WALLINGFORD — Even in a losing effort, the Sheehan girls lacrosse team made history Tuesday night playing and hosting the program’s first state semifinal game.
The No. 8 Titans fell to the No. 12 Weston Trojans by a score of 8-6, but head coach Charissa Zbikowski knows her team left it all on John J. Riccitelli Field in the Class S clash.
“Just proud of them for the effort they put in,” Zbikowski said. “They fought to the end. I couldn’t have really asked for anything more, except for maybe a different outcome.”
Before the game, the Titans were adamant that if everyone stuck to the script and did their jobs, they should be in a position to win. Through the first 25 minutes of play, it seemed everyone was doing just that.
“They all did their job very well,” Zbikowski said. “We had some unlucky calls, but I think overall everyone did what they had to do.”
While first-year player Grace Keenan racked up save after save in net — and later received the game ball — the Titans’ top goal-scorers were doing what they do best.
One of them, Allie Ottochain, pushed the first score across at the 15:25 mark out of a dead-ball play. Three minutes later, Weston’s Taylor Werner scored the first of her three goals when she bounced a shot by Keenan to tie the game.
It took Sheehan all of 29 seconds to respond. Jayna MacKenzie, Sheehan’s other top scorer, took a pass from Mallory Crispens and fired on net to reclaim the lead.
While the rain that delayed the start of the game by an hour continued to fall and the ball slipped out of Sheehan sticks — “We don’t typically do that,” Zbikowski said — Ottochain was able to grasp it long enough to score her second and put Sheehan up a pair, 3-1. Crispens assisted on the play.
Though Weston snuck one in with 10 ticks left in the half, Sheehan was up 3-2 and confident at the intermission.
“25 more minutes; that’s all we have to do and then we’re in a state championship,” Zbikowski told her team at halftime.
But the Trojans had other plans. Weston took the lead five minutes into the second half ona pair of scores from Werner.
Amelia Mansfield tried to bring the momentum to the Titans’ bench when she dashed by a defender, lowered her stick angle, and caromed one home off the left post to tie the game at 4-4.
Sheehan, however, would never regain the lead.
“They gave it everything they had,” Zbikowski said.
Weston scored four more times, including two goals from Carina Giordano. The second of the senior’s scores was the proverbial “nail in the coffin” as it gave the Trojans a 7-4 advantage. Although the Titans would go on to score twice more, they never eclipsed seven scores.
Even in defeat, Zbikowski believes her squad was the better team Tuesday night. She has some work to do to make sure her Titans, who are losing six seniors, are in this spot again next year.
For now, she’ll take a 12-6 season and a spot in the Mark T. Sheehan High School record book.
“We definitely had our ups and downs, but overall we made history at Sheehan, so we’re pretty excited about that.”