Lancers turn up the defense for key win over Colonels in ECC Division II girls' lacrosse

May 4—WATERFORD — Everything Ledyard tried to do Saturday, Waterford got in the way, a defensive prominence Waterford coach Taylor Shannon had seen glimpses of this season but was now coming to fruition.

"Just the ball, when we can turn it over, the attack gets more of those opportunities," Waterford midfielder Adyson Wiseman said, crediting the Lancers' defense in the key Eastern Connecticut Conference Division II matchup.

"We work well for each other, so if 'D' plays well, attack plays well. If we don't play well, we don't play well as a team. I just think seeing how fast the defense changed and worked to win the ball back for attack, the attack wanted to do something for the team, too."

Waterford, which trailed 3-1 with about four and a half minutes remaining in the first quarter, unloaded eight straight goals stretching into the third quarter in a 16-6 victory over Ledyard. That left the Lancers undefeated at 7-0 in Division II, 10-1 overall.

Victoria Sturm had six goals and one assist for Waterford and Wiseman had four goals and one assist. Katie Jamroga finished with three goals, Quinn Brigham two goals and two assists and Madison LaForte three assists in a balanced offensive attack. Clara Mahoney made two saves in goal.

Tatianna Irizarry and Maddie McLeod had two goals each for Ledyard (7-3, 4-3), which blitzed its way into the game having scored 16 or more goals in seven straight games and with McLeod just having surpassed 250 career goals.

That's where Waterford sophomore defender Audrey Steward came in. Steward, the Lancers' rock, drew the assignment of limiting McLeod.

"We just try to work together as a unit and be tough," Steward said of the ability to shut down a potent Colonels' attack. "The first few minutes was a little bit iffy, but then we picked it up and I feel like the rest of the game we were just together and strong."

"She's strong and Maddie's stong and so that was Audrey's job," said Shannon, the first-year Waterford coach. "Audrey does really well when you give her a job. You say, 'This is what I need you to do' and she does it. ... She kind of knows she's our go-to, she's our strong defender and we want her on one of the best girls on the other team."

Down 3-1, Waterford's Sadie Tiven scored to pull the Lancers within 3-2 with 2:15 remaining in the first quarter. Brigham struck with 1:10 to play in the quarter, tying things at 3-all.

And the Lancers kept going, taking the lead for good on a goal by Brigham from LaForte and not stopping until McLeod finally broke through for the Colonels at the 3:41 mark of the third quarter, making it 9-4.

"I think we were kind of behind the ball all the time," McLeod said. "So, we're coming up the field, we need to get the ball up to attack to do something on attack, so that was our hardest issue. If we had gotten it down the field a little faster, we'd have had more success."

Waterford has won four straight since a loss to Hand on April 25, but wins this week over Stonington (12-9 Wednesday) and Montville (15-5 Friday) weren't executed as smoothly as Shannon would have liked, complete with missed opportunities on ground balls and a few clunky passes.

"We weren't doing the little things, the fundamentals that we needed to do," Shannon said. "Today was kind of like, 'OK.' We had maybe fives minutes in the first quarter that we were like, 'No. No. We need to use each other. We need to look for each other.' And we did it."

The Lancers have tests coming up this week against traditional Division I powers Norwich Free Academy (where Shannon coached last year) on Tuesday and East Lyme on Thursday.

"I think our goal this season is to win ECCs and we come out every day playing for each other and not just ourselves," Wiseman said. "And that's what makes us special."