By BRIAN JENNINGS
The Blue Knights lacrosse team completed their regular season with two wins to push themselves into the top four in their conference and earn a spot in the CCC tournament. As the Knights prepare for the postseason, Southington coach Ron Chase said that a lot of his younger guys have been stepping up to fill the roles of experienced varsity players out with injuries.
“It’s tough when you count on some guys out there, and they’re not out there,” the coach said. “but the younger guys like Colton Brown and Ryan Mailhot have really stepped up in the attack unit. I pulled Austin Leland and Hunter Forest off of the JV team last week.”
Now, the Knights will turn their attention to the postseason as they test their mettle against the top team in the conference before turning their sights on the state brackets.
Push Past Pomperaug
Southington set out for Southbury on Wednesday, May 18 where the Knights defeated Pomperaug, 15-9. The Knights were up 6-3 lead heading into halftime, and extended their lead to five, 10-5, by the end of the third quarter.
Colton Brown, Ryan Mailhot, and Jake Testa (5 assists) marshaled the Knights attack with three goals each. Jarod Florian trailed with a pair of scores, and Mike Majchrzak (2 assists), Matt Gundersen, Chris Pestillo, and Matt Thompson all contributed with a goal. Justin Nogueira also assisted a goal.
Brandon Porter came up with nine saves in the cage for the Knights. Southington outshot Pomperaug 32-18.
The Knights returned to their home turf a couple days later to defeat Avon, 8-5, in their regular season finale, which assured them a spot in the conference tournament.
Florian and Testa paced the Knights with a pair of goals each. Mailhot and Majchrzak both added to the scoring with a goal as well. Porter saved 16 shots on goal.
“Every practice, we work on the little things,” said Chase. “We do some of the little things right and we still do some of the little things wrong. Whether it’s giving up those couple goals on defense and getting frustrated or throwing the ball up and over under two minutes, we just have to keep working on it.”
The No.4 Knights (9-7) are scheduled to travel to Westminster School to play top-seeded Simsbury (15-1) in the semifinals of the CCC Central tournament on Tuesday, May 24. Simsbury is second in Class L.
“It’s a good tune-up,” the coach said. “If you want to get far in the tournament, you have to play the best. Simsbury is one of the top three teams in the state right now. It’s good experience for our guys to see the level and speed we need to play at.”
No. 2 Glastonbury (14-2) will host No. 3 Conard (10-6) on the other side of the CCC Central Region.
Southington finished 2-3 in the CCC Central and 15th in Class L.
“I’m proud of the guys for coming together and putting together the wins that we needed to get us to where we are,” said Chase.
Now comes the fun part.