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Late rally by Lyme/Old Lyme propels Cats past Canton and into finals

Lyme/Old Lyme’s Sydney Goulding (9) turns to celebrate with Ella Curtiss-Reardon (10) after Goulding scored with 10:05 left in the game to cut Canton’s lead to one in Tuesday night’s Class S semifinal at Windsor High.

WINDSOR, June 4, 2024 – The Lyme/Old Lyme girls lacrosse team has been watching several Boston College games in the NCAA tournament including the championship game when the Eagles erased a six-goal deficit to beat Northwestern and win.

That inspiration helped the No. 2 Wildcats, who trailed No. 3 Canton by five goals with 7:46 left in the third quarter.

Alexis Antonellis scored with six seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 9-9 and got the game-winning in overtime to help Lyme/Old Lyme beat Canton, 10-9 at Windsor High and earn a trip to the Class S championship game for the first time.

“It just like BC,” Antonellis said. “BC got down and managed to come back and we did the same thing. It’s always possible.”

Antonellis scored the final three goals for the Wildcats and four overall. She scored with 5:12 remaining in regulation to tie the game at 8-8 – the fifth consecutive goal by Lyme/Old Lyme.

Canton had an 8-3 lead with 7:46 left in the third quarter thanks to a fourth goal from Avery Brown. But the Warriors had only one goal in the remainder of the game.

Much of the credit goes to Antonellis, who will play at Wheaton College next spring. She controlled the midfield, winning consecutive draws to give the Wildcats possession of the ball.

Still, Canton (12-7) had a chance to win in the final minutes. After Antonellis tied the game, Canton’s Heather Delbone won the draw and the Warriors got the ball. Delbone scored on a drive to the net past two defenders with 2:34 remaining in regulation for a 9-8 lead.

On the ensuing draw after the goal, Delbone won it again for Canton. But Lyme/Old Lyme midfielder Sydney Goulding bumped Canton’s Ellie Bahre to force a turnover with 1:26 remaining and Goulding raced downfield.

Canton’s Elle Bahre, left, finds little room to move in Tuesday night’s Class S semifinal loss in OT. Lyme/Old Lyme’s Alexis Antonellis (20, center) and Kanon Oharu (12, right) keep the pressure on.

The Wildcats (17-4) got off two shots before a foul was called with nine seconds remaining. On a direct start, Antonellis scored to tie the game at 9-9.

In OT, Antonellis won the draw, pushing it to teammate Ella Curtiss Reardon. A few seconds later, the ball was in Antonelli’s stick. She scored the game winning goal 29 seconds into overtime.

“It was all about making space,” she said. “Looking for that last drive, I saw the opportunity and I took the chance. If you see the opportunity, you need to take it. You can’t wait.”

It was a bitter loss for the Warriors, who were seeking to return to the final for the first time since 2016.

“It was a good season,” Canton High coach Sean Cole said. “Great seasons are saved for championship wins. Maybe (the season was) a little bit better than I expected with a young goalie who played incredible in the first half.

“If not for a few mistakes here and there,” he said not finishing the sentence. It could have been Canton facing top-ranked Lauralton Hall in Saturday’s championship game.

“It will sting a little bit,” Cole said. “We’re proud of them. They really fought hard.”

Delbone led Canton with three goals and assist with Avery Brown scoring three goals. Megan Haynes had two goals and an assist while Bahre had a goal and one assist.

Goalie Janelle Gagnon had some point-blank stops early in the third quarter but Lyme/Old Lyme just kept coming at her.

“We got down but we managed to encourage each other and keep each other up,” Antonellis said. “We fixed some things on defense and on offense and we managed to come back. A lot of people (five) scored goals.”

Canton led 6-3 at halftime and extended the lead to 8-3 in the first two minutes of the second half. Delbone scored after taking a nice pass from in back of the net from Bahre for a 7-3 lead. Brown scored with 7:46 left for an 8-3 lead.

Antonellis scored to cut the lead to four, 8-4 with 7:00 left in the third quarter. Allie Kral scored her only goal of the game to slice the lead to three, 8-5.

In the fourth quarter, Lyme/Old Lyme scored twice in the span of 21 seconds to cut the lead to one, 8-7 with 10:05 left in regulation. Antonellis won both draws and the Wildcats scored seconds later.

“This is our dream. This is school history,” Antonellis said. “We’ve never been to the finals. It is amazing.”

Lyme/Old Lyme coach Emily Macione was all smiles after the victory. The last time the Wildcats were in the semifinals they lost to Canton in 2016.

“To come back here and beat Canton again and get the win off of them is huge,” she said. “It’s a great feeling and a credit to how hard the girls worked they really kept their heads in the game.”

Lyme/Old Lyme 10, Canton 9, OT
At Windsor
Canton (12-7)                    4  2  2  1  0  — 9
Lyme/Old Lyme (17-4)   2  1  2  4  1  — 10
Goals: Megan Haynes (C) 2, Heather Delbone (C) 3, Avery Brown (C) 3, Ellie Bahre (C), Allie Kral (LOL), Maya Lequire (LOL), Anna Bussman (LOL), Alexis Antonellis (LOL) 4, Sydney Goulding (LOL), Assists: Haynes, Delbone, Bahre, Kral Anne Marie Hinckley (LOL), Ella Curtis Reardon (LOL) 3; Saves: Jan Gagnon (C), Avia Montazella (LOL)

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 40 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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