The momentum had shifted, and everyone watching the Division L boys lacrosse semifinal between Fairfield Prep and Simsbury could sense it.
The Trojans had clawed back to tie the game, were a man-up and seemed poised to end Prep's seven years of dominance over them.
Yet, the Jesuits did not loosen their stranglehold, but sent the frustrated Trojans packing again.
No. 5 Prep scored seven of the next eight tallies, building a six-goal advantage, and held on for a 10-7 win over top-seeded Simsbury on Wednesday afternoon at Robert J. McKee Stadium in West Hartford.
"We knew we had to pick it up," Prep junior attack Tim Edmonds said. "We picked it up and started scoring goals out there."
The Jesuits advanced to Saturday's Division L state championship game for the seventh straight year while finishing Simsbury's season for the sixth time in that stretch. Prep will play Ridgefield at McMahon at 1:30 p.m. in the final.
"I would never lie and say that we're not frustrated losing to Prep," Simsbury coach Jim Martocchio said. "It's frustrating every year ... when it counts we seem to come up short every time."
Senior attack Matt Brophy scored four goals and Edmonds notched three goals and two assists for Prep. The Jesuits will vie for their first title since 2009, having lost by a single-goal in each of the last two championship games.
"We're hoping for a different result," Edmonds said.
Senior Trevor Gallagher scored five goals, including one with 6.3 seconds remaining in the first half, cutting Prep's lead to 3-2. Sophomore Mason Burr potted a goal just 1:52 into the second, tying the game.
"Hats off to them, they competed," Prep coach Chris Smalkais said. "But we've been battle-tested."
After sophomore Austin Sims was shipped to the box for an illegal body check just 32 seconds later, Simsbury seemed poised to take control.
But Brophy stole the ball in Prep's defensive zone, and broke out in transition. The senior attack found Kevin Brown, who passed to Edmonds, who beat Simsbury goalie Tim Maher, for a man-down goal that put Prep up 4-3.
"We got in transition," Smalkais said. "We had good ball movement."
Brophy scored just 26 seconds later, lifting Prep's advantage to 5-3. Brown added Prep's third goal in 1:20, putting the Jesuits up 6-3.
"We know they go on runs," Martocchio said. "They're capable of that."
Simsbury's Eric Hesketh cut the Prep advantage to two after three. But Brophy, Edmonds and Brown scored three goals in a 1:02 stretch of the fourth quarter that lifted the Jesuits' advantage to 9-4.
"We were having efficiency problems," Brophy said. "We started to get more opportunities and we cashed in on them."
After Brophy scored four minutes later, lifting Prep's lead to 10-4, Gallagher scored quickly off the faceoff, cutting it back to five. Gallagher added two more goals, making it 10-7 with 2:22 left, but the Trojans could not muster a goal after that.
"We answered," Martocchio said. "But it was too little, too late."
Division L lacrosse semifinal at Conard
FAIRFIELD PREP 2 1 3 4--10
SIMSBURY 0 2 2 3--7
Records: Fairfield Prep 18-3; Simsbury 18-2. Scoring: FP--Tim Edmonds (3g, 2a), Matt Brophy (4g), Kevin Brown (3g, 1a), David White (2a); S--Trevor Gallagher (5g), Eric Hesketh (1g, 3a), Mason Burr (1g), Evan Ruszala (1a); Goalies: FP--Mike Seelye (6 saves); S--Tim Maher (6); Shots: FP--19, SHS--26.