By Tim Swinarton
HAMDEN, Oct. 11 -- Hamden Hall Country Day School senior captain Lexi Cornacchia bobbed, weaved and dribbled her way through every hole in The Westover School’s defense to lead her team to a 2-1 victory.
When she got the ball, one instinctively knew she was heading to the net.
Cornacchia, a center midfielder, led the charge for Hamden Hall’s shifty offense, scoring both of her team’s two goals. She opened up the scoring with 7:25 left in the first half the of game. After receiving a pass near the center circle she cut and dodged her way through numerous Westover players before rifling a shot just over the keeper’s head.
However, the game started out far slower with Hamden Hall (2-4-2) controlling the field. The Green Hornets fired 10 shots on the Westover keeper but were only able to convert one, all while holding Westover to just one shot on net. Their lone shot was swallowed up by senior goalkeeper Miranda Lannone.
Lannone, despite seeing minimal action in goal, was calm and cool on the field taking up a quarterback role from the net. When she wasn’t chasing down a loose ball or making a pass on a dime, she called out plays, helping her teammates find open holes in the defense -- all traits that most likely contributed to her committing to play for Cornell University next year.
After the half, Hamden Hall came out out stronger, dominating the offensive half of the field.
Hornets coach Chuck Savi said, “We were sloppy in the first half… we were playing to far out wide, there was a lot of room in the midfield and once we started connecting passes with our key three players we really got things going.”
The offensive changes led to a dominant 20 minutes of play with Hamden Hall outshooting Westover, 9-1.
Hamden Hall created more plays, got more balls to the middle and opened up high percentage scoring chances.
Hamden Hall’s second tally came late in the second half on a throw-in from its own defensive end.
Senior outside back Gia DiRubba threw the ball to Cornacchia up the sideline. Cornacchia then ran the ball through the entire Westover team before scoring her second goal of the night.
Like her coach, Cornacchia felt exposing the open space in the middle helped increase the team’s scoring chances.
She said, “We decided to stop trying to look wide because there was so much space in the center, we started playing the ball to our forwards feet and then getting it back to the center… which is why we won.”
Westover’s only goal came late in the second half on a crossing play to Junior midfielder Caroline Broude’.
Broude’ received a pass across the center and snuck it past the Hamden keeper Lannone? as she ran out out of net to attempt to stop the shot. However, the effort came too late with only 13 minutes left in regulation time.
The 2-1 win was a nice present for coach Savi who celebrated his 40th birthday on the sidelines.
“I tried to keep it from the girls. When they asked how old I was turning, I felt like saying 39,” he joked after the game.
Hamden Hall returns to action Saturday, Oct. 14 against the Williams School.
Students in Quinnipiac University's JRN361: Sports Reporting course cover local high school sports competitions. Their work is showcased here.
Banner photo courtesy
Dana Jensen/The Day (2003)