RIDGEFIELD — The members of the Wilton girls lacrosse team have carried the memories of their first loss ever to Ridgefield for nearly a year.
But with today’s rematch tied at 8-8 in the closing minutes, revenge took a back set to instinct for Wilton senior Rebecca Wistreich. Like her teammates, Wistreich was more concerned with winning a game, not a particular opponent.
Wistreich struck twice just over 3 1/2 minutes apart late in the second half — her only goals of the day — and Wilton was able to withstand a threat and then kill the clock on a taut 10-9 victory.
“As time was running out I knew that we needed some goals and I guess I picked the right time, Wistreich said. “I definitely think after losing last year we wanted to come out really strong. We were pumped up for the game. We knew we had to come in and play our hardest and we did, and it paid off in the end.”
Ellie Armstrong scored four goals to lead Wilton, which improved to 3-1.
“We were obviously disappointed with the outcome last year,” Wilton coach Meredith Meyran said. “We knew that we were better than what we had showed early in the season. We definitely looked forward to getting a rematch because we didn’t see them again last season. We are just happy to walk away with a win today.”
After the Warriors struck in the opening minute, Ridgefield answered with four straight goals — two each by Caroline Curnal and Kaitlyn McMullan — for what turned out to be the biggest lead by either team in a closely contested game of momentum swings.
Wilton ended up with the final one.
Meyran said poise was a key factor as the Warriors dealt with not capitalizing on chances in the second half.
“The girls get frustrated because they’re not getting results on these empty possessions,” Meyran said. “I think they really responded and stuck with the gameplan. We showed a lot of maturity and leadership was evident on the field. We have a great core group of seniors but we still have a pretty young team.”
A big source of the Warriors’ frustration was Ridgefield goaltender Lexi Held, who was sensational. She finished with 13 saves.
“She kept us in it today in the second half,” Ridgefield coach Cece Berger said. “She was definitely the key reason it was a one-goal game.”
McMullan finished with 4 goals and Curnal added 3.
After Wilton went ahead 10-8, the Tigers’ Lucie Picard made a nice steal and came all the way in, but had her shot stopped by Paige Brown (8 saves). Ridgefield maintained possession and McMullan scored with 1:56 left. The Tigers were never able to attempt a game-tying shot.
“We were in the lead a couple of times early on and we kind of got away from what was working, so we need to get back to the drawing board and figure out how to not let those get away,” Berger said. “We made some mistakes when we had possessions that I thought could have gone up 9-7. We have a young team so we are working on some of that. The momentum was there for us to go up two.”
Curnal’s goal with 13:29 left put Ridgefield up 8-7. The score stayed that way for over five minutes, before Margaret Smith tied the game for Wilton.
Then Wistreich finished off the back end of a three-goal run.
“The first one we called a play and it was a great call by my coach,” Wistreich said. “I was able to roll around the crease and get in there. The second one we were getting a little nervous, we were all spread out and I just came in and I ended up getting a free position.
“The whole time we knew we had to stay confident and play our game, stay intense and it would fall our way, and we’re really excited that it did.”