Old Saybrook Girls’ Lacrosse Wins Conference Crown
For the first time since 2015, the Old Saybrook girls’ lacrosse team has captured the Shoreline Conference championship. Head Coach Dick Shriver said that this year’s edition of the Rams made tremendous improvements both individually and as a team and that the savvy of their seniors helped them take home the league crown.
Old Saybrook made history by earning a 14-12 win versus North Branford in the Shoreline Conference title game on May 26. Now competing in the Class S State Tournament, the Rams defeated Haddam-Killingworth and North Branford to reach the semifinal round. Old Saybrook has an overall record of 19-1 and has won 12 games in a row.
The Rams’ matchup against North Branford in the Shoreline final marked the third time that two rivals faced each other this season and was also a rematch of last year’s title game that was won by the Thunderbirds. With both teams having ample information on each other, Coach Shriver felt that the psychological side of the game would prove a huge factor in the outcome.
“We take it a game at a time. All of the girls have improved in terms of individual skills and team skills and in terms of confidence and poise,” Shriver said.
“This was a game between the two best teams in the league,” Shriver continued. “The one who can keep their mind on the game will likely be the winner. It’s more psychological than it is physical and technical.”
Top-seeded Old Saybrook took on No. 3 seed North Branford in the Shoreline Conference Tournament final at the Indian River Complex. After North Branford scored first, both teams battled back and forth until the score was tied 10-10 with 8 minutes to go in the game. The Rams scored three-straight goals to take a 13-10 lead and went on to win the contest by a 14-12 score to stake their claim to the conference crown.
“They played extremely well as a team. There was great leadership at the captain level. It was a big differentiator,” said Coach Shriver. “At that point of the season, you know your opponents very well. They know you very well. You have to do the things that work. The team adapted very well to the opposition. I didn’t see any of them get flustered. They made very few mistakes.”
Freshman Gretchen Kawecki scored 4 goals and had 3 assists for Old Saybrook versus North Branford. Senior Chelsea Heinke scored 4 goals, while senior captain Lily Cody and sophomore Amelia Sigersmith netted 2 goals apiece. Junior Maddie Beaudoin and freshmen Ayla D’Anna both scored 1 goal. Senior captain goalie Sam Wakelee made 22 saves in net.
Coach Shriver felt that his team’s victory displayed the overall strength of Old Saybrook athletics. Shriver noted that the Rams have a longstanding tradition of success and that, with the girls’ lacrosse team, the parents play a big part. Throughout the year, guided by the tutelage of the captains, Shriver saw the Rams come together as a group and show everyone how just how strong Old Saybrook is.
“It’s a reflection of the sports culture at Old Saybrook. It starts at the top, and it’s a very good sports culture,” Shriver said. “The parents play a big role in lacrosse at Old Saybrook. The team congealed as a team under the three captains. What it means is that Old Saybrook can produce 12 players who can get on the field, play a great game individually and as a team.”
Cody, Wakelee, and Grace Adams are serving the Rams’ senior captains this year. Coach Shriver said that a special season like this one would never have been possible without the leadership of the captains and the willingness of everyone on the team to follow their lead.
“They have been the key to the success. Lily Cody is an extraordinary individual and a great leader. So are Sam and Grace,” said Shriver. “The leadership on this team—at practice at games, on and off the field—has been extraordinary. It was a big factor on the team this year. The girls responded to their leadership. Everything worked. It’s the only way you can have a season like this.”
On the heels of claiming the Shoreline title, Old Saybrook entered the Class S State Tournament as the No. 2 seed and notched a 17-7 home victory versus No. 18 seed Haddam- Killingworth in the first round on May 31. Then on June 3, the Rams went up a familiar foe in 7th-seeded North Branford and defeated the T-Birds for the fourth time this year with a 15-13 quarterfinal triumph at Old Saybrook High School.
Cody scored 6 goals in the win against H-K, and Kawecki also had a big game with 5 goals and 2 assists. Heinke, Beaudoin, senior Sophia Gormley, and junior Juliette Condulis each had 1 goal, while D’Anna and Adams both contributed 1 assist. Wakelee made 16 saves in goal.
Facing North Branford, Cody had 4 goals, and Heinke scored 3 goals. Beaudoin posted 2 goals with 1 assist in what Coach Shriver called her “best game of the season.” Adams scored 1 goal and had 1 assist, while D’Anna dished out 1 assist. Wakelee came up with 20 saves.
Old Saybrook is playing No. 14 seed Lauralton Hall in the Class S semifinals on Tuesday, June 7 at 5 p.m. at Jonathan Law High School. If the Rams win, they will face the winner of top-seeded Weston and No. 4 New Fairfield for the title at Sacred Heart University on Saturday, June 11.
Coach Shriver said that everyone on the Old Saybrook girls’ lacrosse team improved in numerous ways throughout the 2022 season. Shriver credits a 13-11 defeat against Valley Regional on April 26 as a turning point for the team. Shriver felt that loss humbled the Rams and taught them how to battle through adversity. While it may have been a blemish on paper, Coach Shriver views that game as a launching pad for Old Saybrook’s success this spring.
“The first loss to Valley was crucial. It was a humbling moment and showed us we can lose. The individual play improved steadily, the team play improved steadily. The leadership brought the team together,” said Shriver. “Being 19-1 is the best possible record. Being 20-0 would not be as good to me. That one game we lost leveled the overall temperament of the team. They played as a more steady, consistent team the rest of the season.”
The Old Saybrook girls’ lacrosse team’s roster includes senior captains Lily Cody, Sam Wakelee, and Grace Adams; seniors Lorea Aramendi, Sophia Gormley, Lilly Sigersmith, Alexa Coty, Emerson Cook, Chelsea Heinke, and Caroline Ringer; juniors Magdalena Ashe, Juliette Condulis, Maddie Beaudoin, and Weston Richards; sophomore Amelia Sigersmith; and freshmen Gretchen Kawecki, Sydney Webb, Ayla D’Anna, Brooke Webb, Grace Desmond, Cali Morelli, Lila Cadley, and Shea Zundel.