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Sunday, April 22 Sports

New Canaan spring sports open 2014

Yes, spring is finally in the air. But, more importantly, so are the lacrosse balls, batons, baseballs, softballs, tennis balls, and golf clubs.

Following the conclusion of the winter sports season, every New Canaan High School spring team began to hold try-outs and practices Monday for the first time in 2014. Most notably, Rams baseball returned to the diamond, after taking home the Class L title last June in a 3-0 victory over Waterford. The team's first game action will take place in a scrimmage at Stamford on Monday at 4 p.m. New Canaan's Opening Day is scheduled for Wednesday, April 9 at home against New Fairfield at 4:15 p.m.

Ram softball also laced up its cleats for the first time since last season's historic run. Behind All-FCIAC performers Ali Reilly, Jordan Ventura, Cydney Ventura and Courtney Rodgers, New Canaan topped St. Joseph 2-1 for the program's first conference title. Reilly is the lone returning player from the group. She posted a 9-4 recorded and 2.94 ERA and will likely toe the rubber in the Rams' opener at Fairfield Ludlowe on April 10 at 4:00 p.m.

On the lacrosse field, fellow FCIAC champions New Canaan boys lacrosse will welcome out-of-state Niskayuna High School on Saturday afternoon for a scrimmage at 3:15. One year ago, the Rams defeated Greenwich 8-5 in the FCIAC title game, before falling in the semifinals of the state tournament 5-4 to Joel Barlow. Meanwhile, the New Canaan girls lacrosse team cruised to a Connecticut Class M championship, outscoring opponents 57-20 during the state tournament. The Rams begin their quest to repeat on the road against Stamford on Wednesday April 9th.

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Over the same afternoon, girls tennis will begin its season with an away match against Falcons on April 9th. Last year, the Rams took Class L as a No. 10 seed, upsetting Fairfield Ludlowe in the final. The program has finished first or second in the FCAICs for every season since 2003.

Beginning this season, long-time FCIAC powerhouse New Canaan boys tennis will be under the new direction of first-year head coach Ben Young, who took over for Dan Borgman, the program's previous leader of 42 years. The Rams are slated to open 2014 at home against Fairfield Ludlowe on April 9th.

One day later, Rams boys track will race for the first time on its home course against St. Joseph's. While New Canaan and Darien have split the last eight FCIAC East crowns, the Rams now hope to top perennial conference contenders Danbury and Staples for the overall championship this season. The program last claimed a boys track conference title in 1973. New Canaan girls track opens its season on April 9th against St. Joseph's in a head-to-head away meet.

Sophomore Justin Clark figures to lead the boys golf team, following the departure of fellow All-FCIAC honoree Will Essigs. Last season, the pair captained the Rams to a second-place finish in the Division II championship, behind only Daniel Hand. New Canaan has registered in the top two of every Division II playoff since 2009. The team will tee off on April 9 against Trumbull at 3:15 p.m. Two-time state champion Rams girls golf will begin play one day later at Darien.

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Finally, New Canaan boys volleyball is scheduled to open its year with three consecutive scrimmages. The Rams will battle Ridgefield on Saturday morning at 9:00, before moving onto Masuk and Cheshire on Tuesday and Thursday, respectively. The team starts its regular season schedule on Friday, April 11, against Bassick at 4 p.m.