By BRIAN JENNINGS
The Blue Knights lacrosse team might have suffered an early exit in the CCC Central tournament, but they kept their season alive with a win in the qualifying round of the Class L tournament over the weekend.
The 15th-seeded Knights hosted No. 18 Fairfield Warde on Saturday, May 28, for the qualifying round of the Class L tournament, and came away with a close victory, 9-8.
The teams matched each other with two goals apiece in the first two quarters to head into halftime with the score knotted, 4-4. The Knights took control after the break to take a 7-6 lead after the third quarter and held on for the win.
“We emptied the bench and everyone was on the field. We had guys playing a little bit out of position today, just because we needed the legs,” said Blue Knight coach Ron Chase. “We had a nice talk at halftime though, and they answered the challenge.”
Thompson and Testa (1 assist) marshaled the offensive attack with a pair of goals each. Jarod Florian (1 assist), Ryan Mailhot (1 assist), and Colton Brown all contributed with a goal. Mike Majchrzak led the team with five assists and Brandon Slade scooped up eight ground balls.
Brandon Porter saved 11 shots on goal for the Knights in the cage. Southington took 40 shots on goal and committed five penalties.
Still, the Knights were challenged late in the game after Majchrzak and Tyler Roecker extended the Knights’ lead to three. The Mustangs cut the deficit to one with 1:04 remaining in the game, but could not complete the rally.
“There were some questionable calls here and there, and we left a guy open on the crease,” said Chase. “But we had guys make big plays when we needed it, and that’s what wins games.”
The Knights prepped for their tournament contest with a short trip to the conference tournament to face state powerhouse Simsbury in the semifinals of the CCC Central tournament. The top-ranked Trojans won easily, 10-3, but it prepped the Knights for their state tournament win.
“We had an unbelievable game defensively,” said Chase. “We were trying to plug the holes on offense with guys that have been injured for the last month.”
Majchrzak (1 assist) paced the Knights with a pair of scores. Testa contributed with a goal. Bryce Lynch recovered four ground balls.
Porter and Evan Bumbera combined for 13 saved shots on goal. Southington took seven shots on goal and committed eight penalties.
Now, the Knights (10-7) will get another shot at an upset as they travel back to No. 2 Simsbury (15-1) on Wednesday for the second round.
“It’s going to come down to running the offense, being smart, and dodging hard,” the coach said. “They have a great defense, so we just have to be smarter, run harder, and handle better.”