WEST HARTFORD – With the Farmington High girls lacrosse team a recent graduate from the CCC South to the CCC North, Hall coach Steve Boyle witnessed a marked improvement in his next-door neighbor’s program.
Both team came into their clash with identical records, both overall and within the conference’s premier division.
The Indians’ slick scoring combination of sidewinding playmaker Maureen Gallo and aggressive finisher Abby Arena fell a notch behind early. They kept the heat on but never recovered against Hall’s offensive onslaught.
Alannah Boyle scored five first-half goals and the defense never allowed Farmington to slip within three as Hall posted a 14-11 victory Tuesday afternoon at Robert Chalmers Stadium.
“We did some really beautiful things in the first half in transition, which I think showed that we had a lot of different weapons,” Hall coach Steve Boyle said. “That was a lot of fun, but was it a little closer than I would have liked? Yes, but it was a result I pretty much expected.”
Alannah Boyle scored the game’s first goal two minutes into the game and Farmington (10-3, 3-2 CCC North) promptly tied it on a pass from Maureen Gallo (goal, 5 assists) to Lauren Batton. But the Warriors (11-2, 4-1) scored five of the next six goals over a span of 10 minutes to gain firm control of the match. The only Farmington goal during the stretch was a free-position shot by Arena (5 goals).
The key to Hall’s surge was that Megan Tracy dominated the draws and kept the ball out of Farmington’s offensive zone.
“We call Megan ‘Sparky’ because she’s our little sparkplug,” Coach Boyle said. “She likes to do the draw. You don’t normally have one of your shorter players doing the draw, but she’s so feisty and competitive that when she wins it, she’s in transition right away and it takes some of the pressure off the other kids.”
Farmington coach Jeff Manaresi felt his girls had to control the draws in order to be successful.
“We had to have the ball,” he said. “I told them at halftime, good things would happen and if they had the ball, bad things would happen. It was going to be a matter of who had the majority of the possession [time].”
The Indians twice closed the gap to two in the first half, but never truly threatened to take command. They improved their defensive play in the second half, totally neutralizing Boyle, but Hall’s offensive diversity proved too much for the visitors to overcome.
Farmington, playing its first season against the CCC heavyweights and holding its own, trailed 10-5 at the half but quickly sliced the deficit to three as Batton assisted on goals for Arena and Audrey Gallo.
But by the time the midway point of the half rolled around, Hall restored its lead to 12-7. Rachel Aronow curled in on goalie Jadin James from behind the net, then Emily Kenny secured the rebound of a shot by Boyle and scored.
The Indians again closed the margin to three when Maureen Gallo found Megan Brockleman with 4:04 left, but Hall responded emphatically when Hayley Mullins (3 goals, 3 assists) set up Tracy with under three minutes remaining.
The Warriors put the ball on ice for much of the time left, thanks in large part to a steal by defender Mackenzie Molodetz as Arena bore down on goal with a minute to go.
“We did pretty much what we wanted to do on offensively but they’re a tough team and they have some really good offensive players,” Manaresi said. “When they had it, they could beat us.”
Manaresi exuded confidence at halftime despite the five-goal shortfall.
“We’ve played hard all year,” he said. “I know the group I’ve got this year will never quit. We’re always in it. We’ve come back from goals down other games so as long as they keep at it, which I know they’re going to do, we’re in every game.”
Hall’s amplified defensive pressure forced turnovers that contributed to the early lead. The turnovers stopped in the second half and control of the draw evened out. Hall’s All-CCC goalie Maddy Hooper (8 saves) had her usual impact on the outcome.
Farmington previously played in the CCC South with most of the programs newer to lacrosse, but was bumped up this season to make room for the first-year Bristol co-op team.
Glastonbury holds a slight edge over the Warriors for first place as the North’s only unbeaten team. The Tomahawks turned back Hall, 9-7, on April 25 in Glastonbury.
Hall 14, Farmington 11
(May 14, Chalmers Stadium)
Farmington 5 6 – 11
Hall 10 4 – 14
First Half – 1. Hall, Alannah Boyle (Emily Kenny) 1:02; 2. Farmington, Lauren Batton (Maureen Gallo) 2:21; 3. Hall, Hayley Mullins (Rachel Aronow) 2:41; 4. Hall, Aronow (Mullins) 3:15; 5. Farmington, Abby Arena 5:22; 6. Hall, Boyle 5:45; 7. Hall, Hannah Cho (Shelby Saunders) 6:01; 8. Hall, Lauren Romano (Aronow) 7:25; 9. Farmington, Linna Jalinskas 12:34; 10. Farmington, Arena (M. Gallo) 19:08; 11. Hall, Boyle 19:50; 12. Farmington, Arena (M. Gallo) 20:29; 13. Hall, Mullins 22:01; 14. Hall, Boyle (Mullins) 22:33; 15. Hall, Boyle 23:28.
Second Half – 16. Farmington, Arena (Batton) 26:54; 17. Farmington, Audrey Gallo (Batton) 33:28; 18. Hall, Aronow 36:16; 19. Hall, Kenny 40:15; 20. Farmington, M. Gallo 41:06; 21. Hall, Mullins 44:37; 22. Farmington, Arena (M.Gallo) 45:28; 23. Megan Brockleman (M. Gallo) 45:56; 24. Hall, Megan Tracy (Mullins) 47:03; 25. Farmington, Jalinskas 48:44.
Saves – Farmington, Jadin James 6; Hall, Maddy Hooper 8. Shots – Hall, 24-21.
Records – Farmington 10-3 (3-2 CCC North); Hall 11-2 (4-1).