The CIAC semifinals take place tomorrow at locations across the state, but Brien McMahons Jack Casagrande Field will play host to Connecticuts two marquee matchups the New Fairfield-Wilton clash in M and the Ridgefield-Prep rematch in L. Those are previewed below.
Before we preview today’s two marquee matchups, here’s Thursday’s schedule:
No. 1 Ridgefield vs. No. 12 Fairfield Prep, 7:15 p.m. at Brien McMahon-Norwalk
No. 6 Glastonbury vs. No. 7 Simsbury, 5:15 p.m. at Hall-West Hartford
No. 1 New Fairfield vs. No. 4 Wilton, 5 p.m. at Brien McMahon-Norwalk
No. 2 East Lyme vs. No. 3 Darien, 4:15 p.m. Guilford
No. 5 Ledyard vs. No. 9 Weston, 7 p.m. at West Haven
No. 2 Joel Barlow vs. No. 3 St. Joseph-Trumbull, 5 p.m. at Danbury
New Fairfield vs. Wilton
In its storied history, New Canaan has amassed eight state titles, eight FCIAC championships and 23 high school All Americans.
None of that mattered in the 10-2 thumping New Fairfield administered yesterday night.
Marty Morgans Rebels have made upending tradition a tradition unto itself, knifing through Class S and obliterating established programs like Joel Barlow and Daniel Hand in their storybook 08 run. This year, with a move to Class M, theyve set their sights on decidedly bigger game. So much so, in fact, that the trio of programs athwart their championship path has earned its own moniker in Connecticut lacrosse folklore: The Big Three.
And Wilton, tomorrows opponent, is the oldest and proudest of the trinity. But make no mistake the Warriors have present-day success to match their historical dominance. This years 15-5 campaign was highlighted by victories over Yorktown, New Canaan and Greenwich. Senior attackman Peter McMahon, meanwhile, is the sort of polished, Division 1-bound talent that the Rebels have not seen at attack this season; suffice it to say that his shot selection and feeding abilities were something New Canaan sorely lacked in the quarterfinals. At the other end, goalie James Fuller (who notched 25 saves in the Yorktown game) and Joe LaSala headline a stout defensive unit.
LaSalas abilities will be put to the test tomorrow, as Coach John Wiseman will likely task the 63 Washington & Lee recruit with corraling New Fairfields Andrew Fiamengo. The slippery attackman tallied a hat trick and three assists against New Canaan, and boasts 110 points on the season. As talented as Fiamengo is, though, the Rebels true trump card may not even be on the playing field. Coach Marty Morgan engineer of the programs meteoric rise churns out disciplined, team-oriented squads with regularity. Yesterday, his group did not commit a single penalty and evinced great hustle. There is little doubt that they will be prepared for Wilton.
Morgans counterpart has no illusions.
Theyre a good team, definitely says Wiseman, and its a good sign for the sport that teams we havent heard about before are winning games like that.
If the Rebels have their way, Darien coach Jeff Brameier will be saying the same thing before Saturdays championship game.
Prediction: Wilton, 10-8.
Ridgefield vs. Fairfield Prep
A year ago, at Brien McMahon High School, Fairfield Prep attackman Chase Bailey ended Ridgefields title aspirations with a point-blank shot in triple overtime.
This year, with a new coach (Syracuse great Roy Colsey) and a new motto (Unfinished Business), the Tigers hope to exorcise their championship demons. But they also carry a new burden: overwhelming favorites, courtesy of a 20-1 record, #13 national ranking and four Division 1-bound seniors.
Escaping the Jesuits will require superb play from all four of those seniors. On attack, Matt White and Colin Scott should score in bunches against an overmatched Prep defense. But at middie, Brendan Walsh and Matt Baker will square off against a talented Jesuit first line and it is here, in the center of the field, where the game will likely be won or lost.
Tucker Shanley is the big name: his nose for the goal (39 tallies) and athleticism were the main attractions for Ancient Eight power Princeton. These skills should also attract Ridgefield junior longpole Casey McKnight, who is typically tasked with covering opposing midfield threats. Added incentive for McKnight & Co. to control ground balls and win possession? The presence of attackmen Chase Bailey and Brendan Rotanz on Preps offensive end. If they are allowed to get going, the game could quickly devolve into a shootout.
Prediction: Ridgefield 13, Fairfield Prep 10.
Be sure to weigh in with your thoughts on predictions on all of Thursday’s games.
Reach Conor at email@example.com.
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