State champs! Masuk girls lacrosse wins Class L title

Masuk players pour onto the field to celebrate their state title win.

FAIRFIELD, CT — It is often said that it’s not how you start but how you finish. In the case of the Masuk High girls lacrosse team a fast start was enough to carry the Panthers to a Class L State Championship.

No. 1 Masuk scored nine first-half goals en route to a 10-7 win over No. 3 Simsbury, at Sacred Heart University on Saturday afternoon.

“There are no words,” Masuk Coach Rob Troesser said. “They played their best game of the year.”

Bailey Bajda scored four times and Lily Cameron scored three goals to lead the way and Charlotte Pinto and Sam Henry also scored — all in the first half. Masuk dominated the possession game and built a commanding 9-1 lead heading into the third quarter. Henry and Devon Krenier had assists in the win.

Goaltender Sophie Clark moves the ball after making a save.

Simsbury got to within 9-4 heading to the fourth and scored two more times to pull to within three at 9-6 with 4:50 left.

Krenier answered 50 seconds later and the Panthers held on as goaltender Sophie Clark made 11 saves, including some on in-close chances on free possession shot opportunities. Krenier caused a trio of turnovers and Henry forced two turnovers.

The big momentum shift was not halftime itself but rather Henry picking up her second yellow card and exiting the game early in the third quarter. Henry is a key player on draws and, despite sitting for almost half the game, she still finished with a team-best six draw controls for the Panthers.

A lack of her presence certainly was felt.

Devon Kreiner makes her way past a defender to score a goal.

“We started to not get as much of the draw possession so we were defending a lot which limited our offensive chances,” Troesser said. “We had to adjust.”

Masuk did so by giving Simsbury space on the outside and clogging the middle and taking away the inside path to the net. This caused Simsbury to use more clock to develop scoring chances or settle for more shots from lower percentage shooting angles.

“They had to work a lot harder,” Troesser said of Simsbury’s offense in response to the Masuk changeup on D.

“It’s really gratifying to know we worked so hard and finally got this,” said Cameron, adding that the Panthers never got down when things started to turn in Simsbury’s favor. “We stay positive. We always push forward.”

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