STRATFORD—Amanda Ogrodowicz has grown up a lot this school year.
In the fall, she played JV volleyball and then spent the winter months on the basketball court for the Stratford High varsity basketball team.
This spring, she’s become the key face-off person for the Red Devils girls lacrosse team and with every passing game and week has gotten better and more confident.
On Saturday afternoon, the freshman scored three of her four goals in the first and lifted Stratford to a 9-5 win over Bunnell at Penders Field.
The win capped off a season sweep of the Bulldogs after topping Bunnell 8-7 in double overtime back on April 23.
“At the beginning of the season, I was a kind of nervous because I was just a freshman,” Ogrodowicz said after garnering the Karen Newall Game MVP honors for Stratford. “I felt like I didn’t have to score, and I would just always pass the ball, but once I got used to the team and they took me under their wing, I felt a lot better about it.”
Ogrodowicz scored three straight goals for Stratford in the first half, turning a 3-0 lead into a 6-1 advantage.
Her fourth goal was her career high.
“She’s grown so much this year with her confidence,” Stratford coach Sarah Stevens said. “Every day she’s getting better and looking more like a veteran player. She does everything we ask of her. She’s very coachable. She’s everything you want in a player and she cares so much.”
Ogrodowicz’s domination at face-off allowed Stratford to maintain possession of the ball after goals and limiting Bunnell’s transition-game opportunities.
“We really dominated the control of the play,” said sophomore Kassidy Murtha, who scored Stratford’s first goal just 2:34 into the game. “We were working it around and and waiting for the best opportunity to present itself. That’s why we won. We worked as a team.”
Edie Threshie added three goals for Stratford and also had an assist. Kaitlin LaPia also had a goal while Julia Mahoney and Elle Moshier had assists.
“We planned well, and we were patient,” Stevens said. “By being patient and waiting for the right opportunity to score, it helped us pull out the win. They have a good defense and it was challenging for us and we knew we couldn’t for the ball.”
When the ball did the turf, the Red Devils also scooped up most of the ground balls. Mahoney had four ground balls while Amelia Overby, Caroline Das and Moshier had three ground balls each.
Goalie Helen Lefever had six saves.
For Bunnell, Morgan Reilly scored twice while Maura Kelly, Mariana Trovarelli and Cat Nelson had single goals. Holly Rosa and Rachel Ciuci both notched assists. Goalie Tatiana Wright had nine saves.
Wright was named the Newall MVP for Bunnell.
“They just did a much better job at possessing the ball,” Bunnell coach Meghan Letko said. “It was little things that hurt us, like executing and fundamentals, catching the ball and seeing it into your stick, getting ground balls and just battling for it.”
Last spring, after losing the first game in overtime, Bunnell rebounded to dominate the second go-round of the battle.
This spring, though, Stratford never even brought up last year’s results.
“We kind of left last year in the past,” Stevens said. “We didn’t talk about it. It’s a new team, a lot of people have been stepping up and we lost some big roles from last year, so we had to fill those spots.”
Stratford is now 6-9 and much win its final game of the season against Bethel (7-8) if it hopes to clinch a spot in the state tournament. The game will be played Tuesday at home at 7 p.m.
Bunnell dropped to 5-10 on the season and closes things out on Monday hosting New Milford.