FAIRFIELD -- Coming off the most program wins (11) in a decade, the Fairfield Ludlowe girls' lacrosse team was looking to continue that momentum with a solid run in the Class L tournament.

Greenwich, however, had other ideas.

The 10th-seeded Cardinals made the most of their offensive opportunities and held the No. 7 Falcons in check defensively to capture a 12-8 victory in the first round of the CIAC tournament on a cold and blustery afternoon at Taft Field.

"We had a great run, but, unfortunately, it was a little too late," Ludlowe coach Heather Lewsey said. "We just weren't able to put enough balls in the back of the net. We just fell short today."

Greenwich (10-4) was led by Anne Dunster, who scored four goals and added an assist. Katie Hartford scored three goals while Madeline Graves and Paige Maunter each scored two. The Cardinals will face second-seeded Conard, an 18-1 winner over New Milford, in the Class L quarterfinals.

"We've been really harping on possession and our attack captains really took charge today," Cardinals coach Caitlin Young said. "That was good to see. For the most part, I'm happy with how we executed our game plan."

Just over a week ago, Greenwich and Ludlowe battled in the quarterfinals of the FCIAC tournament with the Cardinals taking an offensive 20-11 victory. Looking to avoid another back-and-forth affair, Greenwich played a solid possession game -- sometimes holding the ball for as long as five minutes -- before gearing up into scoring mode.

"Ludlowe's a great team, well coached and they have some great players, really fast players that can take over the game and dictate the tempo," Young said. "We needed to put our stamp on it (the game) in terms of possession."

Dunster (twice), Maunter (twice), Graves and Hartford scored as Greenwich opened a 6-2 lead -- Paige Wikman netting both Falcons goals -- but Miranda Rosenfeld scored late to pull Ludlowe within 6-3 at halftime and give the home team some momentum.

"We kept it close for the majority of the first half and we felt like we had good momentum," Lewsey said. "But we came out slower in the second half than we wanted to."

Goals from Maggie O'Gorman and Dunster early in the second half opened Greenwich's lead to 8-3 and put the Cardinals in control.

"We spoke at halftime about coming out hard in the first five minutes and kind of making a statement because that's something that we haven't too consistent with this season," Young said. "It usually propels us into having a successful game and it was something that we've really focused and worked on."

It worked. After Regan Steed scored for Ludlowe to make it 8-4, Hartford netted two more and Dunster scored to make it 11-4 with just 6:45 left to play.

A final Ludlowe flourish -- goals from Emily Demaso, Rosenfeld, Steed and Mary Edmonds in a 3:24 span -- proved to be too little, too late.

"We were making some mistakes and turning the ball over and our attack wasn't producing the way it had been producing this season," Lewsey said. "Usually, we generate a lot of points on offense. But the best thing about this team is they're fighters and they never give up."

celsberry@ctpost.com

GREENWICH 6 6--12

LUDLOWE 3 5--8

Records: Greenwich (10-4), Ludlowe (11-6)

Scoring: Greenwich -- Anne Dunster (4g, 1a), Paige Maunter (2g, 2a), Katie Hartford (3g), Madeline Graves (2g), Maggie O'Gorman (1g). Ludlowe -- Paige Wikman (2g), Regan Steed (2g), Mary Edmonds (1g, 1a), Miranda Rosenfeld (2g, 1a), Emily Demaso (1g)

Goalkeepers: Greenwich -- Kylie Ginsberg (10 saves), Ludlowe -- Grace Flink (10 saves)

Shots on goal: Greenwich -- 31, Ludlowe -- 30