WATERTOWN - It‚Äôs been a special season for the St. Paul boys lacrosse team and Thursday the Falcons captured their first WCLC title with a 18-16 win over Lewis Mills at Watertown High School.
The win was another step in the right direction for a program that‚Äôs been out to prove the progress made this season is for real.
‚ÄúWe were turning heads through this whole journey but nobody thought it was legit,‚ÄĚ St. Paul junior attackman Kevin Ashworth said. ‚ÄúEveryone thought, ‚Äėoh they played poor competition so they‚Äôre not legit,‚Äô and they look down on us. And that just makes us work harder as a team because we don‚Äôt want people looking down on us. We want to prove all the haters wrong.‚ÄĚ
From the first whistle, senior captain Chris Dionne made it known the Falcons weren‚Äôt going to be an easy out for the Spartans.
Dionne was dominant at the face-off and St. Paul controlled time of possession for the majority of the first quarter.
Freshman standout attackman Brycen Kennedy got the Falcons rolling with his ability to put the ball in the net.
Kennedy scored the first three goals of the game for St. Paul and got the team off to a 3-1 advantage. Two of his goals came in the first three minutes of the game.
Tucker Raymond and Ashworth each added goals to give the Falcons an early 5-1 lead.
Kennedy, Raymond and Ashworth have been one of the most dominant attack trios the state has to offer.
The three combined for 10 of the 18 goals in the game. Kennedy had five, Ashworth had three and Raymond had two. John Ivers also scored four times and Dionne added three.
Kennedy, Ashworth and Raymond also combined to tally 12 assists.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôre such a strong offensive trio,‚ÄĚ Raymond said. ‚ÄúWe haven‚Äôt found one team with three good enough defenders to play us. We‚Äôre just lucky to have the ability for the three of us to all play on the field at one time.‚ÄĚ
At the end of the first quarter the four-goal advantage for St. Paul stood, as the Falcons held a 7-3 lead after one.
The Spartans started the second quarter like the Falcons did the first.
Lewis Mills dominated time of possession and put in five of the first six goals of the second quarter to tie the game 8-8.
It was the first test of the game for the Falcons and they responded. Ashworth netted the final two goals of the half to put St. Paul back up a pair, 10-8.
‚ÄúIt goes to show how strong we are together,‚ÄĚ Dionne said. ‚ÄúWe were down and we had to pick it back up. Everybody on the field stepped it up. We all worked together, made sure there was a difference in the game and picked it back up.‚ÄĚ
The Falcons didn‚Äôt give up the lead the rest of the game. St. Paul extended it to 15-10 at the end of the third quarter. Kennedy and Dionne each had a pair of goals and Ivers added the final goal of the frame, as the Falcons took a 15-10 lead into the final quarter of play.
Lewis Mills scored six of the nine goals in the fourth quarter but the Falcons had room to work with and the clock was on their side.
St. Paul, the No. 1 seed in the Class S tournament, will host its first state tournament game next Wednesday at 4:30 p.m.
The Falcons will take on the winner of the play-in game between Montville and Tolland.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôre super excited. We‚Äôve never had a home tournament game at St. Paul,‚ÄĚ Falcons coach Chris Kennedy said. ‚ÄúWe‚Äôre excited to show St. Paul Catholic and the city of Bristol the brand of lacrosse that we play in a home CIAC tournament game. We‚Äôve never hosted one, we‚Äôve never won one and we want to check those boxes off and continue to move forward.‚ÄĚ
The tournament will be another opportunity for the Falcons to prove they have arrived on the Connecticut lacrosse scene and with strengths at each grade level, there‚Äôs plenty ahead for the St. Paul boys lacrosse program.
But this team doesn‚Äôt have its eyes set on the future. For the Falcons, this is their year and they‚Äôre out to show just that.
‚ÄúThis year we‚Äôre checking off boxes,‚ÄĚ the freshman Kennedy said. ‚ÄúWe‚Äôve never gone this far. We‚Äôve never won the WCLC tournament, we‚Äôve never hosted a home game in the Class S tournament. Most teams wouldn‚Äôt have expected us to do this this year. We‚Äôre going to be a sleeper coming into the state tournament. We like that.‚ÄĚ
Dan Orencole can be reached at¬†860-973-1811 or¬† firstname.lastname@example.org