Class L Boys Lacrosse
Fairfield Prep 10, Simsbury 7
At Robert J. McKee Stadium, West HartfordFairfield Prep (15-3) 2 1 3 4 – 10
Simsbury (17-2) 0 2 2 3 – 7
First quarter – 1. FP, Tim Edmonds 3:52; 2. FP, Kevin Brown (David White) 7:37.
Second quarter – 3. S, Trevor Gallagher (Eric Hesketh) 12:08; 4. FP, Matt Brophy 19:28; 5. S, Gallagher 23:54
Third quarter – 6. S, Mason Burr (Evan Ruszala) 25:52; 7. FP, Edmonds (Brown) 27:18; 8. FP, Brophy 27:42; 9. FP, Brown 28:38; 10. S, Hesketh 24:58.
Fourth quarter – 11. FP, Brophy (White) 38:12; 12. FP, Edmonds (White) 38:50; 13. FP, Brown (Edmonds) 39:14; 14. FP, Brophy (Edmonds) 43:03; 15. S, Gallagher 43:09; 16. S, Gallagher (Hesketh) 43:42; 17. S, Gallagher (John Ryan) 45:38.
Saves – FP, Mike Seelye 6; S, Tim Maher 6. Shots – S, 26-19. Ground balls – FP, 26-18.
By Ken Lipshez
WEST HARTFORD – Lacrosse wasn’t invented in Connecticut but if someone wanted to build a state shrine, the campus of Fairfield Prep would be a likely spot.
The Jesuits came into the Class L tournament having been in the final game last six years running. Of their three losses this season, two have been to powerful out-of-state teams.
So when Simsbury wrested away the momentum after a sluggish first quarter and tied the game shortly after the halftime break, the notion of upset coursed through Trojan hearts.
As it turned out, such notions were very short-lived.
The fifth-seeded Jesuits responded by bunching three goals in just over a minute’s time Wednesday to oust the Trojans, 10-7, in a semifinal skirmish at Conard’s Robert J. McKee Stadium.
Simsbury, the top seed in the tournament, finished at 17-2. Fairfield Prep (15-3) moves into the familiar territory of playing for a state title on Saturday.
“I would never lie and say that we’re not frustrated losing to Prep because it’s frustrating every year,” Simsbury coach Jim Martocchio said. “We’ve had ups and downs with them. We’ve beaten them a couple of times in the regular season but when it counts, we seem to come up short every time. You’re got to play a perfect game of lacrosse to beat a team like that.”
Matt Brophy had four goals for the Jesuits. Tim Edmonds had three goals and two assists, Kevin Brown and three and one and David White contributed three helpers.
For Simsbury, Trevor Gallagher scored five goals. Eric Hesketh had a goal and two assists.
Martocchio and most of his players took the loss in stride, savoring the challenge and anxious for another crack at the downstate powerhouse that draws talent from multiple towns in the region.
“They bring kids from different towns to play and it’s hard to compete with that, working with one [town],” Hesketh said. “We wish we could have beaten them, but I’m not going to hang my head over the loss. They’re a pretty explosive team. When they get on a run they’re hard to stop.”
Prep dominated the first quarter and entered the second quarter with a two-goal lead, but the Trojans answered assertively. Hesketh took the opening draw, stormed down the center of the field and set up Gallagher just eight seconds in.
Brophy responded for Prep, but Gallagher made an aggressive inside roll and eluded a defender to bring Simsbury within a goal just six seconds before intermission.
Mason Burr tied the game when he gathered a pass from Evan Ruszala two minutes into the second half. It lit a blaze under the Jesuits. Edmonds, Brophy and Brown scored in rapid-fire succession within a span of 1 minute, 20 seconds to gain a 6-3 lead.
Hesketh reeled in an errant pass near midfield, rushed up the center of the field and rammed it under the crossbar with just over a minute left in the quarter, but the Jesuits countered in decisive fashion. Whtie assisted on goals by Brophy and Edmonds. Edmonds fed Brown for another and Brophy for a fourth unanswered tally that gave Prep a 10-4 lead with under five minutes remaining.
Gallagher scored three times down the stretch but the Jesuits proved too tough once again.
“The level of competition that we play through the season – beating Chaminade (N.Y.), we should have beaten St. Anthony’s (N.Y.) – and they’re two of the top high school teams in the country. So we’ve been battle-tested,” Prep coach Chris Smalkais said. We’ve played in a lot of great games where we know that if we can elevate our level of play, we can be successful. We played the most difficult schedule in Connecticut and it seems to work for us on an annual basis.”
The Jesuits’s sticky defense made advancing the ball difficult in Simsbury’s offensive zone.
“Their long-stick middie [Conor Barr] and their close defenseman [Andrew Hatton] – we knew all day we didn’t want to go on [Barr],” Martocchio said. “He takes your best player right out of the game.”