By John Goralski
It took the Glastonbury defenseman a herculean effort to free himself in the waning minutes of the first half, but he looked upfield to see a streaking attackman sprint across the 50-yard line. The pass was perfect. The timing was well-rehearsed, but a Southington player seemed to materialize out of thin air to intercept it.
Jarod DeFeo wasted no time in starting another Southington attack, and Glastonbury’s defenseman struck the turf in frustration. The Tomahawks were struggling to put away the pesky Knights.
“We made very few mistakes in that first half, and you really can’t make mistakes against a team like this,” said Blue Knight lacrosse coach Ron Chase. “Our enthusiasm was there. The effort was there. The energy was there. These guys have really come together over the last few weeks, and I’m proud of them for it.”
On paper, Glastonbury was the clear favorite. The perennial powerhouse had rattled off eight consecutive wins to claw their way into striking distance of the conference crown. Southington had dropped out of contention with three losses in their previous five games, but the Knights weren’t about to go quietly.
Southington erased an early 2-0 deficit to race into halftime with a commanding 6-3 lead.
“That first half was some of the best lacrosse that we played all year, absolutely,” said Chase. “They scored twice quickly, but we came back. We got things together, and we really started playing.”
The lead held for much of the third quarter, but a four-goal flurry in the waning minutes gave Glastonbury another two-goal lead. For the second time in the game, Southington battled back. Chris Gamber and DeFeo collected three goals apiece. Kevin Cop fought off double teams to score twice with three assists.
Southington tied the game again, 8-8, but Glastonbury regained the lead. The Tomahawks held on for a 10-8 victory, but Chase gathered his team at midfield to praise them for their effort.
“Some of our own mistakes hurt us in the second half, but our kids never gave up. That was clear,” said the coach. “That’s become the best thing about this team. They just play. They continue to play hard until the end, and that’s all you can ask for. Yeah, I’m disappointed that we lost, but on the other hand I couldn’t be more proud of these guys for never giving up. When Glastonbury went on that 4-0 run, we still managed to tie it up. A lot of teams would have just gone in the tank.”
Southington was hoping that an upset would spark another conference tournament surge like last season, and if Glastonbury can topple Simsbury on Tuesday things could get interesting. With a win over Newington at the end of the week and a victory over South Windsor at the start, the Knights clawed their way to a No. 3 seed in the CCC West rankings.
The Knights will face the winner of Simsbury and Glastonbury on Wednesday, May 28 in the conference semifinals. Southington could have a chance to avenge their loss or upset Simsbury to win a berth in the conference finals on Thursday.
Either way, it should prepare the Knights for the upcoming Class L tournament.
“Who knows? We may see them next week in the CCC tournament,” said Chase. “That would be fun.”
South Windsor win
Kevin Cop peppered the Bobcats with six scores. Chris Gamber added two more. On Monday, May 19, the Knights rallied to an 8-1 lead at the end of the first half and held on for a 13-4 win.
Jared Florian, Mike Majczak, Nick Zukauskas, Aiden Chubet and Matt Natelli scored goals for the Knights. Cop, Florian, and Jared DeFeo collected three assists apiece.
Steve Hamel and Majczak added solo assists. Brian Mahon and Dan Saucier combined for 18 saves, and the Knights scored their first back-to-back victories since late April.
DeFeo scored five times with two assists. Florian scored three times, and Cop added two more. On Thursday, May 22, the Knights wrapped up their season with a 15-5 win over Newington.
With the win, the Knights improved to 10-6 overall (3-3 in the CCC West).
Alex Jamele, Gamber, Natelli, Jordan Corey, and Chubet each scored goals for the Knights. Saucier collected 17 saves to get the win.
The Knights are tied with Brien McMahon for 12th place in the Class L standings.
To comment on this story or to contact sports writer John Goralski, email him at jgoralski@ southingtonobserver.com.