SWC Girls Lacrosse preview


BETHEL: The Wildcats welcome a lot of offense back from a team that was the SWC Division II runner-up, won a first-round game in the Class S state tournament and came within a goal of upsetting eventual-champion Weston in the second round.

BROOKFIELD: The Bobcats return two All-State players from a team which a year ago took SWC runner-up honors in Division I, claimed the No. 4 seed in the Class M state tournament and advanced to the quarterfinals.

NEW FAIRFIELD: The Rebels usually find themselves in the thick of the championship chase in the conference and state, and this year they have a combination of seasoned veterans and up-and-coming stars.

NEWTOWN: The Nighthawks have won nine consecutive SWC titles -- and they're determined to make it 10 straight. On top of that, they're still a bit disappointed about having been knocked out of the states in the first round last year, so that'll add even more incentive for a team with 10 seniors.

WESTON: The Trojans have quite a few players back from last year's team, which captured the Class S state championship and the SWC Division II crown.


Meaghan Brophy, Newtown: Senior midfielder scored 64 goals and added 12 assists and 46 draw controls last year. She scored four goals in the SWC Division I championship game and earned MVP honors.

Cassie Ekstrom, Newtown: Senior defender earned All-America honors from U.S. Lacrosse last season and scooped up a team-best 54 ground balls.

Eloise Gagnon, Bethel: Junior attacker has already committed to play for the College of William and Mary. She scored 64 goals last year and added 26 assists and 47 draw wins on the way to earning Brine National High School All-America recognition.

Lindsay Koch, Weston: Senior attacker and captain is a three-time first-team All-State player. She finished last season as the Trojans' all-time leading scorer with 215 career goals. She has committed to play at the College of William and Mary.

Brooke Sands, Brookfield: Senior earned All-State honors in Class M last year, as well as first-team All-SWC recognition. She has committed to play at George Washington University.


Weston at Newtown, April 17, 2 p.m.: An early-season clash between two of the SWC's best. And a matinee, to boot.

Immaculate at Bethel, April 23, 4:15 p.m.: Two up-and-coming programs going head-to-head.

New Fairfield at Brookfield, April 29, 6:30 p.m.: One of many power struggles between various SWC contenders this spring.

Newtown at Brookfield, May 1, 6:30 p.m.: A rematch of last year's SWC Division I final.

Bethel at Weston, May 8, 5:30 p.m.: A rematch of last year's SWC Division II final.


Barlow: The Falcons will be a bit young but are still coping to compete for spots in the conference and state tournaments. Leading the team will be senior attackers Jessica Balinski, Sam Taylor and Virginia Barlow, senior defender Kiley Michaels and junior midfielders Maggie McQuade and Ramsey Walsh. Graduation losses include Brielle Kolf, Olivia Sennett and Paige Kirby.

Bethel: Leading the offense for the Wildcats will be junior attacker Eloise Gagnon (64 goals, 26 assists, 47 draw wins) and Danika Wagener (35 goals, six assists, 29 ground balls); senior midfielder Kaelin Hogan (30 goals, 15 assists, 69 draw wins); and junior midfielder Savanah Pipken (13 goals, five assists). Hogan was a first-team All-State selection in Class S and Gagnon earned second-team honors. Junior defender Bianca Kaluta (22 ground balls, 32 draw wins) has committed to play at Quinnipiac. Graduation losses include attacker Anna Fiorini (Drew University) and midfielder Brooke Ferraro.

Brookfield: All-State players Brooke Sands and Carolyn Marron will lead a Bobcat team with quite a few juniors and seniors. Seniors Katie Kline and Kaley Heelan and juniors Jill Fisher, Kaia Gallop, Audrey Powell and Emily Stoeppel will help add some offensive punch, while seniors Stephanie Hunt and Sam Lawlor, junior Allie Ipkovich and freshman Teja Gallop will bolster the defense. Graduation losses include Jenna Bellano, who is off to a fine start to her collegiate career at Keene State.

Immaculate: A talented group of upperclassmen will look to lead a team determined to make some noise in the conference and state tournaments. Keep an eye on senior midfielders Jaclyn Daily and Jillian Mitchell, senior defender Meredith Keenan, junior midfielder Maeve Reilly and junior goalie Bryanna Lopes.

New Milford: The Green Wave may be a bit young, having graduated 10 starters from last year, but they should improve as the season goes along. The top returners are senior goalie Maddy Romandi, senior defender Dakota Casarella and junior attackers Marisa McLaughlin, Natalie Capriglione and Noel Capriglione. Graduation losses include Olivia Monteiro (Stevenson), Destinee Carey (Western Connecticut), Maddy Phillips (Mount Union) and Alexa Carey (Lynchburg).

New Fairfield: Senior All-SWC first-team selections Mary Smyth and Leah Osborne will spearhead the Rebels' attack (each scored more than 30 goals last season). On defense, watch for seniors Anna Schwalbe and Katie Broderick and junior Danielle Hanley. Sophomores Katie Clark and Bridget Zima are both up-and-coming players. Graduation losses include Dana Bouwman (Villanova) and Jenna Andreozzi (Western Connecticut).

Newtown: The Nighthawks are a seasoned squad looking to maintain its seat atop the conference, where it has stayed for nearly a decade. Midfielder Meaghan Brophy, defender Cassie Ekstrom and attacker/midfielder Kristie VosWinkel (16 goals, 15 assists) are among the 10 seniors on the roster. Junior goalie Kyle Dandrea is a key piece to the puzzle as well. "Last year's first-round loss was disappointing in states," coach Maura Fletcher said in an email. "(We) would hope with this team that we will make it farther in states." Graduation losses include Julia Trudell (Vassar), Caroline Kingsley (Tufts), Tressa Scott and Erin Kenning.

Pomperaug: The Panthers graduated several players who have been key to their recent success, but they welcome back a solid senior class that has been playing together since their youth lacrosse days. Leading the way will be senior attacker Caroline Fleming (27 assists), senior midfielders Becca Foster and Amanda Silk, senior defender Ginny Galante, junior defender Delaney Yule, junior goalie Erica Foschi and sophomore attacker Hayley McCormick (31 assists). Fleming, Foster, Galante and Silk will serve as team captains. Graduation losses include two-time All-State player Shayna Delaney, who scored 105 goals last year, as well as Morgan McMinn and Mackenzie Vaughan

Weston: Three-time All-State player Lindsay Koch, a senior captain, will help lead a team with plenty of key pieces back from last year's championship team. Senior attacker and captain Steph Thomson was an Academic All-American last year, as was senior defender and captain Dana Mitchell. Also watch for juniors Alexa Werner (midfielder) and Kristin Caolo (goalie). Werner is back after missing much of last year with a torn ACL. Graduation losses include Class S state championship game MVP Morgan Moubayed (Wesleyan University), Weston High career assist leader Frances Holmes, Taylor Swanson and Grace Mattison.

--Rich Gregory