MANCHESTER -- What began as a competitive back and forth game turned into a rout as the No. 2 Burr and Burton Academy girls lacrosse team stormed past third-seeded BFA-St. Albans to an 18-8 victory in the Division II semifinals on Wednesday.
The win sends the Bulldogs (16-2) to the state title game -- against No. 6 Rice, which upset unbeaten, top-seeded U-32 -- for the first time since 2010 and denies the Comets (15-3) a repeat appearnce.
"I just wanted to cry," said BBA senior midfielder Kate Montague. "I was just so happy I didn't know what to do. It's just the happiest I've felt since freshman year basically."
Montague -- one of the few remaining members from that 2010 championship team -- played a big role in the team's offensive production during the second half. She scored three straight goals during a 6-0 BBA run and finished with four on the day.
"Kate is a four-year starter on this team and she was part of the team when we won the state championship her freshman year and a contributor at that point in time," said BBA (16-2) coach Dave Miceli. "She's got great poise and she's got a great lacrosse IQ."
BFA drew first blood about 90 seconds into the contest when sophomore midfielder Ellen Pipes bounced a ball of the post and into the right corner of the net. BBA came right back, though, leveling the score at 1-1 off a goal by Hayley Sabol less than three minutes later.
The teams exchanged goals over the next several minutes until BBA broke a 4-4 tie and went up for good with 8:15 remaining in the first half. The Bulldogs finished the period on a 4-0 run to give themselves an 8-4 lead at halftime.
"I think we were very, very frustrated with the first eight goals they scored on eight-meter fouls because we weren't sure why they were getting calls and we weren't," said BFA coach Mary Pipes. "We tried to get clarification for that early in the game, but they [the refs] weren't giving it to us."
Pipes said that had if they gotten the clarification earlier in the game, things might have gone differently for her team. Pipes also said that the team had a hard time executing the game plan on Wednesday.
"Our plan was to get draw control and immediately get it transitioned up the field and today we just weren't transitioning very well. We had draw control there for a while," said Pipes. "We didn't have our best game, but we didn't give up. I'm proud of my team."
BFA's Leilani King did a good job controlling the draw for much of the first half, but by the second half BBA senior defenseman Morgan Crabtree and other members of the team found a way to contain King.
The Comets opened up the second half just like the first, scoring first, only this time within a matter of 26 seconds. But BBA answered less than a minute later and over the next four minutes the two teams again traded goals until the score was 10-7.
But then Crabtree kicked off BBA's 6-0 run, taking the ball from midfield and burying a shot across the goal into the bottom left corner of the net.
"BFA's a very good team and we needed to play the best game of the season so far and that's exactly what the girls did," said Miceli. "We've had three outstanding games [in a row] starting with our Woodstock game, Harwood game and now this.
"Everything is really clicking for the girls and the girls are doing a good job."
Sabol led all scorers for BBA with five goals. Montague added an assist and senior midfielder Rory Halligan recorded a hat-trick and had one assist.
Senior attacker Aly Hardy and King led the Comets with two goals and one assist each. Kate Dillon had one goal and one assist and Ellen Pipes, Alyx Pelkey and Katie Duggan each had a goal.
BBA junior goalie Casey Apps tallied 10 saves and Comets junior goalie Cora Hartman had six saves.