Boys lax wins Class M title
Published 11:41 am, Wednesday, June 17, 2015
It took less than a minute for the New Canaan boys lacrosse team to take a lead in the Class M finals Saturday afternoon at Brien McMahon High School.
That lead would never be relinquished as the Rams went on to defeat Daniel Hand 10-5 and win their first state title since 2003.
"It means a lot to the program, we have a 41-year history and to win the state championship always means a lot," New Canaan coach, and program alum, Chip Buzzeo said. "For this team it’s a great way to end. You always want to win your last game and I’m very proud of how they played today."
New Canaan came out of the gate hot as Justin Meichner tallied only 42 seconds into the game. A possessed Meichner went on to score two more times in the first and once more to start the second, giving the Rams a quick 4-0 lead.
"It’s always good to jump out to a lead," Buzzeo said. "In the game of lacrosse there’s always runs, and if you can get a couple goals in the beginning of a championship game it kind of settles everybody down. Yyou have to hand it to Justin, he was on early."
Hand looked to have a run of its own late in the third quarter as goals by Reid Sweitzer and George McGuirk closed the Rams’ lead to 7-4. But New Canaan’s Michael Kraus scored in the final minute of the third period to end the threat.
From there Peter Swindell scored his second goal just 30 seconds into the fourth, followed 40 seconds later by Kyle Smith. All three of those goals were assisted by Ryan O’Connell, who finished with four assists and a goal.
Both goalies were sophomores in New Canaan’s Drew Morris and Hand’s John Dowler, and both played very solid games, each giving their team an opportunity to come away with a win and each notching eight saves.
"It feels amazing," Morris said of the win. "The team played great in front of me and gave me a great opportunity to make some saves."
Added Hand coach Paul Deon: "Our goalie played great, he’s a young sophomore and he was terrific today."
The slow start ended up being the difference for the Tigers as they never could quite get over the hump, only getting as close as the three-goal deficit at the end of the third quarter.
"I think we came out a little tight and we started to clean it up in the second half," Deon said. "I felt like up until a couple points we were always in the game, we always had a chance, we were right there nipping at their heels. Kudos to New Canaan, they played an outstanding game, congratulations to them."
The win was an emotional mixed bag for Buzzeo, who was jubilant at being crowned the champions, but saddened to see his senior class go.
"It’s going to be tough," Buzzeo said.
"I’ve spent six years with these guys and it’s going to be very different without them, but I’m proud of them and what they’ve been able to accomplish."