Long's saves, McGoldrick's goals lead Fairfield Prep lacrosse to semis

FAIRFIELD -- That disjointed Fairfield Prep team of the past few weeks seems to have disappeared. The team that showed up Saturday at Alumni Field looked like a team building toward something.

The Jesuits' team defense allowed Gil Long to make 14 saves, and Griff McGoldrick's five goals helped Fairfield Prep to a 9-7 win over Greenwich in the Division L boys lacrosse quarterfinals.

"It was a really emotional game for me," Long said. "It's our last game here on this field. I didn't want to go out on a loss."

Long made six of his 14 saves in the third quarter as Greenwich fired 15 shots toward the net.

"That was one of the best goaltending performances we've had here in a number of years," Jesuits coach Chris Smalkais said. "He's played well all season, but he played poorly in the league championship (a 13-5 loss to Cheshire). He really responded today."

The fourth-seeded Jesuits (16-5), two wins away from a fifth consecutive state title, will face top-seeded Staples on Tuesday at a site and time to be announced.

Fairfield Prep led for most of the first half, but the Cardinals came back to tie it twice, at 6 in the third quarter and at 7 midway through the fourth.

Brendan Rotanz gave the Jesuits an 8-7 lead 51 seconds later off Connor Byrne's setup. McGoldrick scored off a steal 46 seconds after that.

"When they tied it up, there was certainly a lot of pressure on me," Long said. "I wanted to stop the next shot, get the ball back up to the offense and let them get a goal, and that's what they did."

The Jesuits scored some in transition, but they were also more patient and precise in the offensive end than they had been in some recent games. Except for the last, straight off a turnover, every Jesuits goal had an assist; Mike Carey had three of them.

Smalkais gave credit to McGoldrick, and not only, he said, for the senior's on-field production.

"He decided, in the last couple of games, he really wanted to make a difference in games," Smalkais said.

McGoldrick had enough of losing: "They really hurt a lot," he said. "We wanted to leave everything on the field."

Defenders threw bodychecks and got defensive position to limit the Cardinals' time and space.

"We took advantage of what they gave us in the game, offensively and defensively," Smalkais said. "We limited their scoring chances from close to the goal."

GREENWICH..............................1 2 3 1--7

FAIRFIELD PREP.......................2 3 2 2--9

Records: Greenwich 12-7; Fairfield Prep 16-5

Scoring: G--Pete Cabrera (1 goal, 1 assist), Colin Dunster (1g, 1a), Dan Palmer (1g), Eric Foote (1g), Dave Fraser (1g), Todd Stafford (1g), Alec Webster (1g); FP--Griff McGoldrick (5g, 1a), Brendan Rotanz (2g, 1a), Tyler Cox (1g), Kevin Brown (1g), Mike Carey (3a), Connor Byrne (2a), Darric White (1a); Goalies: G--Daniel Feeney (4 saves); FP--Gil Long (14); Shots: G--39; FP--23.