Prep lacrosse advances to 'L' final for sixth straight year
Even on a night when the Fairfield Prep boys lacrosse team may not have played its best game, it was still enough for the Jesuits to win.
And it was still enough for Prep to get back to the Class L state championship game.
The fourth-seeded Jesuits were out-shot 36-25, but sophomore Connor Kelly fired home three goals and Prep advanced to its sixth straight state final with a 7-2 win over No. 8 Simsbury on Wednesday night at Brien McMahon High School.
"It's nice to have the opportunity to play on Saturday," Prep coach Chris Smalkais said. "It's nice to be able to represent Fairfield Prep in a state championship contest."
The Jesuits will play sixth-seeded Ridgefield on Saturday at McMahon at 3:30 p.m. The Tigers and Jesuits have met three years in a row in the state playoffs with Prep winning all three times.
"They're well-coached and they have a good team," Smalkais said of Ridgefield. "We look forward to the opportunity to play them."
Prep will also look to avenge a loss in the state championship from a year ago. The Jesuits were defeated by SCC rival Cheshire, 9-8, in the Class L final.
"I remember watching (Cheshire) holding up the state finals cup," Kelly said. "I hope we can take it back to Prep."
The Jesuits frustrated the Trojans at every turn offensively. Simsbury fired shots on goal, but did not beat Prep's junior goalie Mike Seelye until four minutes into the fourth quarter. Seelye made 17 saves in the game.
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"Our team was well prepared for what they were going to do offensively," Smalkais said. "I thought our goaltender played great again."
Prep was also the beneficiary of Simsbury hitting the post four times in the game.
"I got lucky and they hit the pipe," Seelye said. "I think our defense as a whole was frustrating them."
Prep did not score in droves either, but Kelly tallied the first three scores of the game, giving the Jesuits a 3-0 advantage into halftime.
"We had a matchup that we liked and I got a few open shots," Kelly said. "And, I made the most of them."
The Jesuits opened the game up in the third quarter, scoring three times as sophomores Tim Edmonds and Kevin Brown and junior Matt Brophy potted tallies. Brown added a goal in the fourth quarter to cap Prep's scoring.
"I've been very proud of this group of how they've grown as a collective group," Smalkais said.