Greenwich golden in class L lacrosse finals, wreck Staples 13-10

The Greenwich boys lacrosse team gave the school a great present to end the school year with, as the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference class L championship trophy is sitting in the trophy case at 10 Hillside Avenue.

Coming out quickly to start the class L championship game held at Brien McMahon’s Jack Casagrande Field, Big Red built an early lead against Staples High School in the second of three lacrosse title games on the day and never looked back, going on to the 13-10 victory that set off a wild celebration on the field.

“Wow,” said GHS senior Kyle Foote, who sustained an injury during the FCIAC championship game against Darien High School and was unable to play in the class L finals. “It’s the most incredible moment of my career to date. I’ve been here for four years and never have seen a group of guys bond like these guys have. They battled. We have out-of-control talent. The whole day was really special for me and to top it off with a championship is even better.”

With the victory, Bulkley brought home a championship to Greenwich High for the first time in school history. Back in 2007, Big Red competed in the class L championship game but fell to Fairfield Prep 10-9. Greenwich’s first appearance in the state title game was back in 1997, when it fell to Darien High School 14-8.

“I was so happy for my guys when time ran out,” Bulkley said. “I’ve been to the championship game before with Darien and know what it feels like to win. I was so happy for the kids to get that same feeling that I had. They worked so hard all season. Most of these guys have been starters with me for three years. For them to be together for that long, it means the world to me to see them happy. Their hard work had paid off.”

For Greenwich, no one was better in the championship game than Luke Finneran, as the senior finished with four goals and three assists. Not to be outdone was sophomore Will Perry, who added the hat trick. Senior Jaime Paradise pitched in with two goals and three assists.

“This is an amazing feeling right now,” Paradise said. “It’s a little surreal. We’ve been saying all year that we wanted to make history at the school. We wanted to end the season on a high note and I think we accomplished that today. We ended the season in a pile, which is what we did.”

In addition to the Greenwich trio, junior Decker Curran added a goal and two assists, while senior Ryan Flippin finished with a goal and an assist. Sophomore Bobby Goggin and senior Jack Nail rounded out the scoring for the Cards.

“We had an unbelievable state journey and beat a lot of great teams,” Flippin said. “We worked hard throughout the playoffs and the regular season. We were euphoric to win that last game. We are drilled our offense nonstop so that we are all on the same page. Our defense played hard and everybody wanted to win. We knew we could do it, but it was all about executing.”

Staples was led by Will Johnson, who finished with a team-high three goals. Patrick Lesch added two goals.

In net, Greenwich High junior Tommy Rogan finished with 12 saves on the day, while his counterpart Cole Gendals grabbed seven saves for the Wreckers.

Throughout the season and into the postseason, Bulkley was stressing to his team that they needed to get off to a quick start. That’s exactly what happened in the championship game.

Less than 90 seconds into the game, the GHS trio of Goggin, Flippin and senior Sam Saleeby each had good looks at the net, but Gendals was able to make the saves on all three.

However a few seconds later, Big Red busted through. Goggin gained possession of the ball and passed to Paradise. Paradise ran to the front of the net, beat the Wrecker’s defense, stopped for a brief second and faked out the Staples’ goalie for the 1-0 lead with 10:04 left in the first.

Less than a minute later, Greenwich struck again, as Flippin fired a shot from the top of the circle and found the back of the net.

Paradise scored his second goal of the game with 3:31 to play in the opening quarter, as he drilled a shot low that got past Gendals and rolled into the back of the cage for the 3-0 advantage.

The Cardinals weren’t finished, as Paradise dished the ball to Finneran on the right side of the cage and he buried the shot with 46.1 seconds to play and gave Big Red the 4-0 lead through one quarter.

“We didn’t need to motivate the team,” Bulkley said. “We were playing in the state championship game in lacrosse. We were going to play hard right from the start no matter who we played. We thought we could get some good looks out of what we were running. We left a couple there at the beginning and I thought we could have put more up on the board, but Staples is a good team and has a good goalie. You have to put your shots where they are supposed to be and I thought we did that for the most part.”

Although Greenwich built the quick 4-0 lead, Staples was far from finished. With only 1:48 gone by in the second quarter, the Wreckers quickly cut the deficit to 4-3, as Pete Blevins, Williams and Tucker Bobrow each stepped up their game.

However, every time the Wreckers inched closer, Big Red responded. With the score 6-5 on a man-up goal to start the second half, Greenwich’s Nail came back from taking a penalty, darted down the field, gained possession of the ball on the fly and buried his shot to make the score 7-5 with 8:16 to play in the third.

Again Staples cut into the lead as Johnson struck again on another man-up goal two minutes later. That was the closest Staples would get, as Greenwich’s Finneran was there to fire a missile into the back of the cage from 10 yards out to give GHS the 8-6 lead with 2:44 left in the third.

A blistering shot on net by Will Perry that found the back left corner of the net made the score 9-6 with one quarter to play.

“It’s a little surreal right now,” GHS senior defender Jack Harrington said. “I started out playing with most of these guys since third grade in the GYL. It’s rare to come up through the ranks with the same guys. A lot of us seniors started on the team our sophomore year that didn’t do so well, so to come back and bring the first state championship to Greenwich is really special.”

“We had a great season and some great coaches,” Foote said. “I couldn’t be happier that this season panned out the way it did. We’ve been waiting a long time for this moment and it was a huge moment. The best part was being here to share it with all these guys.”

Greenwich finished its season with a 20-3 record, while Staples, which ended Big Red’s season last season, fell to 15-6 overall.

“It’s a totally different feeling right now,” Harrington said. “Greenwich and Staples is a great rivalry. When we found out that they were going to be on the other side of the bracket this year, we kind of predicted that they would be in the championship game. We knew we had to focus on beating Fairfield Prep and Ridgefield to get to this point and play Staples. We were looking for revenge this year against Staples and our guys executed.”

By participating in the comments section of this site you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and User Agreement

© Hersam Acorn. All rights reserved. The Greenwich Post, 10 Corbin Drive, Floor 3, Darien, CT 06820

Designed by WPSHOWER

Powered by WordPress