Bacon Academy junior Maddox Burton charges towards the goal in the second half as the Bobcats rallied to defeat Waterford 9-8 on May 12.
Skylar Gustavsen scored a go-ahead goal with 10 second left as Bacon Academy girls’ lacrosse erased a second half deficit to defeat Waterford 9-8 on May 12 at Bacon Academy High School.
Not only did Gustavsen’s game-winner earn the Bobcats their ninth win of the season, but it also etched her name in the record books as the program’s all-time scoring leader with 194 points.
Gustavsen, who scored a team-high four goals in the win, said she had no idea that she was that close to setting a new mark.
“I don’t even have any words,” Gustavsen said of the record. “I have to give credit to my coach. He has played me since my freshman year. He put trust in me when I was a 4’11” girl with no muscles.”
What makes Gustavsen’s achievement even more impressive is that she lost her entire sophomore season because of the COVID-19 cancellation in the spring of 2020.
Bacon Academy head coach Chris Faulkner praised Gustavsen and his two other senior captains—Sarah Newton and Sammi Ciaglo—for their leadership and tireless effort.
“They’ve been starters since freshman year and you can see the way they all work well together out there,” said Faulkner. “Our offense can score in bunches and I had no doubt they would do something good at the end.”
Gustavsen and the Bobcats offense ended the back-and-forth game, yet it was the defense that set the stage with a spectacular performance in the first half, limiting the visiting Lancers to a mere two goals over the first 25 minutes.
Senior goalie Jessica Schuth protected the net and was aided by Ciaglo, who is captaining the backend, with a supporting cast of Payton Guntulis, Sophia Rose, and Grace Saldana.
Bacon jumped out to a quick lead, scoring a pair of goals less than six minutes into the action on goals from Maddox Burton and Gustavsen.
Waterford countered with goals from Marin Mahoney and Victoria Sturm to even the score before Bacon Academy ended the half with an offensive onslaught, scoring three goals in the final four minutes.
Newton hammered home a goal with 3:41 to play in the half before Gustavsen struck gold 20 seconds later.
Gustavsen then set up Maddox, who hauled in the pass in front of the goal and fired in a shot while falling to the ground with only two second remaining in the half, providing the Bobcats a 5-2 lead at the break.
Under a blazing sun, Waterford’s offense heated up and scored the first three goals of the second half and eventually took an 8-7 lead on a goal from Kayla Kelly with 11 minutes left.
That’s when Gustavsen did what she does best — score.
With 6:24 left in regulation, she rebounded her own miss and delivered a strike into the back of the net to tie the game.
Then with time dwindling down, Bacon regained possession with 2:47 to play and called a time out.
Faulkner told his team to drain the clock and attack with 20 seconds left, assuring either a win or overtime.
Once the clock reached 20 seconds, it was up to the players to decide.
“I let them freeform it,” said Faulkner, who is in his ninth season on the sidelines. “I just try to let them do their own stuff. They are in the flow of the game and I try not to dictate too much. They are all experienced out there.”
Despite the pressure of the situation and the sweltering heat, Gustavsen and her offensive mates were calm, cool, and collected in the final moments.
Maddox controlled the ball behind the net and eventually found a cutting Gustavsen, who whipped a shot into the back of the net in the waning seconds.
“We wanted to score, but you know you can’t be selfish because if you try and miss it they will have a chance to go right back at you. You have to trust your teammates,” said Gustavsen, who added the team can communicate on the offensive end with just eye contact thanks to years of competing together.
Both Gustavsen and Newton reached the 100-goal milestone earlier this spring. The two have been playing both lacrosse and soccer together dating back to grade school and, along with Ciaglo, have the entire field covered with leadership and experience.
Gustavsen is the team’s primary attacker, Newton handles the face-offs and midfield duties, and Ciaglo powers the defense.
“We have so much chemistry together,” added Gustavsen. “When we put it together and are all on our A-game, no one can beat us at that point.”
Even when facing the second half deficit, Faulkner’s experienced lineup allowed him to breathe easy.
“It’s about how we respond in those situations,” Faulkner said of the deficit. “We kept our heads up and we took the time out to give our defense the break. Everything started to work out after that.”
On Tuesday, the Bobcats improved their record to 10-5 with a resounding 19-6 win over Norwich Free Academy. Gustavsen added nine more points (six goals, three assists), increasing her program record to 203 points overall. Newton added six goals, while Burton (four goals), Saldana (two goals), and Anna Legault (one goal) rounded out the scoring.
Bacon Academy senior Skylar Gustavsen scored the game-winning goal with 10 second left as the Bobcats beat Waterford on May 12. Gustavsen’s last-second goal also made her the program’s all-time leader point scorer with 194 points.
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin