CIAC Boys Lacrosse Tournament Outlook: Players, Storylines to Watch

 

(Mara Lavitt - New Haven Register)

(Mara Lavitt – New Haven Register)

[Pairings / Results]

BRACKETS: CLASS L | CLASS M | CLASS S

Players to Watch

  • Will Bonaparte, Sr., Ridgefield, Midfield: He contributes in every phase of the game and is one of the top face-off specialists in the state. Dominating ball possession will be the key to a long run for the Tigers in the CIAC Class L tournament. He will play lacrosse at Maryland.
  • Jack Harrington, Sr., Greenwich, Defender: One of the top recruited defenders in the state will play lacrosse at Duke.
  • Phil Huffard, Sr., Darien, Goalie: The three-year starter has been one of the reasons the Blue Wave are strong on defense and went 16-0 in the regular season. Adept at stopping close and long-range shots, he will play lacrosse at Yale.
  • Grant Limone, Sr., Weston, Goalie: The 2013 All-American and No. 2 ranked goalie recruit in the nation by InsideLacrosse.com combines size (6-foot-3) and aggressiveness to dominate between the pipes. He led Weston to the 2013 CIAC Class S title (8-7 win over St. Joseph) and will play lacrosse at Loyola.
  • Austin Sims, Sr., Fairfield Prep, Midfield: Has 45 goals including three in the recent SCC tournament semifinals (11-5 win over Amity) and two in the SCC championship game (8-5 win over Guilford). Helped the Jesuits win their second straight Class L title last season. Will play lacrosse at Princeton.
(Arnold Gold-New Haven Register)  Darien boys lacrosse goalie Phil Huffard is photographed at practice on 5/14/2014.

(Arnold Gold-New Haven Register) Darien boys lacrosse goalie Phil Huffard is photographed at practice on 5/14/2014.

Storylines To Watch

1. Can anyone beat CIAC Class M No. 1 seed Darien?

Plot line: Last season, the Blue Wave lost in the FCIAC tournament semifinals and the Class M quarterfinals and those losses have put the Blue Wave on a mission to make amends for those losses this season. Depth, talent and a complete team effort have led the Blue Wave to a 19-0 record. They advanced to the FCIAC tournament final and defeated Greenwich 11-6 on Friday.

You should know: One team that has pushed Darien to the limit in 2014 is New Canaan. Darien beat New Canaan in the regular season 11-10 in overtime and 12-11 in overtime in the FCIAC semifinals.

2. No. 10 seed Fairfield Prep gears up for third straight Class L title

Plot line: The Jesuits have the talent to beat any team in the Class L tournament and are coming off an 8-5 win over Guilford in the SCC tournament championship game.But they need to overcome the sluggish starts they had in the SCC tournament with identical 2-2 scores after the first quarter in both games against Amity in the semis and Guilford in the final.

Prep will likely face Greenwich in the quarterfinals and if the Jesuits move on should face Ridgefield in the semifinals. These are talented FCIAC teams that can take advantage of slow starts by Prep.

You should know: Only state team that has beaten Prep this season is New Canaan, which is in the Class M tournament.

3. SCC teams will make postseason interesting

Plot line: In addition to Prep, SCC teams Amity and Xavier in Class L and Foran, Guilford, Hand, North Haven and Notre Dame-West Haven in Class M are all improved and have solid coaching to make a decent run in their respective tournaments. Each team has its strength and talent including multi-sport athletes.

You should know: North Haven has been the only SCC team besides Prep to be ranked in the Register/GameTimeCT Top 10 poll this season and the Indians have been ninth or 10th most of the season.

4. FCIAC has scary-good talent

Plot line: In addition to Darien, other FCIAC teams that will be tough to beat are Greenwich, Ridgefield and Staples in Class L, New Canaan in Class M and St. Joseph in Class S. Playing in the FCIAC these teams have a built-in strength of schedule that always prepares them for the postseason. They also have elite talent with each team boasting multiple players with early commitments to play lacrosse in college.

You should know: In the last 11 years at least one FCIAC team has won a CIAC state title each season.

5. Class S wide open

Plot line: While defending Class S champion Weston has one of the best goalies in the state with Grant Limone, the Trojans have struggled at times scoring goals against quality competition.

This opens the door for several teams to win the title like St. Joseph, a seasoned Class S team appearing the Class S final four of the last five seasons. Northern teams Granby and Somers and talented Shoreline Conference teams Old Lyme, Valley Regional and Morgan have a chance to advance to the final.

You should know: The only Class S team to go unbeaten in the regular season this season is top seed Lewis Mills (16-0), a team that has never advanced as far as the state championship game.

Tournament Outlook

Class L

Overview: No. 10 seed Fairfield Prep, the two-time defending champion, is the team to beat led by middie Austin Sims and attackmen Burke Smith and John Edmonds. The only teams that can compete with Prep are those from the FCIAC – No. 2 Greenwich, No. 3 Ridgefield and No. 9 Staples.

Upsets on the horizon: This really wouldn’t be much of an upset but No. 9 Staples should easily handle No. 8 Hall in the first round.

Final Four: Staples, No. 5 Amity, Fairfield Prep, Ridgefield

Champion: Prep defeats Staples. The only state team to beat Prep this season is New Canaan and the Rams are in Class M.

Class M

Overview: No. 1 Darien seems destined to face No. 3 New Canaan in the final for a third matchup this season. It would be a rematch of the 2012 Class M final that Darien won 11-5. This season the Rams have been one of the toughest competitors for the Blue Wave. Darien defeated New Canaan 11-10 in OT in the regular season and 12-11 in OT in the FCIAC semifinals.

Upsets on the horizon: This might be a stretch, but there is something about Foran coach Brian Adkins and his adeptness at post-season game planning that has me thinking the Lions will give New Canaan a tough battle if they meet in the quarterfinals.

Final Four: Darien, No. 4 North Haven, No. 7 Barlow, New Canaan

Champion: Darien defeats New Canaan a third time, this time the Blue Wave win 16-15 in two overtimes.

Class S

Overview: If No. 13 Weston can improve its scoring and dominate ball possession, the Trojans will roll to their second straight title. No. 8 St. Joseph is the wild card here with its strength of schedule and strong starting players. The Shoreline Conference is always a wild card as a league because one team always seems to come up with a decent post-season run.

Upsets on the horizon: In the quarterfinals St. Joseph should have no problem with No. 1 Lewis Mills.

Final Four: St. Joseph, Weston, No. 7 Brookfield, No. 3 Old Lyme

Champion: St. Joseph defeats Brookfield.

Comments

  1. The Dude says

    Class L: Greenwich over Ridgefield, Simsbury over New Milford
    Greenwich over Simsbury
    Upset: McMahon over Amity. Josh Miller, probably the best keeper in the state, steals it for McMahon

    It’s too bad Greenwich, Prep, and Ridgefield all ended up on the same side of the bracket. Either one would have a cakewalk to the final.

    Class M: Darien over Guilford, New Canaan over Barlow
    Darien over New Canaan
    Upset: Guilford over Ledyard. Ledyard hasn’t beaten a quality team all year.

    Honestly lets just fast forward to the final

    Class S: Weston over St. Joes, Brookfield over East Catholic
    Brookfield over Weston
    Upset: None

    Any of the three teams of Weston, St. Joes or Brookfield can win. Flip a coin.

    • Paul McKenna says

      Dude, I think your dead on. First guy to actually give the SWC a little credit with Brookfield, Weston and a very under rated and very strong offensively New Milford in a tough class L. Agree that Greenwich over Simsbury big! FCIAC no dought the class of the state, but the D1 SWC teams are getting better and better each year.

    • The Dude says

      Upsets on the horizon: This might be a stretch, but there is something about Foran coach Brian Adkins and his adeptness at post-season game planning that has me thinking the Lions will give New Canaan a tough battle if they meet in the quarterfinals.

      Somehow I missed this the first time. There is no way Foran is within 10 goals of New Fairfield.

  2. mike says

    St.Joe’s has NO business being in Class S. Watch Somers, East Catholic and Morgan to sneak in a couple of wins.
    It will be STJ

  3. Paul McKenna says

    Also, there are other outstanding players in the SWC other then Grant Limone the “All American”. The attacks Heckman and Clancy from Brookfield and McDonald from NewMilford who is really outstanding proved way to much for Weston and there tremendous goalie!

  4. Willie says

    Coach Buzzeo of New Canaan is correct.
    Lacrosse in conn is not suited at this point for a system based on Class ie number of male students. This is not football where everyone has been playing the game for 100 years.
    Conn should have divisions like conn hockey based on track record and success, not male student population.
    Let the best teams play each other in D1. Let the teams that have developing programs and are striving have a taste of success in D2 or D3 that will encourage them.
    Come on! The ciac brackets for this year are a farce.
    Darien and New Canaan sleep walk thru to the final in M.
    Greenwich, Ridgefield and Prep, 3 of the 5 best teams in the state, destroy each other in the early rounds of L. While Staples, a very good program, looks to have a golden road to the L finals…should nt it be at least as difficult or close to as difficult to get to the L or let’s say D1 state final as to a league ie FCIAC final?
    I say put all these teams and simsbury and the best of the rest in D1 and come up w the heavy weight champ like in hockey. This would be so much better. And this may also encourage the best programs to play the best out of state competition and mitigate somewhat the adverse effects of this when it comes to ciac seeds..because almost all the best teams do it.
    St joes should win S. I would put them in D2 and make them really earn it.
    Then put the nascent programs in D3 and let them have some fun, rather than being slaughtered.

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