BRISTOL - The St. Paul boys lacrosse teamâ€™s first state semifinal in program history did not go as planned Wednesday evening as the fourth-seeded Falcons welcomed 17th-seeded St. Joseph to Bristol and fell to the Cadets 20-5.
St. Joseph entered this game after just dethroning top-seeded New Fairfield over the weekend and are now looking to win its third Class S title in a row. St. Paulâ€™s year ends with a conference championship and a historic win over Somers to reach this semifinal game.
â€śWe had a lot of young guys make young-guy mistakes,â€ť St. Paul coach Chris Kennedy said. â€ś This is a stage thatâ€™s very different, this is a team thatâ€™s very different. Our regular season schedule, as difficult as we try to make it, I donâ€™t think that my younger guys experienced the game quite at this level. They dropped a lot of balls that they donâ€™t normally, they didnâ€™t get some ground balls that we normally get.â€ť
The Cadets had a dominant advantage in the center of the field, winning nearly every faceoff in the game controlling possession with ease. They built a 7-2 lead in the first quarter behind a balanced, quick and complex offensive attack that overwhelmed the Falconsâ€™ defense. St. Josephâ€™s passing created quality scoring chases near the net repeatedly as the St. Paul defense struggled to keep up.
Ryan Daly, Eric Burbank and Joshua Newall were the primary scorers during this early run and throughout the game. Daly finished the day with nine points on seven goals and two assists while Burbank and Newall each had six-point performances.
The Falcons only found the net once in the second quarter and let the Cadets double their lead, entering halftime with a 15-3 score. St. Josephâ€™s offense did whatever it wanted to while St. Paul faced issues moving the ball and finding open shots. St. Joseph goaltender Max Kimmel finished the game with just two saves as he only saw 15 shots from the Falcons.
â€śI think a lot of time between the boxes weâ€™re a tougher team, but we got out-toughed in between the boxes today when it came to ground balls, dropping passes, a lot of simple mistakes, especially clearing the ball in the first half,â€ť senior Brycen Kennedy said.
Freshman Tyson Raymond was the only multi-goal scorer for St. Paul, notching two in the contest while senior Christian Decker led the team in points with four (one goal, three assists).
The game slowed down after halftime as the teams combined for seven goals in the final 24 minutes of play. The score was 18-5 after three quarters and then the Falcons were held scoreless in the final period en route to a 20-5 final score.
â€śSomething that we tried to stress throughout halftime was making sure that we were catching passes, protecting our sticks and not throwing the ball away,â€ť Brycen Kennedy said. â€śIn the second half, it didnâ€™t seem like we were able to fix that completely and we still struggled with that.â€ť