Stonington falls to New Fairfield in Class S girls’ lacrosse semis

Jun. 9—NEW FAIRFIELD — Tuesday went as follows for the Stonington High School girls’ lacrosse team: they left school at 12:45 p.m. bound for New Fairfield to play a 4 p.m. CIAC Class S semifinal game.

The Bears arrived just in time for a thunderstorm and proceeded to spend the next two-plus hours chilling in New Fairfield’s (thankfully air-conditioned) library.

“We just hung out there and waited and kept counting the time down (before we could play) until we heard the next thunder strike,” Stonington senior co-captain Rachel Sabbadini said with a smile. “It was good team-bonding before our final game.”

Bears head coach Jeff Medeiros wouldn’t have believed before the season that his inexperienced team would play for a state title berth (or wait around in an unfamiliar building 108 miles from home). It gave him perspective after the three-time defending state champion Rebels scored early and often and raced away with a 15-2 win at Marty Morgan Field.

“It was past our expectations,” Medeiros said. “I had nineteen new girls out of 29 (players). … I couldn’t have seen it happening.

“There was a lot of great growth with this team. They came together as we progressed through the season. They continued to get better. They started to gel as a team. We played our best lacrosse at the end of the year.”

Junior Katherine Glenn and Sabbadini both scored for the 10th-seeded Bears, who finish 11-6.

“We got to this game,” Medeiros said. “We knew we were playing with house money. We knew that. We had nothing to lose. Both of these last two games were two-hour rides (Stonington won at No. 2 Ellington on Saturday, 8-6).”

The third-seeded Rebels beat Stonington in the 2019 Class S final, 18-5. The CIAC canceled last year’s spring season due to the pandemic.

“We would’ve liked to have gotten revenge against this team, but they’re just so good,” Medeiros said.

Junior Ava Romanello had three goals and five assists for New Fairfield (16-3) and classmate Colleen Rattigan scored four times with an assist.

The Rebels will play a fellow South-West Conference team, No. 12 Weston, in Saturday’s final at Bunnell. The Trojans beat No. 8 Sheehan in their semifinal, 8-6.

New Fairfield beat Weston in their only regular-season meeting, 16-11, on May 5.

The SWC accounts for three of the six state finalists as league champion Barlow edged East Lyme in its semifinal, 12-11.

“They live and breathe lacrosse up here,” Medeiros said about the Rebels.” I have some very talented girls and they have all-talented girls. It’s tough to play when you have a handful of talent versus a team full of talent. It outweighs us but, hey, all we can do is compete. They’re a great team and they deserve to be here.”

Romanello and Rattigan both scored 53 seconds into the game to give New Fairfield a 2-0 lead.

Glenn scored at 2:19 for the Bears.

New Fairfield responded by scoring 10 straight.

Sabbadini scored with 14:27 remaining in the game to end the Rebels’ run.

“I think we did a great job this year,” she said. “We worked really hard in our practices.”

Medeiros said, “I’m just proud of my girls. They played hard. Had a great season.”

n.griffen@theday.com

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