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North Branford Girls’ Lacrosse Stands at 8-4

The T-Birds are well on their way to the postseason with several big wins under their belts.

Next week the 2012 regular season comes to a close, but that won’t be the end for the girls’ lacrosse team, which has already secured a spot in the state tournament. The T-Birds are also still in the mix for taking the Shoreline Conference crown, which was for s squad.

The T-Birds started the season by . Since then, North Branford has gone 3-2, challenging two Shoreline Conference teams in back-to-back games twice.

The first set of games was against Valley Regional with North Branford coming out on top in a big way both times. The T-Birds first took a 19-5 win on April 27 at Valley before earning a 20-4 home victory on May 3.

In the first contest, led the offense with eight goals and five assists, while Candace Ballantoni netted three, Alexa Picciuto had two goals and two assists and Cassidy Norton scored twice. Allie Sanzari, Megan DeFrank, Tara Melaccio and Lisa Sagnella also each netted a goal with Alyssa Doran and DeFrank tallying assists.

Dulak also led the fielding efforts with 13 ground balls followed by Emilee Maher (5) and Rachel Robertson, Michaela Parise, Picciuto, Shannon Anderson, Ballantoni and Doran with three apiece. Lauren Manna had nine saves in goal.

In the May 3 contest, Dulak again lit up the scoreboard with five goals and three assists. Melaccio had three goals and two assists, Robertson had two goals and two assists and Ballantoni had two goals. Melissa Martin, Parise, Miranda Jassil, Picciuto, Anderson, Carly Brooks, Norton and Dolan all had goals and assists were tallied by Martin (1), Parise (1), Picciuto (3) and Sagnella (1).

For fielding, Maher and Picciuto each had five ground balls, while Dulak had four and Parise, Jassil, Ballantoni, Norton and Doran had three apiece. Manna notched six saves in net.

The Weston contest on May 4 marked the T-Birds’ lowest offensive output of the season to that date as they fell 13-8 in an out-of-conference game. Dulak accounted for half of the T-Birds’ total with four goals and one assist. Picciuto had two goals and an assist; Jassil and Melaccio each scored once with Robertson assisting on two scores.

Dulak and Picciuto each had four ground balls with Maher, Jassil and Sagnella each with three. Manna made seven saves in the contest.

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The T-Birds bounced back with an 18-10 win over Old Saybrook. Ballantoni was the high scorer on the day with six goals and one assist. Dulak (7 assists) and Picciuto (2 assists) each had three goals. Maher scored twice, while Robertson, Jassil, Melaccio (assist) and Norton each contributed a goal.

Dulak had nine ground balls, Picciuto had five, Maher had four and Martin, Parise, Melaccio, Anderson, Ballantoni and Norton had three ground balls apiece. Manna earned 17 saves against the Rams.

On May 10, perennial rival Haddam-Killingworth gave North Branford its first Shoreline Conference loss of the season, as the Cougars won 11-7 on their home turf. According to an article in the Middletown Press, HK was fueled by grief as they played in support of a teammate who had lost her mother earlier in the week.

HK also held the T-Birds’ offense at bay in their lowest scoring game of 2012. The Cougars still had trouble containing Dulak, who scored five. Melaccio had two goals and Picciuto had an assist.

Dulak again led the fielding with six ground balls. Parise and Picciuto each had four, while Maher and Ballantoni had two apiece. Manna had seven saves in the loss.

The two teams met up again, this time on North Branford’s home field, just four days later and Haddam-Killingworth carried its momentum into the May 14 contest, again holding the T-Birds to their lowest offensive output of the season as the Cougars took a 16-6 win. HK improved to 9-3 on the season with a perfect 8-0 record so far in the Shoreline Conference and only two Shoreline Conference games left to play.

North Branford now stands at 8-4, including a 6-2 record in the Shoreline Conference with Morgan and Old Lyme still on the SLC schedule to close out the season plus out-of-conference games against Conard and Granby Memorial to end the regular season.

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