Fairfield Prep lax rolls past Greenwich
The Greenwich boys lacrosse team has every right to be excited about next season. With all but two starters set to return next spring, including the four freshmen and the handful of sophomores who played prominent roles in Wednesday’s Class L state tournament game against Fairfield Prep, the future does indeed seem bright.
“I have great aspirations for these guys,” Greenwich head coach Scott Bulkley said. “Except for one or two kids, we have our whole team back for the next three years. They got some great experience this year and it’s only going to make them better. It’s going to make us hungry.”
For Fairfield Prep, it’s all about now.
Attempting to reach a state championship game for the seventh straight season, the fifth-seeded Jesuits started fast and rolled to a 15-5 victory over No. 12 Greenwich at Alumni Field in Fairfield.
Senior Matt Brophy scored five goals and assisted one other while sophomore Austin Sims added four goals and one assist to lead Fairfield Prep (13-3), which took leads of 4-0 after the first quarter and 7-1 at halftime then handed the game over to a solid defense anchored by senior Conor Barr and senior goalie Mike Seelye (11 saves).
“Getting off to a fast start us huge for us,” Brophy said. “We have a lot of confidence in our defense. We have a really good defense and a really athletic goalie. Getting a lead then letting our defense settle in is something that can definitely win us some big games.”
Fairfield Prep, which outscored Greenwich 8-4 in the second half and finished with a 34-27 advantage in shots and a 25-22 edge in ground balls, will face its second straight FCIAC opponent when it battles No. 13 Staples (10-8) Saturday in the quarterfinals.
The Wreckers posted an 11-4 victory over No. 4 Norwich Free Academy in the first round on Wednesday.
“We’ve had a lot of ups and downs this season,” Brophy said. “So we knew we had to come to play in the first round against Greenwich. Now we just have to take it one game at a time.”
Fairfield Prep, the Southern Connecticut Conference champions, have been to the Class L state championship game every year since the CIAC switched to the current three-division format. The Jesuits won four straight Class L titles before losing in the finals the last two seasons.
“We would like to be playing three more lacrosse games,” Fairfield Prep head coach Chris Smalkais said.
Although they come from different conferences, the Jesuits and Cardinals have developed quite a rivalry, meeting it he state tournament four times over the past seven years.
The Jesuits have won all four games, including a victory in the 2007 championship.
“I definitely think it’s a little bit of a rivalry,” Brophy said. “It’s two of the bigger programs in Connecticut and New England. Darien, New Canaan and Wilton aren’t in our class (L), so for us Greenwich is a big game every year.”
Although they’ve been on the wrong end of the rivalry, the Cardinals feel the same way.
“I think it’s already a big rivalry,” said Bulkley, whose team finished the season with a 9-9 overall record. “Any time you play a good program like Prep you want to measure yourself against them. They’re consistently good and that’s what we’re trying to be.”
Greenwich junior Graham Savio had an outstanding afternoon in the faceoff circle, winning 16 of the 20 draws he took. But the Cardinals consistently turned the ball over without getting a shot.
Fairfield Prep had the experience to counter with a goal on the other end on countless occasions.
“It was a tough matchup because we’re young and they have a lot of really good seniors,” said Bulkley, who was called for two sideline misconduct penalties. “They were very physical with us. At some point we pushed back, but we’re young. And at times it showed.”
Greenwich was still within earshot at halftime, but the Jesuits scored four unanswered goals to take an insurmountable 11-1 lead. Two of those goals came with a man advantage as Greenwich was flagged for 4:30 in penalties in the third quarter.
Kevin Brown also had a nice day on offense for Prep, registering two goals and two assists. Sean Henry, Tim Edmonds and David White all added a goal and one assist while freshman John Edwards notched a late goal for the Jesuits.
Decker Curran and Alex Moeser collected two goals and two assists each for the Cardinals while Kevin Davis, Will Gibian and Mike Ellsworth all had one assist each.
Greenwich goalie William Waesche made eight saves in his second game since taking over for injured starter Ryan Fisher.