— GameTimeCT (@GameTimeCT) May 27, 2021
CLINTON — It has been an interesting season for Haddam-Killingworth boys lacrosse coach Lauren Braren.
The day before the season started the Cougars head coach at the time decided to step down. Braren, a longtime youth lacrosse coach, who also has two boys play for the Cougars, was asked to take over the head coaching duties.
“The school called me the night before the season started and asked me to coach,” said Braren, a former goalie for RPI. Her sons Cal Braren, a senior, and sophomore Nolan Braren play for the Cougars. “They explained to me the coach stepped down, so I said ‘I guess I’m coaching H-K boys lacrosse this season.’”
On Thursday, that season included a Shoreline Conference championship.
The No. 1 seed Cougars scored four of the game’s five goals in the second quarter to take a four-goal lead at halftime and hung on for an 11-9 win over No. 2 Valley Regional at Indian River Complex.
Aidan Coleman had three goals and two assists, Cooper Savoy had three goals and one assist and Nolan Braren had two goals to lead the Cougars offense. Goalie Ethan Wright made 10 saves.
“When I took over I never expected all this to happen, going 14-1 in our conference and winning H-K’s first Shoreline Conference title,” Lauren Braren said. “This has been an amazing season and I had some amazing assistant coaches to help me. We came into this season wanting to do something special to make up for last year when we lost the spring lacrosse season to COVID-19. This is very special, everyone worked so hard for this.”
Nolan Braren set the tone early, scoring 39 seconds into the first quarter for a 1-0 lead. The Cougars ended up with a 2-1 lead after the first quarter. Matt Mohammed made it 3-1 for the Cougars 17 seconds into the second quarter. Clark Burleson answered for the Warriors 9 seconds later to cut the lead to 3-2. But Haddam-Killingworth closed the second quarter with two goals from Savoy and one from Nolan Braren for a 6-2 halftime lead.
“Nolan scoring that first goal of the game was big for us,”Savoy said. “The last time we played them we lost in overtime and didn’t want to lose again. That gave us the momentum we needed. I ended up with one of my better games with three goals but everyone contributed.”
The Warriors rallied late and Clark Burleson cut the Haddam-Killingworth lead to 11-9 with 1:18 to go. But the Warriors couldn’t put together another chance to score the rest of the game.
“It was tough the day before the season started to lose our coach,” said Cal Braren, the Shoreline Conference Player of the Year. “ But when I got the call that my mom was going to be the head coach, I said wow, that’s great, our whole family is going to be at practices and games. The thing is, she really knows lacrosse and I knew she would be great for the team.
“It’s been an amazing season for all of us.”
HADDAM-KILLINGWORTH 11, VALLEY REGIONAL 9
Valley Reg. 1 1 2 5 — 9
H-K2 4 2 3 — 11
SCORING: Valley Regional — Keenan Pindar 4g, Clark Burleson 3g, 1a, Kormac Kline 1g, 1 a, Cooper Strecker 1g, 1a; Haddam-Killingworth — Aidan Coleman 3g, 2a, Cooper Savoy 3g, 1a, Nolan Braren 2g, Matt Mohammed 1g, Corey Phipps 1g, Cal Braren 1g. Saves: Valley Regional Axel Johnson 11; Haddam-Killingworth Ethan Wright 10.
Records: Valley Regional 10-5; Haddam-Killingworth 13-5.
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