When overtime ended 2.1 seconds following the final goal Friday night at Fairfield Ludlowe's Taft Field, the team reactions in an FCIAC girls lacrossse game were as expected for an 8-8 tie. One side was happy, the other not so much.
Although most ties either feel like a win or a loss -- and emotions were noticeably different at the final horn -- this one indeed was evenly contested throughout, with neither team managing to open a two-goal lead at any point. The team trailing literally was only one shot away from drawing even yet again.
Sophie Butcher's lazy shot from nearly 15 yards directly up top found the back of the net for the game-tying goal, and prevented the Falcons (0-1-1) from losing. And it took victory away from the Mustangs (1-0-1).
Warde had scored the only goal of the first three-minute overtime, and was playing keepaway for most of the second extra three minutes. But Ludlowe, in full chase mode, finally forced a turnover, regaining possession with 24.1 seconds left. Falcons' coach Heather Lewsey immediately called time out, drew up a plan, then watched her team execute her wishes to perfection to tie it up.
"We run full-field sprints at the end of practice every day, and they're 18 seconds long," Lewsey said. "We had 24 seconds, so we had time to get to the goal. We did not want to make an error going to the cage. We wanted to get the ball to the back (behind the goal) and look up to the top, and that's what we did."
An official's stoppage of play gave Ludlowe the ball with seven seconds left and not far from Warde sophomore goalie Rebekah Snitkoff. Senior Ali Gorab had possession when play resumed for Ludlowe. She made one move toward goal, then spotted Butcher mostly uncovered, drifting up top. Gorab fed her. Butcher, whose goal earlier had given the Falcons a 5-4 lead, perhaps used a second or two to survey the defense, then took a step forward before sending the ball on goal.
Snitkoff, who had stopped eight Falcons' shots previously, could not come up with the save on the low shot and Warde's 8-7 lead, fashioned on junior Meredith Nerreau's third goal of the game with 65 seconds left in the first overtime, was gone.
"It didn't matter if it was a shot on goal, or a pass," Warde coach Tom Davis said of the game's last goal. "It went in the goal."
Davis was pleased with the Mustangs' mission in overtime, just failing to maintain possession for the entire second overtime. Their stall was keeping Ludlowe away, but a final charge by the Falcons to double-up the ball helped lead to the decisive steal, setting up the final drama.
"We needed to get the ball in the first overtime, we did, and we got the goal," Davis said. "For the second overtime period, we had the ball and we were holding it."
Overtime was necessary when Warde turned a 4-3 halftime deficit into a 7-7 deadlock when junior Sarah Reilly scored with 3:43 remaining on her game-high fourth goal of the game. Ludlowe had opened a 7-6 lead on a Gorab goal 2:16 earlier.
Gorab (one goal, four assists) and Reilly (four goals, one assists) shared in a game-high five points.
"She's the ideal player," Davis said of Reilly. "She's a great athlete. Everyone knew she was getting the ball. They knew it, the people in the stands knew it, we knew, but they couldn't stop her."
Reilly used her speed, deft moves and smart reading of the defenses to apply pressure on the Falcons.
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Warde 8, Ludlowe 8 (OT)
FAIRFIELD WARDE 3 4 1 0--8
FAIRFIELD LUDLOWE 4 3 0 1--8
Records: Fairfield Warde 1-0-1, Fairfield Ludlowe 0-1-1. Scoring: FW--Sarah Reilly 4 goals, 1 assist, Meredith Nerreau 3g, 1a, Hannah Dougherty 2a, Amanda Orvis 1g, Caroline Lambert 1a; FL--Ali Gorab 1g, 4a, Sophie Butcher 2g, 2a, Bryce McClure 3g, Miranda Rosenfeld 2g, Ellie Palazzo 1a. Goalies: FW--Rebekah Snitkoff (8 saves); FL--Sarah Chapdelaine (3). Shots: FW--16; FL--24.