By David Fierro
A team’s natural reaction after suffering a tough loss is to want to get right back on the field for a game the next day. Yet in the case of the Greenwich High School boys lacrosse team, waiting five days to play again after losing to Darien in the FCIAC Tournament finals was probably a positive.
The Cardinals had several days to get over the disappointing defeat and come to the realization that they would be without star midfielder Kyle Foote, who sustained an Achilles tendon injury against Darien, for the remainder of the season. Back in action Wednesday, Greenwich showed how focused it was after recharging its batteries for five days.
Senior attack Luke Finneran and sophomore Will Perry each recorded hat tricks for second-seeded Greenwich in its convincing 12-4 victory over No. 18 Fairfield Ludlowe in the first round of the CIAC Class L Tournament at Cardinal Stadium. The Cardinals (17-3) advanced to Saturday’s 3 p.m. quarterfinals where they will host 10th-seeded rival Fairfield Prep.
“Greenwich-Fairfield Prep is always a good game,” Cardinals coach Scott Bulkley said. “I’m sure they will come here ready to play and so will we.”
The Cardinals coaching staff and players took the field Wednesday with Foote, one of the team’s captains, in mind. The coaches wore Foote’s No. 3 on the back of their Greenwich Lacrosse T-shirts and Foote’s teammates were eager to step up in his absence.
“Whenever you have a loss like the one we had against Darien, you want to get right back at it, but with the emotional situation of losing Kyle — he had successful surgery yesterday (Tuesday) — it was probably good timing that we didn’t play again until today,” Bulkley said.
Senior attack Sam Saleeby and Perry replaced Foote on the first line and they responded, with Saleeby tallying twice and Perry scoring three goals.
“Sam Saleeby and Will Perry did a good job of stepping up on the first line,” Bulkley said. “They did a really good job the whole game.”
Goals from sophomore Bobby Goggin, Finneran and junior attackman Decker Curran gave the Cardinals a 3-0 lead 4:06 into the first quarter. Junior Lorin Tobey scored for the Falcons 47 seconds into the second quarter, cutting Greenwich’s advantage to 3-1, but the Cards posted six unanswered goals to enter halftime with a commanding 9-1 edge.
“The key for us is to come out flying all the time,” Saleeby said. “When we get up on teams, we keep our stamina going throughout the game. But when we don’t do that it doesn’t work in our favor. It’s very important for people to step up into bigger roles.”
Junior James Tooher put a perimeter shot past Ludlowe senior goalie John Carey, Perry scored off a feed from Saleeby and Tooher tallied again off a Finneran pass, putting Ludlowe in a 6-1 hole. Consecutive goals from Saleeby, the second of which, came off a well-executed pass from senior Ryan Flippin, made it 8-1.
The Falcons dropped a 6-5 decision to the Cards a year ago and were edged by GHS, 11-10 in 2012.
“We have a young team this year after we graduated 22 seniors from last year’s team,” Ludlowe coach Chris Parisi said. “Our young kids have to learn from games like this — from playing the elite teams.”
Parisi, whose Falcons have been a mainstay in the state tournament, was impressed with Greenwich’s execution offensively.
“We knew what we were getting down here,” said Parisi, whose Falcons played a zone defense for most of the game. “Greenwich has a dynamic offense with so many kids who can shoot the lights out. They have a lot of guys who can step up and fill roles.”
When the Falcons had possession, defenders Jack Harrington, Nick Schepis and Griffin Tiedy and midfielders Danny Colligan and Cole Perry made it difficult for them to get open shots on goal. Cardinals junior goalie Tommy Rogan registered nine saves, five of which came during the second half, and Mike Sullivan won 11 faceoffs.
“Our short sticks were also playing well, sliding, communicating and going all out,” Schepis said.
Sophomore Riley Larson and junior Jack Dailey also scored for Ludlowe, which received eight saves in goal from Carey. Greenwich now shifts its focus to Fairfield Prep, a team it’s 1-5 against dating back to the 2011 season, with two of the losses coming in the state tournament.
“I can’t wait to play Fairfield Prep,” Schepis said. “The first game we lost by one goal, but this game we aren’t going to hold anything back. Some of the seniors on the team haven’t beaten Fairfield Prep their whole career, so every senior wants this and the juniors realize the magnitude of this game.”
GREENWICH 12, LUDLOWE 4
LUDLOWE 0 1 1 2 — 4
GREENWICH 3 6 1 2 — 12
Records: Greenwich 17-3; Ludlowe 8-10.
Scoring: FL — Lorin Tobey (2 g); Riley Larson (1 g); Jack Dailey (1 g); Matthew Doyle (1 a); G — Luke Finneran (3 g, 1 a); James Tooher (2 g); Bobby Goggin (1 g); Decker Curran (1 g, 2 a); Will Perry (3 g); Sam Saleeby (2 g, 1 a); Ryan Flippin (3 a); Alec Oropall (1 a). Goalies: FL — John Carey (8 saves); G — Tommy Rogan (9 saves).