New Canaan rolls to win over Guilford
NEW CANAAN -- After its disheartening loss two weeks ago to rival Darien in the FCIAC semifinals coach Chip Buzzeo and the New Canaan boys lacrosse team realized it had some work to do.
Just a couple short weeks later the Rams find themselves back on track and in the Class M semifinals after downing No. 10 Guilford 15-2 Saturday in the quarterfinals at Dunning Stadium.
"We are feeling good, we're having fun, I think the boys have responded really well," Rams coach Chip Buzzeo said of the change in demeanor following the Darien loss. "The first week after the loss we changed things up, we put them through some really hard workouts -- one day we had no lacrosse and did a field day, pushing tires and bands and running with parachutes and I think we found our competitive drive that we were missing a little bit."
That drive has certainly propelled the No. 2 Rams, who will face No. 10 Wilton on Wednesday at a site and time to be determined.
In the first two rounds of the tournament the Rams have out scored their opponents (Guilford, Foran) by a combined total of 34-3.
"We're feeling great right now, the past two weeks we've really been focusing on having fun and playing together," Ram senior captain Michael Kraus said. "We're playing as one unit not as individuals and I think that's why we're playing so well."
That unit got goals from eight different players Saturday, including one from Kraus and hat tricks from Owen Toland, Ryan O'Connell and Peter Swindell. The Rams led 12-0 at the half and promptly went to their substitutes allowing them some game action on the big stage.
"The last two games we've been able to play 40-45 players," Buzzeo said. "And these younger guys that are going through this journey with the senior class are learning. We play a lot of young players and they're very good."
Four of the New Canaan goals came from sophomores, O'Connell and Jack Hoelzer, with juniors contributing seven from Swindell, Kyle Smith (2), Jed Fuller and Clayton Burt.
Guilford's strikes both came in the second half on unassisted goals from Frank Ranfone and John Altieri.
Even if the Rams achieve their ultimate goal of a state tite, Saturday's was the last that will be played at Dunning Stadium for the seniors.
"There's definitely some emotions," said Kraus, both a football and lacrosse star for the Rams. "I've been playing on this field since kindergarten but it's a great way to go out -- with a win like this."
New Canaan 15, Guilford 2
GUILFORD 0 0 2 0--2
NEW CANAAN 6 6 2 1--15
Scoring: G--Frank Ranfone 1 goal, John Altieri 1g; NC--Clayton Burt 1g 1 assist, Peter Swindell 3g, Ryan O'Connell 3g, Owen Toland 3g, Jack Hoelzer 1g, Michael Kraus 1g, Kyle Smith 2g, Jed Fuller 1g, Justin Meichner 2a. Goalies: G--James Bright (5 saves); NC--Drew Morris (9), Teddy Hood (1). Shots: G--19; NC--26.