NORWALK -- It certainly wasn't looking good for the New Canaan boys lacrosse team at halftime of their FCIAC championship clash with Ridgefield.
The Rams were down by four goals and had fallen victim to another red-hot start by Ridgefield at Brien McMahon High School's Casagrande Field last Friday night.
One dominant second half later, and it was New Canaan was running out the clock for an 11-9 win and an FCIAC Championship. New Canaan possessed the ball on Ridgefield's side of the field for nearly all of the final 1:45, thus preventing a potential Ridgefield comeback bid.
"This is the goal we had since the start of the season. We had some big time players step up," said New Canaan goalie Tom Carey, who was named the tournament's MVP. "(The MVP award) feels good but it's about the team. I've got to give this to the defense too. They're in there with me and it's a team effort."
Going into the fourth quarter, New Canaan had turned a 5-1 halftime deficit into a 7-6 disadvantage. The Rams needed only 35 seconds to draw even when Peter Kraus found Michael Bossidy for the equalizer. New Canaan took a 9-7 lead on goals by Matt Blasco and Bossidy.
Following suit, Ridgefield again got to within one on a goal by Wilkinson, but New Canaan again doubled its lead when Teddy Bossidy found Michael Bossidy to close out the scoring.
New Canaan came out flying in the third quarter, as four straight goals by Blasco, Jack Bratches, Blasco and Mike Bossidy tied the game at 5-5 less than six minutes into the period.
"We told these guys they needed to believe in each other and they needed to rely on each other," New Canaan coach Alex Whitten said. "At halftime, we didn't really make that many adjustments. We just said we needed to shoot the ball better and take care of it on offense and we'd be alright."
Ridgefield quickly regained the momentum by scoring a pair of goals courtesy of William Bonaparte and Sean Riley to take a 7-5 lead.
With time dwindling in the quarter, New Canaan's Kevin McDonough gained control of a ground ball and launched it downfield to Wesley Rhudy. Rhudy got the ball to Bossidy, who immediately passed to Puck Richardson for a short-range goal with only nine seconds reamining in the quarter, cutting New Canaan's deficit to 7-6.
"New Canaan was the team that wanted it more for four quarters. I could not be happier for Alex Whitten and that program," Ridgefield coach Roy Colsey said. "That group of kids had been on a tear and they deserved that win."
The first goal of the game belonged to Blasco, who scored less than four minutes into the opening quarter, but Ridgefield seized the momentum for the rest of the second half. The Tigers took a 2-1 lead by the end of the first quarter on goals by Eric Scala and Kelly. Ridgefield also dominated the second quarter and got a goal by Bonaparte and two by Scala.
New Canaan's four-goal halftime deficit set the stage for a dramatic championship-clinching second half.
"I think this team just never came up. Hunter Budd came up to me at halftime and said there was no way we were losing this game," Bossidy said. "The whole team just totally believed that. We never gave up and really dug deep in the second half."
New Canaan 11, Ridgefield 9
RIDGEFIELD 2 3 2 2--9
NEW CANAAN 1 0 5 5--11
Records: Ridgefield 14-4, New Canaan 15-3 (13-1 FCIAC).
Scoring: R--Eric Scala (3g), Sean Riley (2g), Sean Wilkinson (1g, 2a), Tim Kelly (1g), William Bonaparte (2g), Calvin Dearth (2a). NC--Michael Bossidy (4g, 1a), Matt Blasco (4g), Jack Bratches (1g), Puck Richardson (1g), Peter Kraus (1g, 2a), Teddy Bossidy (1a). Goalies: R--Adam Winne (8 saves); NC--Tom Carey (9). Shots: R--25; NC--28.