FCIAC BOYS LACROSSE: FAIRFIELD PREP 11, NEW CANAAN 10 Rams’ late charge falls a little short
NEW CANAAN — On the same day the Kentucky Derby was ran, Fairfield Prep and New Canaan were neck-and-neck right down to what amounted to a photo finish.
New Canaan grabbed an early lead, Prep came roaring back and the Rams late comeback fell just short as the Jesuits hung on to win 11-10 Saturday evening in New Canaan.
“When we had the ball, we were pretty good. When they had the ball, they were pretty good,” Prep coach Graham Niemi said. “It was two really good teams, our kids battled and played hard. … I think we got stronger and tougher during (losses to Long Island teams) and today I thought the faceoff battle was even, so it ends up being a pretty close game.”
New Canaan came out of the gate strong, ending the first quarter up 4-1, but Prep went on a 7-2 run spanning the second and third quarters led by juniors Ethan Grandolfo (four goals, one assist) and Connor Boyle (two goals, one assist).
“I think we’re a really, really good offensive team,” Grandolfo said. “We have a lot of talent and when everyone is scoring and moving the ball and everything is clicking, we’re really hard to beat.”
New Canaan (9-4) was held scoreless for over 20 minutes of game time, but junior Will Rechtermann scored twice in the third quarter on incredible individual efforts to cut the Rams’ deficit to 1.
“Will is coming into his own,” New Canaan coach Chip Buzzeo said. “He’s a junior that this is his first year playing a lot. He’s moved up to the first line and he’s playing great and I’m really proud of him.”
Nursing an 7-6 lead after three, Prep (7-3) went on a 4-1 run to take a four-goal lead with just four minutes remaining.
The Rams then scored three goals in less than two minutes to bring it to a one-goal game with 1:55 left but couldn’t find the equalizer, despite having two chances.
An unforced turnover gave Prep possession with a minute left, but the Jesuits handed it back on a procedure penalty.
With five seconds left, New Canaan junior Quintin O’Connell unleashed a shot that went just wide of the cage.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Grandolfo, Fairfield Prep. The junior attackman’s four goals led the Jesuits and his final tally with 4:05 left proved to be the difference.
“To finally beat them, that means a ton to me and to the seniors and it just feels awesome,” Grandolfo said. “It’s really indescribable.”
With five starters out due to injury, New Canaan is relying on a bevy of young players to step up. Despite the loss, Buzzeo is more than happy with how they’ve responded.
“I’m so happy and proud that our young guys stepped up with all the guys we have out,” Buzzeo said. “It was a great experience for us. You play out-of-conference games for this reason, to get good competition and get ready for the playoffs. We’ll take it as a learning experience and hopefully get our guys back.”
FAIRFIELD PREP 11, NEW CANAAN 10
FAIRFIELD PREP1 2 5 3—11
NEW CANAAN4 0 2 4—10
Records: Fairfield Prep 7-3; New Canaan 9-4.
Scoring: FP—Mason Reale 2 goals 1 assist, Ethan Grandolfo 4g 1a, Connor Boyle 2g 1a, Jae Young Stuhlman 1g, Thomas Walton 1g, Timothy Rohach 1g 2a; NC—Quintin O’Connell 2g 1a, Christopher Canet 1g, Zachary Miller 1g 1a, Will Rechtermann 3g, Drew Guida 1g, Ryan Caione 1g, Liam Griffiths 1g, Mackenzie Deane 1a. Goalies: FP—Finn O’Connor (8 saves); NC—Bennett Ong (7). Shots: FP—19; NC—26.