. — Andy Hutchison photo
Aly Gagnon is pursued by a Ludlowe defender during Saturday's game. — Andy Hutchison photo

Sparked by a dominant first-half performance, the Ridgefield High girls lacrosse team defeated host Fairfield Ludlowe, 11-6, on Saturday morning.

The Tigers jumped out to a 7-1 halftime lead and scored again just 46 seconds into the second half to extend their advantage.

Ludlowe got to within 10-5 with 7:47 left, prompting a Ridgefield timeout. Order was restored and the Tigers did not let the hosts get any closer.

Ridgefield (4-5) was coming off a 14-12 road loss to Staples two days earlier. In that game, the Tigers fell behind 5-1 before closing within 7-6. Staples responded with five straight goals before another Ridgefield rally came up short.

“We needed this. They were good; they have some strong players,” said Ridgefield coach Cece Berger about Ludlowe (8-3). “The fact we rose above and had a good lead ... I was happy with [that].”

Caitlin Slaminko, who netted the first goal of the second half, and Riley Peters each scored three times for the Tigers.

Maeve Tobin had two goals and an assist, and Abby Winkler, Hannah Boylan, and Mary Hage added one goal apiece.

Bella Carrozza had two assists, and Boylan and Aly Gagnon also set up goals.

Ridgefield goaltender Lexi Held made nine saves.

In the early going, Ludlowe had chances.

“We made some really good defensive stops early on in the game. We noticed they were driving a lot and the D made some good crashes,” Berger said.

Standouts in the back for Ridgefield were Sammy Lehaney and Ellie O’Connor. Additionally, midfielders Slaminko and Faith Arnold were key in helping out defensively, Berger noted.

Boylan began taking draws partway through the game and helped Slaminko win possession off seven of them.

“She was in control,” Berger said of Boylan’s efforts.

The combination of Boylan and Slaminko kept the ball in Ridgefield’s possession throughout much of the game.

“They were working really well together,” Berger said.

After the Falcons seemed to claim some momentum and got within five goals, Berger called a timeout to go over some things.

“We were making mistakes,” Berger said. “We had the ball ... I just think we rushed the wrong shots. I let them know the clock was on their side. I let them know we don’t have to rush the shot.

“I thought, after that, they settled down,” added Berger.

A little more than a minute after the break, Ridgefield was denied on a free position shot. But Winkler scooped up the loose ball in traffic, and the Tigers chewed another two-plus minutes before a goal by Peters, off a restart, pushed the lead to 11-5 with 4:07 to play.

“We just have to take care of the ball,” said Berger. “We’ve got a good team, a young team. We’re coming together. We didn’t want the first half of the season to define us.”