Published November 12. 2012 4:00AM
Stonington - When the CIAC released its state pairings last week, the following thought crossed Jenna Tucchio's mind: "Just let Granby be on the other side of the bracket."
No such luck.
Granby Memorial, an old nemesis to the Tucchio's Stonington field hockey program, occupied a spot on the same side of the Class S tournament bracket.
And naturally, both schools won their opening matches, so sixth-seeded Granby hopped on a bus Sunday and made the trek to Stonington. This time, however, the third-seeded Bears were ready.
Steph Stearns, who assisted on Molly Crowley's tying goal with 11 minutes, 22 seconds left in the first half, scored the game-winning goal with 21:35 remaining as Stonington beat Granby 2-1 in the quarterfinals.
"Those last 20 minutes seemed to take two hours," said Tucchio, whose Bears (14-3-1) will play No. 2 Immaculate of Danbury in Tuesday's semifinals at a site and time to be announced. "We literally had to hold on. Granby is extremely strong ... not just hitting but in passing, too. If we didn't put the ball exactly where we needed to they would have scored a goal."
Stonington was outshot 13-2, but scored goals on its only two shots. Granby also had 24 penalty corners (Stonington had none), but goalie Annie Knizeski (11 saves) and the defense in front of her were up to the task.
"We played defense for the last 20 minutes," said Tucchio, adding Amanda Roy cleared sure Granby goal right off the goal line. "But out penalty corner unit was outstanding. We did not let them get shots off.
"For me, the key is don't let them take that initial shot. They never got that initial shot off. They had to pass first and our kids kept clearing for us. It was a very gutsy effort, the gutsiest performance I could ever ask for."
Emily Cassata set up Stearns' game winner, picking up a loose ball on the left side, averting a defender and when the goalie came out of the net Cassata sent a ball right across to Stearns, who was all alone at the right side of the net and tapped the ball in.
College field hockey
• Megan Frazer scored with 2:12 remaining to give No. 6 Maryland a 2-1 victory over No. 4 UConn in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division I tournament in Storrs. The Huskies, who finish 19-3, led 1-0 early on a goal by Chloe Hunnable, her 15th of the season.
• Third-ranked Onondaga Community College routed UConn-Avery Point 98-61. Freshman Jackie Riera led the Pointers (2-1) with 18 points, going 11-for-12 from the free throw line, while Ashley Oakes added 16.
• Connecticut College's coed team finished second in the Atlantic Coast Tournament in St. Mary's City, Md. Conn had 96 points, just six behind College of Charleston. Skipper Kevin Martland and Kim Bolick placed second in the A division with 59 points while skipper Pearson Potts and Steph Kapinos rallied Conn with a first-place finish in the B division with a score of 37 points.
• Freshman Mike Shermot placed sixth in the Roger Williams Invite on Saturday night. Shermot won his first three matches 8-5, 13-3 and 7-5 before losing 13-5 and 7-4. He defaulted his consolation match due to injury. In addition, freshman Marc Wagner (174) won four matches while Colin Schuster (165) and Ben Green (157) each won twice.
• Nick Poehler had first-place finishes in the 500 freestyle (5:00.23) and the 1,000 freestyle (10:26.60) to pace the Bears to a 178.5-95.5 win over Wheaton on Saturday. Kevin Smit also had a pair of first in the 100 free (49.18) and 200 free (1:50.32) as did Andy Anderson, who won the 1-meter (256.20 points) and 3-meter (266.78) diving events.
• Chantel Ferguson had a pair of seconds and one third as Coast Guard lost to Springfield (211.5-81.5) and host Rhode Island (211-76). Ferguson took second in the 200 breaststroke (2:33.57) and the 400 IM (4:50.29). The Bears' 200 free relay of Darlene Sao, Abby King, Caitlyn Gever and Patti Eidenire placed second in 1:45.88.
College cross country
• Mitchell College's Drew Castagna placed 269th (30:43) at the NCAA Division III New England meet on Saturday in Westfield, Mass. The top women's finisher for the Mariners was freshman Sheilah Newcity in 28:01.77.