New Canaan holds off Fairfield Prep in boys lacrosse
FAIRFIELD — Possession can be destiny in lacrosse, particularly when two good teams aren’t going to trade sloppy turnovers. It told the tale of the first half Saturday night as New Canaan built a lead.
A few well-timed forced turnovers, on the other hand, can make all the difference. They did for the Rams at Rafferty Stadium, keeping Fairfield Prep from ever getting even in a 12-10 win by New Canaan.
“In practice that’s one of the big things we focus on,” Rams senior defender James Crovatto said. “doing enough small things right.”
The runs went back and forth with New Canaan (5-3) taking leads of 7-1, 9-6 at halftime and 12-7 late in the third quarter.
“We got off to a little bit of a slow start,” said Fairfield Prep coach Graham Niemi, whose team is 4-3. “Faceoffs hurt us. Some things we talked about doing on defense, we didn’t do. We got down.”
But they came back, and it turned into a good game between two teams that are perennially in the postseason mix in the state, New Canaan in the FCIAC and Class M, Fairfield Prep in the SCC and Class L.
“It was definitely a game of momentum swings, and I’m glad we pulled it out,” New Canaan coach Chip Buzzeo said. “It was a really fun game. I’m glad the boys had the experience of playing in this beautiful stadium. Now we’re on to some big FCIAC games.”
The Rams have Staples and No.1 Darien this week. The Jesuits visit Cheshire on Monday with seven of their last nine against SCC Division I opponents.
“I like where we are,” Buzzeo said. “We’re going to get a couple of guys back from injury, especially Nick.”
The first half swung almost exactly with faceoff control. New Canaan built that 7-1 lead off it early in the second quarter.
“But I also thought we were shooting phenomenally, too,” Buzzeo said, and those seven goals came on 14 shots, eight of them on target. “That was efficiency we probably hadn’t had in a long time, and they were good shots on a good goalie (Finn O’Connor).”
Violations at the X handed the Jesuits the ball in the second, and they roared back with five straight goals.
James Crovatto forced a turnover after that five-goal run, sending the Rams back on offense for the first time in a while. Graham Braden and Ryan O’Connell scored 47 seconds apart to give New Canaan a three-goal lead at halftime.
Some adjustments helped the Jesuits get back into it. They wanted to deny New Canaan’s Jack Hoelzer and O’Connell good looks from the outside; that didn’t happen early on.
“They’re a really good team,” Niemi said. “As a program, we want to be one of the better teams in the state. That’s what we’re shooting for. They were a little better than us today.”
The Rams remained 5-0 against CIAC competition with losses to two out-of-state teams and Brunswick.
“We’re feeling good,” Crovatto said. “We’ve had a few tough games early, but we’re all learning. It’s better to play tough teams than an easier schedule.”
NEW CANAAN 12,
FAIRFIELD PREP 10
NEW CANAAN6 3 3 0—12
FAIRFIELD PREP1 5 2 2—10
Records: New Canaan 5-3; Fairfield Prep 4-3
Scoring: NC—Ryan O’Connell 3 goals, 2 assists; Jackson Appelt 2g, 2a; Jack Hoelzer 3g; Graham Braden 1g, 1a; Ben Conley 1g; Daniel Villeneuve 1g; Owen Shin 1g. FP—Chris Brown 4g, 1a; Mitch Savoca 4g; Mason Reale 2a; Ethan Grandolfo 1g; Jae Stuhlman 1g. Goalies: NC—Drew Morris (7 saves); FP—Finn O’Connor (5); Shots: NC—32; FP—30