Fairfield Warde preserved its first-ever win over Fairfield Ludlowe in boys lacrosse on Tuesday night at Taft Field when Mustangs' goalie Jason Nerreau made his final save with 14 seconds left. Nerreau, a senior captain, did more than protect Warde's 5-4 away victory. He made it possible.
Though his defenders in front of him -- senior captains Brian Kerrigan and Greg Adams and sophomore Jake Fuss -- provided the perfect mix of patience, aggressiveness and mobility with proper positioning for lockdown coverage, it was Nerreau who was there to deny the Falcons' shooters. Some of his 14 saves were acrobatic or came on shots from close range.
Warde improved to 5-3 overall with its third straight win. The Falcons, who had limited Warde to two goals in each of the last three cross-town meetings, dropped to 3-5 overall with their third loss in a row. The Mustangs' history-setting win left Warde at 4-3 in the FCIAC and Ludlowe at 1-4 in the conference.
Four unanswered goals by the Mustangs -- after Ludlowe had taken a 2-1 lead on a man-up goal 3 minutes and 10 seconds into the second quarter -- gave them a 5-2 advantage with 87 seconds remaining in the third quarter. Ludlowe's Loren Tobey scored in the final 26 seconds of the period to cut the Falcons' deficit to 5-3 entering the fourth quarter. Trevor Demilt, of the Falcons, scored midway through the fourth quarter to reduced Warde's lead to the narrowest of margins.
After it was 5-4, Nerreau made three saves before the final half-minute. Two other Ludlowe shots were fired wide in the final push to get the equalizer.
"Jason Nerreau came up huge for us," Warde coach Tom Cunningham said. "Ludlowe got some good looks but he (Nerreau) was there. Everyone was outstanding but the seniors led the way. It was all about the seniors tonight."
Ludlowe coach Chris Parisi acknowledged Nerreau's stellar play, but he knew Warde's effort was senior driven. "My hat's off to them," Parisi said. "They (Warde seniors) are a talented group that's worked hard the past four years. They finally got theirs.
"Jason Nerreau was a little too much tonight," Parisi said. "It's a game of fraction of inches. They made one more play than we did."
Neither team was crisp at the game's start with errant throws, dropped passes and ground balls that weren't scooped up. Cunningham attributed that to the emotion of the rivalry. Once each team settled down, though, Warde took a little better care of the ball and had more possession time in the second and third quarters. In the final 12 minutes, when Ludlowe was in rally mode, the Falcons had more of the ball.
"In the first quarter, we were sluggish on the ground balls but we picked it up after that," Cunningham said. "Our defense was phenomenal. Ludlowe put a lot of pressure on us. They forced us to make some mistakes, but we came up with the plays."
Austin Armas scored the only goal of the first quarter, giving Warde a 1-0 lead with 82 seconds left in the period. Demilt's first goal, set up by Matt Doyle, tied it at 1-1 in the third minute of the second quarter, then Riley Larson fed Graham Browne for the Falcons' extra man goal 62 seconds later. That was Ludlowe's first and only lead of the game.
Warde's rally, over a span of 18:56 bridging the second and third quarters, came on goals from four players -- seniors Kyle Scheetz, Mike Adams and Austin Armas in the second period and junior Brendan King in the third quarter.
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Fairfield Warde 5, Fairfield Ludlowe 4
FAIRFIELD WARDE 1 3 1 0--5
FAIRFIELD LUDLOWE 0 2 1 1--4
Records: Fairfield Warde 5-3-0, 4-3-0 FCIAC; Fairfield Ludlowe 3-5-0, 1-4-0 FCIAC. Scoring: FW--Austin Armas 2 goals, 1 assist, Mike Adams (1g, 1a), Brendan King (1g, 1a), Kyle Scheetz (1g), Gareth Gacetta (1a); FL--Trevor Demilt (2g), Riley Larson (2a), Matt Doyle (1a), Graham Browne (1g), Loren Tobey (1g). Goalies: FW--Jason Nerreau (14 saves); FL--John Carey (5). Shots: FW--17; FL--16.