John Wiseman had a dream last night.
“We were playing Yorktown,” said the former Wilton standout who is now the Warriors’ first-year head coach. “And we won 9-6.”
But here’s where it gets interesting.
It wasn’t the 2009 Warriors that beat Yorktown in Wiseman’s dream. It was he and his former Wilton teammates in their old-school attire.
“We had some great games,” Wiseman said. “I played against (Yorktown coach) Dave Marr’s brother (University at Albany coach Scott Marr) and those great Yorktown teams.”
Last night, the Warriors faced another great Yorktown team. One that entered its regular-season finale ranked No. 2 in the latest LaxLessons.com regional rankings and No. 8 in the Under Armour/Inside Lacrosse national rankings.
And yesterday, Wilton pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the season, stunning the ‘Huskers 8-6 to win the Jim Turnbull Cup at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Wilton.
“This is the biggest win we’ve had here in years,” said Providence-bound goaltender James Fuller, who had 25 saves. “I can’t even believe we did that. We have 26 players, but our motto is, ‘One team, one dream.’ ”
Wiseman’s dream besides the one he had last night, of course was to revive a Wilton program that was once the king of Fairfield County lacrosse and one of the nation’s premier powers.
But in recent years, the Warriors unhappily became an afterthought in the county, taking a backseat to Darien, Greenwich, New Canaan and Ridgefield.
Enter Wiseman, who, like many former Wilton stars, played at Duke. His mission was simple. Restore pride to a program that has won a jaw-dropping 20 state titles and 13 FCIAC championships.
After dropping games to Ridgefield 15-4 and Darien 8-4 early in the season, the Warriors reeled off eight straight wins. But on Saturday, Wilton lost 19-10 to a St. Anthony’s team Yorktown defeated 14-10.
What’s more, Yorktown entered tonight’s game with a nine-game win streak and with just one loss to Ward Melville (also, coincidentally, by the same 8-6 score).
Few could have expected what happened tonight.
So, how did the Warriors do it?
In addition to Fuller’s magnificent performance, the Warriors got two goals and two assists from Bryant University-bound attackman Pete McMahon.
McMahon’s goal with 8:07 remaining in the game was the winner, giving Wilton a 7-6 lead. Two minutes earlier, Hopkins-bound senior attackman John Ranagan tied it at 6-6 for Yorktown. Ranagan finished with three goals. Tom Casey, Ty Schuldt and Ethan Fox also scored goals for Yorktown. Goaltender Michael Bonitatibus made eight saves. Hopkins-bound junior attackman Kevin Interlicchio was limited to two assists even though he was not shut off.
“(Washington & Lee-bound senior) Joe LaSala is the best defenseman in Connecticut,” Wiseman said of the player assigned to guard Interlicchio. “Even though Ranagan had three goals, (defenseman) Scott Thompson did a great job on him.”
It was a win that accomplished many things for Wilton.
For starters, it has shown the program is back and clearly one of the top in the region. And with the energetic, man-on-a-mission Wiseman at the helm, it’s hard to imagine Wilton not staying there.
It has also shown that those who view the battle for the FCIAC title as a two-horse race between Ridgefield and Darien should re-think that premise.
“We play well together as a team,” Wiseman said. “We’re not a team with any superstars, but we play as a team.”
Reach Joe Lombardi at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted In: Fairfield lacrosse