boys lacrosse Hard lesson for Rebels
FAIRFIELD — Draw. Goal. Draw. Goal.
It was a movie that wouldn’t stop playing for the New Fairfield boys lacrosse team in its matchup with the best of the best Thursday night.
St. Anthony’s of Long Island stamped its authority early and often, scoring nine times in the opening quarter to prevail 21-11 at Sacred Heart’s Campus Field. It was the first loss in 25 games for the Rebels, who scheduled the out-of-state power to test themselves against one of the best in the nation.
For a team that’s won the last three SWC titles, jumping out of its comfort zone was an eye-opening experience, but one that will provide more of a lesson as New Fairfield navigates a more difficult schedule this year.
“Their speed is unbelievable,” said New Fairfield coach Marty Morgan. “They out-hustled us and they were just flying around. They got to every ground ball; they were pressing out to the sidelines and our guys’ tongues were hanging out.”
The Friars entered the contest ranked No. 2 in the latest Under Armour/Inside Lacrosse national poll. They certainly showed why with future Division I players at virtually every position.
Duke commit Brennan O’Neill — one of the top players in the country, and who is just a junior — scored six times for the Friars while Phil Polo added four.
Friars UVA commit Jake Naso dominated the faceoff X, winning the majority of draws against a host of Rebels to prevent any hopes of a comeback. St. Anthony’s — which will host New Canaan on Saturday and Darien on April 28 — rotated lines in the second half with the win sealed.
“Our league isn’t good so we go out and try to play the Dariens and New Canaans of the world,” said Friars coach Keith Wieczorek. “We’ll play the top teams in the country just to give ourselves some work.”
Dylan Hanley fired a hat trick for the Rebels while Brett Tenaglia, John Morgan and Nick Alviti all scored twice.
The Rebels get a chance to rebound against another New York squad when Stepinac — which won 16-12 at Newtown a year ago — visits New Fairfield.
“I’m proud of my guys,” Marty Morgan said. “I kept them out there and they fought; this is how we’re going to get better, by playing great teams. They beat us in every category.”
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Brennan O’Neill, St. Anthony’s: Went 6-for-6 on shot attempts and finished with four assists.
It wasn’t the last game at Sacred Heart for Rebels senior John Morgan, who will attend the school to continue his career. Playing against a top team in the nation will serve as a lasting memory.
“It’s awesome, I love the experience,” Morgan said. “I thank the coaches from Sacred Heart from having our game here. … The experience of playing the No. 2 team in the country and somewhat putting up a dogfight in there was good to see.”
“We share the ball well, we play hard,” Wieczorek said. “There’s not a me on the team, there’s an us and a we. It’s good stuff; we’re very athletic, we can run if we’re given the opportunity. If we can run like that and share the ball, we will be tough.”
ST. ANTHONY’S 21,
NEW FAIRFIELD 11
ST. ANTHONY’S9 6 4 2 — 21
NEW FAIRFIELD2 3 2 4 — 11
Records: New Fairfield 2-1, St. Anthony’s 4-0. Scoring: SA—Phil Polo 4g, 2a Brennan O’Neill 6g, 4a Jake Bonomi 2g, 1a Andrew McAdorey 1g, 1a Dan Parker 2g Dylan D’Agastino 2g Michael Wieczorek 1g. NF—Dylan Hanley 3g, 1a Brett Tenaglia 2g John Morgan 2g Liam Ford 1g, 1a Nick Alviti 2g Nick Gephart 1g. Goalies: SA—Alex Pazienza (5 saves); NF—Brennan Hart (5 saves).