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Boys lacrosse: Trojans are Class S champs

Weston High’s Alex Crowell goes after a ground ball while St. Joseph’s Derek Jones gives chase during the state Class S boys lacrosse championship on Saturday, June 8. Weston won 9-8.—Rocco Paul Valluzzo photo

Weston High’s Alex Crowell goes after a ground ball while St. Joseph’s Derek Jones gives chase during the state Class S boys lacrosse championship on Saturday, June 8. Weston won 9-8.—Rocco Paul Valluzzo photo

At the beginning of the 2013 season a state Class S championship seemed a long shot for the Weston High boys lacrosse team.

The Trojans had not only graduated a number of key players since last year, they were smaller in terms of numbers. They did not have enough to field a JV team.

What Weston did have was desire. Despite ending the regular season with an 8-8 record and entering the tournament as the 15th seed the Trojans were up to the challenge, pulling off three straight upsets, including a 9-8 win over 13th-seeded St. Joseph of Trumbull in the championship last Saturday, June 8, at Brien McMahon High in Norwalk.

“I’m so proud of the way our kids played,” said Weston head coach John Mathews. “They never gave up.”

Throughout the tournament the Trojans kept their composure, even when their opponent threatened to take control of the game, as in the semifinals three days earlier against sixth-seeded Morgan of Clinton. Overcoming a one-goal deficit early in the third quarter, they outscored the competition the rest of the way for a 10-5 win at Fairfield-Ludlowe High.

Things started well enough for the Trojans with goals by Sean Fumai and Troy Flynn for a 2-0 first quarter lead last Wednesday. The Huskies, however, had the better of the possession in the next frame and eventually evened it up at 2-2 by halftime.

“Give credit to Morgan,” said Mathews. “They had the ball a lot in the second quarter. They were patient.”

Soon after Morgan took its only lead on a goal by Luke Alfand early in the second half the Trojans responded, both on attack as well as on defense. Austin Drimal, Flynn and Richie Miller came through in a five-goal run as Weston was ahead to stay.

Defensively, the Trojans held Morgan’s Nick Testoni and Chris Waterbury to a combined one goal the rest of the way.

“It’s a matter of the role players stepping up,” said Mathews. “That’s what they did today.”

Drimal led Weston with four goals. Flynn (one assist) and Miller each scored two. Sean Fumai netted one with five assists.

Grey Bradshaw-Mack and Eli Page each had an assist.

Grant Limone made 10 saves in goal for Weston.

The Trojans were patient early in Saturday’s final against St. Joseph and it paid off early as they went up 2-1 courtesy of goals by Flynn and Fumai. The Cadets struggled to maintain possession in the next frame, committing a number of turnovers. Taking advantage of these opportunities, Weston went on a four-goal run, capped off by a reverse shot by Miller with 1:26 remaining to give his team a 6-2 lead at halftime.

An entire second half remained and it was plenty of time for the Cadets to show they were not about to go away. Following a goal by Drimal to make it 7-2, St. Joseph won a number of face-offs and went on a 5-0 run in the time remaining and after three quarters it was a whole new game at 7-7.

“I said just relax, believe in one another,” Mathews told his team before the final frame. “The kids didn’t panic.”

Goals by Drimal and Fumai gave them some breathing room heading into the finals six minutes. Limone also came up with some key saves as the Trojans protected their lead.

“We played great,” he said. “The whole defense played great around me.”

It was actually Limone’s second state championship game this year. Also on the boys basketball team that lost in the Class M finals in March, he recalled how he and his teammates watched as Valley Regional received the championship trophy.

“The feeling after that game has been fueling me since Wednesday. “I didn’t want that to happen again.”

Although the Trojans were down a player at times due to a couple of penalties they again took advantage of some St. Joseph turnovers and held onto the ball in the time remaining. The Cadets did score again with 3.5 seconds to go but that was not enough time to get off one last shot, giving the Trojans their third Class S crown and first since 2010, when it also beat St. Joseph.

“It’s unbelievable,” said Fumai, who led Weston with three goals. He also had two assists.

Flynn, Miller and Drimal scored two each. Page and Oliver Parker each had an assist.

Limone had 15 saves for Weston, which finished the season at 14-9.

“They played well,” said Mathews They listened well. The kids grew up a lot.”

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