New Canaan claims two championships to headline FCIAC girls lacrosse season

The New Canaan and Darien high school girls’ lacrosse teams advanced to the finals of conference and state tournaments for the third consecutive year, and this year it was New Canaan which avenged two defeats from last year and dethroned Darien in both tournaments.

Coach Kristin Woods’ top-seeded Rams first won the 2024 FCIAC Girls Lacrosse Tournament with a 7-2 victory over third-seeded Darien at Brien McMahon High School’s Jack Casagrande Field on May 22.

Seventeen days later the Rams clinched their double crown year with a 10-5 victory over Darien in the state championship game in the CIAC Class LL Tournament on June 8 at Sacred Heart University.

It was such the special and memorable year for New Canaan’s 21-1-1 Rams that they were the obvious and unanimous choice for the No. 1 ranking in the 2024 Final CT Girls Lacrosse Coaches Poll and they earned their status as one of the best teams in the country by being ranked No. 5 in the final USA Lacrosse Magazine national poll.

Junior attack Maddie Tully had two goals and two assists while senior midfielder Devon Russell scored two goals, had seven draw controls, and was named the championship game MVP as they helped lead New Canaan to that 7-2 victory and its third FCIAC championship in the last four years. Sydney Patten had a goal and a pair of assists, Emma Row netted two goals, and junior goalie Ceci Patterson had seven saves for the Rams. Senior attack Kelly Holmes scored both goals for Darien.

New Canaan nipped Darien, 14-13, two years ago in the 2022 CIAC Class LL final, last year Darien won the state Class LL championship by that identical 14-13 final score to finish with a perfect 22-0 season, and then coach Lisa Lindley’s Darien Blue Wave was selected No. 1 in both the final state and national polls.

This year Darien was seeded No. 1 in the Class LL state tournament and won twice to advance to the final after drawing a bye into the quarterfinal round. New Canaan was seeded No. 2 and won three games leading up to that 10-5 victory over Darien in the state championship game.

Lexie Tully had two goals and an assist, Maddie Tully, Russell, and Row each scored two goals and Patterson had eight saves to lead the champion Rams, who broke the game open with six unanswered goals after Darien scored twice within a span of 10 seconds to cut its deficit to 3-2 late in the first quarter. Sophomore midfielder Anna Von Kennell scored three goals and senior goalie Hope Schoudel stopped seven shots for Darien.

The two rivals from the bordering towns played to a 5-5 tie during the regular season.

So strong was FCIAC girls lacrosse this year that all four of the semifinal teams and seven of the eight quarterfinal teams in the state Class LL tournament, and the top five teams in the 2024 Final CT Girls Lacrosse Coaches Poll were conference teams.

Darien nipped fifth-seeded Greenwich, 7-6, and New Canaan defeated No. 3 Wilton, 13-8, in the Class LL tourney semifinals. In the quarterfinals: New Canaan beat No. 7 Conard, 15-4; Darien advanced to the semifinals with a 20-1 victory over No. 9 Fairfield Ludlowe; Greenwich defeated No. 4 Ridgefield, 10-8; and Wilton beat No. 6 Staples, 17-3.

New Canaan (21-1-1) received all 13 first-place votes for that No. 1 ranking and was followed by Darien (16-5-1), No. 3 Wilton (16-4), Greenwich (13-8), No. 5 Ridgefield (13-6), Class L state champion Masuk (20-3), Class M state champ New Fairfield (20-3), No. 8 Staples (11-8), Class M runner-up Weston (16-6), and No. 10 Conard (17-3).

The strength of the FCIAC was also substantiated by the first- and second-team selections on the 2024 GameTimeCT All-State Girls Lacrosse Team as there were 16 FCIAC players among the 24 chosen to either the all-state first team or all-state second team.

Russell was named Player of the Year as she led the group of 10 FCIAC players selected to the 12-player GameTimeCT All-State First Team. Russell, who collected 51 goals, 14 assists, 59 draw controls and 23 ground balls this past season, made the all-state first team for the second straight year after making all-state second team as a sophomore and she has been on the All-FCIAC Tier 1 First Team three times.

Russell was joined on this year’s all-state first team by her New Canaan teammates Patterson (131 saves in goal) and senior midfielder Lexie Tully (57 goals, 17 assists and 32 draw controls); senior defender Maggie Bellissimo, Schoudel (89 saves), and senior midfielder Sadie Stafford (38 goals, 14 assists and 72 draw controls) of Darien; senior defender Josie Goldman and senior attack Addie Pattillo (95 goals and 33 assists this season) of Wilton; Greenwich’s senior midfielder Emma Abbazia (79 goals, 39 assists and 103 draw controls); and Ridgefield’s senior midfielder Caroline Trinkaus (55 goals, 20 assists and 42 draw controls).

Those 10 players on the all-state first team – New Canaan’s Russell, Patterson, and Lexie Tully; Darien’s Bellissimo, Schoudel and Stafford; Wilton’s Goldman and Pattillo; Greenwich’s Abbazia and Ridgefield’s Trinkaus – were all also selected to the 2024 All-FCIAC Girls Lacrosse Tier 1 First Team.

The six FCIAC players chosen to the GameTimeCT All-State Second Team were senior defender Izzy Appelt and junior attack Maddie Tully of New Canaan; Holmes and Von Kennel of Darien; Wilton’s senior midfielder Ashleigh Masterson and Ridgefield’s junior attack Grace Winkler. Maddie Tully, Holmes, Von Kennel, Masterson, and Winkler also made the All-FCIAC Tier 1 First Team.

The seven other players selected to the 22-player All-FCIAC Tier I First Team included Reagan Quinn, Addie Crowley, Patten, and Row of New Canaan; Annabel Adams and Brinley Vrooman of Darien; and Wilton’s Morgan Breakey.

Leave a Comment