NEWTOWN -- Just how stacked is the Class L boys lacrosse field? Stacked enough that either the recently crowned SWC Division I or SCC champions would be one-and-done in the state tournament.
Far from satisfied after its fourth straight SCC title game victory on Thursday, Fairfield Prep took the first step to a state crown, besting Newtown 8-1 Wednesday afternoon at Newtown High School to advance to the quarterfinals.
"We have to be consistent coming into the playoffs, and we're just trying to be fundamentally sound all the way around," Fairfield Prep's Burke Smith said. "We've got to be playing our best lacrosse whether it's the first round or the championship game."
Fairfield's win sets up an away tilt with No. 2 Greenwich on Saturday at 3 p.m.
The Jesuits topped the Cardinals 12-11 on April 24 and also ousted Greenwich from the 2012 Class L tournament with a 15-5 win in the first round en route to winning the title.
"We have some history with them. They're very good, they're very well coached and it will be a real challenge for us to defeat those guys," Fairfield Prep coach Chris Smalkais said. "We just went on a nice run at a certain point (in the last win over Greenwich), and it allowed us to play with a lot of momentum."
Fairfield Prep was just 4:41 shy of pitching a shutout when Newtown's Alec Beauchemin scored the game's final goal after receiving a pass from Jack Condon, but the Jesuits made it very difficult for the Nighthawks to create scoring chances.
"I was feeling pretty hot today," said Fairfield Prep starting goalie John O'Connor, who made six saves and did not allow a goal. "We were getting set up and ready for their dodges and their cutters. We were talking out there, so we were prepared for whatever they had."
True to form, the Jesuits spread out the scoring, as their first five goals came from five different sticks. Freshman Chris Brown had a big day, scoring a goal and dishing out a pair of assists.
"We've never been a team where one guy scores all the goals," Smith said. "We depend on a lot of different guys every single day to contribute, and that's one of the things that makes us unique."
Seventh-seeded Newtown (12-5) knew it had a tough draw when it saw 10th-seeded Fairfield Prep (12-5) in the Class L bracket, but coach Glenn Adams welcomed the challenge.
"It was a tough draw, but that's what we want," Adams said. "We don't want to come in and play games that we can win easily; we want to play the teams that are the best teams. That's one of the best teams in the state. We came out here ready to play. They played a good game, we gave them everything we had and they won. That's the way it is."
Newtown was sure to have its hands full against the two-time defending Class L champs, but the task was made that much more daunting due to the absence of Jake Ball, one of the Nighthawks' top offensive threats.
Ball, 18, was arrested on Sunday for allegedly hitting his girlfriend and was subsequently charged with third-degree assault and second-degree breech of peace. Read Full Article
Newtown coach Glenn Adams declined comment on the matter but is encouraged with where Newtown lacrosse is headed.
"Our guys weren't really just dodging with the mindset of scoring like they could go ahead and play against these guys," Adams said. "I don't think they were more athletic than us. We've had a couple years where we've had some success, and we're still working on getting guys ready to play at this level."
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Fairfield Prep 8, Newtown 1
FAIRFIELD PREP 3 1 3 1--8
NEWTOWN 0 0 0 1--1
Records: Fairfield Prep 12-5; Newtown 12-5.
Scoring: FP -- John Edmonds 2g, Chris Brown 1g, 2a; Austin Sims 2g; Teddy Long 2g; Stephen Walsh 1g; Burke Smith 1a; N -- Alec Beauchemin 1g; Jack Condon 1a. Goalies: FP -- John O'Connor (6 saves), Logan Cotter (1 save); N -- Jonathan Rospenda (9 saves). Shots: FP -- 22; N -- 15.