FAIRFIELD -- The New Canaan boys lacrosse team again put up big offensive numbers, beating Joel Barlow 15-1 in the Class M semifinals.
This win, though, was as much about the Rams defensive effort as it was about the goal scorers.
The Rams stick checked the Falcons all night, kept them away from the crease and when the occasional shot did get through, goalie Trent Nader was there to turn it aside.
New Canaan senior defenseman Seth Neeleman said the key to stopping Barlow containing its top threats.
"We have been practicing for these kids all year and we knew who their main weapons were and we were able to just focus on them," Neeleman said. "We were pressing up, being really aggressive and our communication was great and we were all on the same page on defense."
The No. 3 Rams will now get a third shot at border rival and No. 1 Darien Saturday in the championship game.
New Canaan has twice lost to unbeaten Darien in overtime this season.
"I think our defense is one of the best in the state and today was their best game all year," Buzzeo said. "You saw a lot of their sticks down on the ground and we are not necessarily a stick checking team. We were aggressive on the ball, which was good to see. Our clearing, which we have been working on for two weeks, was perfect. If you want to play a great team like Darien, you have to clear the ball. That's what killed us in the fourth quarter last time and that's what I was so angry about."
No. 7 Barlow -- which beat New Cannan in last year's semifinals -- kept pace with the Rams early, trailing 1-0 after one and 5-1 at halftime but got worn down by the Rams depth of substitutions.
"I think they have more horses than we do but in the first quarter I thought we would be able to hang with them," Barlow coach John Distler said. "We made mental errors and we could not generate any offense. Credit to their defense, we just couldn't get to the goal. Five to one at half is a respectable game but I knew if we had to play defense the entire second half this would happen."
Justin Meichner scored four goals, Henry Stanton added three and Michael Kraus had two for the Rams.
New Canaan 15, Joel Barlow 1
NEW CANAAN1 4 5 5--15
BARLOW0 1 0 0--1
Records: NC 16-3; JB--12-6
Goalies: NC--Trent Nader 5 saves; JB--Max Mossa 8 saves