McKenna rallies Warde over Ludlowe in girls lacrosse
FAIRFIELD - After watching Ludlowe score two goals with the man advantage early in the first half, giving the Falcons’ the lead, Libby McKenna was not a happy camper.
Because it was McKenna that had allowed Ludlowe to jump in front. The senior forward had been whistled for a yellow card and was standing in the penalty area when the Falcons scored twice.
“That was bad,” McKenna said.
But in the second half, McKenna made amends for her earlier miscue, scoring three straight goals, erasing a two-goal deficit and giving the Mustangs the lead in what would end up being a 7-6 Warde victory over Ludlowe on April 5 at Taft Field.
“I really think we pulled it together and we got our attitude up and made better passes,” McKenna said. “We got our offense working better, breaking down their zone and working the elbows and cutting through and getting good shots.”
McKenna scored three times and Grace Dougherty added two goals in the second half as Warde improved to 2-0 after a season-opening victory over Danbury. Ludlowe - who celebrated a program milestone with a season-opening 9-8 win over Greenwich, it’s first-ever win over the Cardinals - fell to 1-1.
“The truth of the matter is, you possess the ball, you win the game, a lot of it is just pressure,” Ludlowe coach Amanda Mastera said. “A lot of it was the (faceoff) draw, Libby controlled the draw for Warde and she’s got great momentum and once you control and take time off the clock, it’s all your game.”
Caleigh Walklet scored the game’s first goal to put Warde in front but then Ludlowe’s Melissa Bucher and Ashley Moynahan scored a minute apart - with McKenna standing in the penalty area - to give the Falcons the lead. Warde’s Dougherty tied it a 2-2 with just over 10 minutes left in the opening half but Bucher scored again with just 16 seconds to play, giving Ludlowe the halftime momentum and a 3-2 lead.
And when the Falcons’ scored twice in the opening 35 seconds of the second half, on goals from Moynahan and Olivia E’ramo, Ludlowe had taken a 5-2 lead.
“We just had to straighten some things out on what we wanted to do,” Warde coach Tom Davis said. “The things that we were doing, we weren’t executing, we needed to run our offense in what their defense was giving us.”
Dougherty scored to bring Warde within 5-3 and then McKenna took over, scoring at 17:15, 14:55 and 12:32 to put the Mustangs ahead 6-5.
“She kind of took over,” Davis said of McKenna. “She needed to get her motor going a little bit in the first half and in the second half, she played ball. She played like she knew how she could play. She had a great game.”
Said McKenna: “We have a lot of good plays off the draw where we move people around, set up and position things. You always have determination when you’re down, but we pulled it together and got the victory, it was awesome.”
Moynahan notched the hat trick to tied matters at 6-6 with 7:11 left, but Warde answered at the 6:37 mark as Dougherty scored to return the one-goal advantage. From there, the Mustangs were able to control much of the possession and run out the clock.
“Control the ball, we were winning the draws, the kids fought back,” Davis said. “We attacked the goal, we had some free shots that we scored on. Libby played big, Olivia played big, Grace Dougherty played well, our goalie Abigail King) kept us in the game in the first half, she kept us going, the girls all played great.”
As did Ludlowe.
“The number one thing right now is we’re building a family here and a lot of that involves having trust on the field,” Mastera said, who played high school lacrosse at New Canaan, college lacrosse at Regis in Denver, Colorado and coached at both Greenwich and Newtown for 11 seasons before taking the Ludlowe job. “They have to get used to playing with each other and they have to get used to me. They really support each other on and off the field.”
Moynahan had three goals, Bucher two and D’Eramo one for Ludlowe. McKenna had three goals, Dougherty had three goals and Walklet one for Warde.