Newington High School girls’ lacrosse team is playing with purpose, passion, and playfulness.
The approach is working wonders as the team has won four straight games entering the week, including an 18-10 win over Rocky Hill at McVicar Field on Tuesday, May 2.
In the road win over the Terriers, eight Nor’easters scored and the balanced attack offered up 10 goals in the first half to take an early lead before coasting to victory.
Junior Hailey Gaydos led the offensive attack with five goals. Kailey Krusewsky added three goals –– all coming in the second half –– while Morgan Hellman, Valerie Eogoroff, and Andrea Manocchio each scored twice.
It was the third straight offensive explosion for Newington, who tied a season-high in goals after tallying 19 and 16 goals, respectively, in the previous two games –– wins over Middletown and Hamden.
“[The players] have really bought into working together. It’s our mentality as a whole,” said assistant coach Ali Houldcroft, who was filling in for head coach Jaime Hale. “Our defense and teamwork really gets us to where we want to be.”
Hellman is one of four seniors on a team that features a mixture of veteran voices and youthful exuberance.
“We were excited to get our turn as seniors and we just love hanging out with everyone,” Hellman said of the team’s chemistry. “We cheer for each other on the field and give that support.”
Gaydos, Hellman, Giuliana Stolfi, and goalie Kaleigh Tsakiris are captaining the team.
Houldcroft praised her captains for their leadership, adding that Tsakiris has done a phenomenal job protecting the net.
“Kaleigh keeps our defense well rounded and they talk about what we can fix and get better at on the field,” said Houldcroft. “[The captains] do a good job at lifting each other up.”
Trailing 10-5 at the half, Rocky Hill scored two of the first three goals of the second half to narrow the margin. Johanna Brown scored two minutes in the half and then set up Emma O’Connell a minute later, narrowing the deficit to four.
O’Connell, who is captaining the team with Julianna Violette and Sarah Whelen, led the Terriers with three goals. Sophomore Nicole Polites added a pair of scores.
Krusewsky, who started on defense, scored three late goals — two assisted by Manocchio — to seal the game for the road team.
Hellman, who has been one of the program’s primary attackers since entering high school, knows the importance of mentoring the next generation.
“Being on varsity as a freshman helped me see what I should do and how I should help people,” said Hellman, who added that the team needs to keep communicating and having fun on the field in order to keep winning.
“[Having fun] helps the team morale,” added Hellman. “We want to have fun, win or lose. If we play our best, we are happy.”
Newington closed the week with a 14-7 win over Cromwell, ending the week with a record of 5-3.
The Nor’easters have one more regular season home game remaining as they take on Northwest Catholic on Monday, May 16 and Windsor on Tuesday, May 17. Both games are scheduled for Clem Lemire Turf Field in Newington at 3:30 p.m.
Hellman said the key in the second half of the season will be for the team to keep their composure and keep communicating on the field.
Houldcroft, who played lacrosse at NHS and is now in her third year as an assistant with the program, added that the team will lean on their chemistry and transition game.
Following the loss, Rocky Hill rebounded with an 11-10 overtime victory over Northwest Catholic. Polities tied the game with a goal to send it into overtime before O’Connell ended the game in the extra session with a powerful blast.
The Terriers have a crucial game coming up when they travel to South Windsor this Friday, May 13 for a conference tilt at 4:00 p.m.
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin