RIDGEFIELD — Three days ago, the Wilton and Ridgefield girls lacrosse teams played a regular-season game in a driving rain with temperatures hovering near 40 degrees.
So when U2’s “It’s a Beautiful Day” poured out of the PA system during a timeout late in the first half of Friday afternoon’s FCIAC quarterfinal — played under strong sun and temperatures in the low 70s — the song sounded doubly appropriate.
But for Wilton, it was actually more of a picture-perfect day.
The fifth-seeded Warriors opened a four-goal halftime lead, fended off a comeback, and came away with a 12-6 victory over fourth-seed Ridgefield.
Wilton will now meet top-seed Darien in the semifinals Monday at Norwalk High School.
“I didn’t think we played very well at all against them the other day,” said Wilton coach Meredith Meyran, referring to Ridgefield’s 10-8 win Tuesday night. “But we had some good practices and made a few changes that worked today. And we were much better on the draws.”
After three goals from Sophie Sudano staked Wilton to a 7-3 halftime lead, Ridgefield controlled the first 10 minutes of the second half and pulled within 8-6 on Caitlin Slaminko’s goal off a free position with 15:54 to play.
The Tigers won the ensuing draw and applied more pressure, with Slaminko firing a shot wide off another free. A few moments later, Slaminko and Wilton freshman Catherine Dineen were sent off with matching two-minute penalties.
When they returned, Dineen was able to poke the ball free from Slaminko and send a clearing pass to Delia Freliech. Freliech stormed down the field and fed Taylor LaMantia, who scored to finish the textbook transition play and put Wilton ahead by three goals.
“For a freshman, that’s a big assignment to have,” said Meyran about Dineen’s defensive effort against Slaminko. “I think Caitlin Slaminko is one of the top three midfielders in the FCIAC; she is so good. Dineen did a great job, and defensively, as a unit, we played really well.”
Ridgefield hardly had the ball after that. The Warriors controlled the draws and scored three more unanswered goals to close out the triumph.
“We were all super motivated after the last game (against Ridgefield) and had probably the two best practices we’ve had all season,” said Sudano, who led Wilton with six goals. “We played more as a team today; everyone combined efforts and worked together.”
“A big difference was that we did a lot better on the draw the other night,” said Ridgefield coach Cece Berger. “Wilton had a lot more of the possessions today and that was a key for them.”
WILTON 12, RIDGEFIELD 6
WILTON 7 5 — 12
RIDGEFIELD 3 3 — 6
Scoring: Wilton - Sophie Sudano 6 goals; Carly Sullivan 2 goals; Taylor LaMantia 2 goals; Olivia Gladstein 1 goal, 1 assist; Meghan Lane 1 goal; Delia Frehliech 1 assist. Ridgefield - Caitlin Slaminko 4 goals; Maeve Tobin 1 goal, 1 assist; Faith Arnold 1 goal. Saves: Wilton - Bridgette Wall 3; Tate Paulson 3. Ridgefield - Lexi Held 8. Records: Wilton 11-6; Ridgefield - 10-6.