Lauralton Hall loses in field hockey semifinal

The Lauralton Hall field hockey team was denied a third chance to make it to the CIAC Class M state tournament final on Tuesday night, when the No. 4 seed Crusaders lost to No. 1 and three-time defending champ Wilton High, 2-0, on Taft Field at Fairfield Ludlowe High School.

The 17-3-1 Warriors, who defeated Lauralton Hall, 1-0, for last year’s title and by the same score earlier in the season, got second-half goals from Bridget Ward (at 7:08) and Katharine Campbell (4:55), earning the right to meet Daniel Hand of Madison (a 2-1 victor over Avon) in Saturday’s finale at Wethersfield High School.

“I know we had our share of opportunities out there and needed to take advantage of one of them,” said Lauralton Hall coach Kate Cavanagh. “That was part of my post-game talk. In field hockey, you need to cash in and we didn’t tonight.”

Meg Cunningham fed Ward the ball in front of Crusader goalie Mary-Beth Rudolf (two saves) and Ward drove it home at 7:08 to break the scoreless tie. Delaney Baxendale set the play up, moving the ball up from mid-field.

Ward earned the assist on Campbell’s goal, which sealed the win a little over three minutes later.

The Crusaders, 14-3-1, had seven shots on goal, everyone of them stopped by Warrior goalie Amanda Hendry.

“They’re a vastly improved team,” said Wilton coach Deidre Hynes. “I saw a huge improvement in their over-all play from the first time we played until now.”

Prior to 2013, the Crusaders last appearance in a final came in 2011 when Lauralton Hall lost 1-0 in double overtime to Granby Memorial.