The state Class S girls lacrosse championship marked the end of a long wait for Weston High’s Taylor Swanson.
The senior was sidelined due to ACL injuries in both knees for the past two seasons, including when Weston won its first Class S title in 2011. Now back on the field, she would made the most of the opportunity.
Scoring five goals, she was a big part of the Trojans’ attack as they pulled ahead in the second half for a 13-8 win over top-ranked Haddam-Killingworth of Higganum on Saturday, June 8, at Bunnell High in Stratford.
“She wanted this so badly,” said Weston head coach Megan Borman, whose team was ranked second in the tournament. “Taylor came up huge for us.”
Swanson was one of several players to step up for Weston, not only in Saturday’s championship but in other key games this season, such as the semifinals against 11th-ranked Northwest Catholic of West Hartford four days earlier. In what was the highest combined scoring game for the Trojans this season, they held off the competition in a 19-15 win to reach the championship.
Weston’s defensive corps had to withstand a powerful Northwest Catholic attack which had averaged better than 12 goals per game this season going into last week’s semifinals. With that accomplished, Weston’s own attack was able to get the job done at the other end of the field.
Five players had multiple-scoring games for Weston. Morgan Moubayed led the way with six. She also had three assists.
Swanson netted four with an assist. Lindsay Koch (one assist), Steph Thomson (one assist) and Fran Holmes (nine assists) all scored three apiece.
Kristen Caolo had eight saves in goal for the Trojans.
Saturday’s championship was not the first time the two sides had met in Class S. Two years ago Weston defeated Haddam-Killingworth in the semifinals.
The Shoreline Conference champs, the Cougars struck first with a goal in the first three minutes. Such would only serve as a call to action for the Trojans, who reeled off four straight of their own.
Moubayed evened up the score with 21:20 left in the half, followed by two courtesy of Koch. Swanson also got in on the action with a goal at 17:34, forcing the Cougars to call time-out.
The tide temporarily shifted their way. Winning a number of draw controls, they scored three straight goals, two by Kiley Anderson, to tie it at 4-4 with 6:33 left in the half.
Keeping their composure, the Trojans concentrated on winning a few draw controls of their own thanks to Dana Mitchell. They then took their time, waiting for quality shots.
“When we get the draw we need to be patient,” said Borman. “That was what we had to do.”
Such led to a pair of goals by Koch in the span of a minute-and-a-half. Moubayed appeared to score another with 1:28 left but the goal as disallowed due to a stick violation.
The Cougars had not heard the last of her, however. She would score two more times and played a big part in holding Anderson to just two goals in the game.
“Morgan is just as good,” said Borman. “She’s so athletic. She has great game sense.”
By the time halftime came the Cougars scored another and it was still anyone’s game with Weston leading 6-5.
Winning a number of draws early in the second half, the Trojans took advantage of scoring opportunities and stretched their lead to 9-5 in the first five minutes. From that point on they kept at least a three-goal lead.
The defense held the Cougars to just two goals for the first 23 minutes, including one by Leah DeGregorio with 15:54 to play. A three-goal run by Swanson then sealed the win for Weston, which then slowed down the tempo of the game in the remaining minutes to help protect its lead.
“We knew what were up against,” said Swanson. “We knew how to adjust very well.”
Besides scoring five goals, she had two assists. Koch netted four and Moubayed scored three with an assist.
Holmes, who was battling illness, scored one and had four assists.
“This is what we wanted,” said Swanson, one of seven seniors on the team. “We wanted to cherish this.”