By Scott Ericson
NEW CANAAN— Many teams have players run sprints after games, and 99 percent of the time it is nothing but a bunch of players going through he motions to fulfill an obligation.
When the No. 3 New Canaan boys lacrosse defensemen ran their sprints after beating No. 11 New Fairfield 16-1 in the CIAC Class M quarterfinals, they ran as if it were the first day of tryouts and they were desperate to make the team.
It is all part of a singular focus for the Rams, a switch that was flipped after losing in the FCIAC semifinals.
“You see these defensemen running sprints after the game? They are running hard,” New Canaan coach Chip Buzzeo said. “These guys want Darien and that’s why they are running like that. They are working so hard and are all focused on one thing. This was a good team we played today, but they came out in a zone and we play well against zones and we were able to get up 9-0 before they switched out of it.”
Before New Canaan can meet Darien in the final it first has to get over the hurdle where it stumbled in last year’s tournament, the semifinals.
The Rams lost to Joel Barlow 5-4 in overtime in last season’s semifinals and would love to avenge that loss prior to getting another shot at the Blue Wave.
The Rams will face none other than No. 7 Barlow in Wednesday’s 7:15 semifinals at Ludlowe in Fairfield. No. 1 Darien will take on No. 13 Daniel Hand in the opening game of the double header at 5.
Being able to beat Barlow would be important for these Rams for reasons more than just making the final.
“Getting Barlow is great because, winning that game would be for the kids who graduated last year,” New Canaan senior Cole Turpin said. “It was upsetting that we lost last year and it’s always good to get another shot at them. And if we get Darien, they are going to see a different team because we have so much animosity and in practice, we are playing Darien.”
Turpin said the team has never felt more locked in.
“We know what we want and all we can think about is next Saturday,” Turpin said. “We too (the night of the FCIAC loss) and kind of were upset but we the next day we flipped a switch and knew what we needed to do. Winning our last game would be a storybook ending for the seniors.”
Turpin scored once as 11 different Rams tallied goals with Henry Stanton and Kyle Smith leading the way with three apiece.
New Fairfield got on the board late in the third quarter on a goal by Jake Ryan. Read Full Article
New Fairfield coach Marty Morgan said New Canaan is a strong team at every position while noting his team lacked the experience to compete.
“They have seniors and upperclassmen and top to bottom they are good. Lefty, righty, it doesn’t matter what position,” Morgan said. “The depth, the faceoffs, it doesn’t matter they dominated us. We needed to do little things like picking up groundballs and getting good shots but we didn’t do that. Playing defense the whole game, eventually it is hard to stop them.”
New Canaan 16, New Fairfield 1
NEW CANAAN7 4 3 2—16
NEW FAIRFIELD0 0 1 0—1
Records: NC 15-3; NF – 10-8
Scoring: NC – Henry Stanton 3g, 1a; Kyle Smith 3g; Justin Meichner 1g, 1a; Seth Neelman 1a; Owen Toland 1g; Eric Nowell 1g; Michael Kraus 1g; Robby Paul 1g; Cole Turpin 1g; Ryan O’Connell 1g; Clayton Burt 2g; Colin Ahrens 1g; Bobby DiRocco 1g. NF – Jake Ryan 1g. Goalies: NC – Trent Nader 3 saves; Drew Morris 0 saves; NF – Christian Benzing 5 saves