SOMERS — Somers and St. Joseph — the two best boys lacrosse teams in Class S, quite possibly, for the second year in a row —put plenty of talent on display Saturday in the quarterfinals.
St. Joseph coach Brendan Talbot saw one thing in particular separating them: depth.
The Cadets’ depth helped them take control in the second half, dominating fourth-quarter possession, on the way to a 15-11 win in a rematch of last year’s Class S final.
“This is probably the deepest team I’ve had,” Talbot said. “We run five offensive middies, four attackmen we play, two LSMs (long-stick midfielders) we play, two faceoff guys.
“It’s going to be hot (over 80), playing in June, and I’m not sure how deep their bench is. … We kind of looked at it as that had to be the difference.”
With Nick Macisco winning faceoffs and players such s midfielder Jack Fearnley forcing turnovers, the Cadets began controlling possession time. St. Joseph outshot top-seeded Somers 32-9 in the second half.
In the first seven and a half minutes of the fourth quarter, Somers had the ball for just 36 seconds, a heck of a recipe for keeping Spartans standout Riley Burgmyer (six goals) from getting them back in the game.
“It’s more what happened at halftime. Our captains really got us going,” said Cadets sophomore midfielder Preston Kral, who scored one of his four goals at the first-half buzzer to give the Cadets a 6-5 lead, an edge they’d never relinquish.
“After that, we started clicking, everything coming together. Everything in practice came onto the field.”
After the game was tied four times in the first half, St. Joseph twice stretched its lead to as much as six in the fourth quarter.
The eighth-seeded Cadets (12-5) will face fourth-seeded Sheehan (14-4) in Wednesday’s semifinal at Cheshire at 7:30 p.m. Third-seeded Bacon Academy (14-5) meets 15th-seeded East Catholic (13-7) in the other semifinal, also at Cheshire, at 5:15 p.m.
Somers, the NCCC champion, finishes 17-2. The Spartans won Class S in 2016 and 2017 and were runners-up to St. Joseph last season.
“It was tough to stop their momentum. They did a really nice job winning faceoffs in the second half and making us pay for our mistakes,” Somers coach Ken McCarthy said.
“I’m so proud of our kids’ effort. They gave everything they had, and it came up short.”
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Nick Macisco and the Cadets’ faceoff wings turned possession time around in the second half.
Eight players had points for St. Joseph, including seven with at least two. They were a freshman, three sophomores and four juniors. That offense had some early growing pains.
“I think it was over practice. We really started to glue together over the season,” Kral said. “I don’t know what it was, but everyone came together.”
“I told the kids, this would’ve been a great state championship game,” McCarthy said, and many state observers figure it was, in essence. “I don’t think any of the rest of the games will be this close. I think St. Joe’s will look back and say Somers gave them the best game. That’s just my prediction, maybe I’m wrong, but they’re a very good team.
“We’re a very good team, too, but I feel for my kids right now. They put their heart and soul into it and came up short. Sometimes that happens.”
“I told them, list, when you’re mad, running, doing stuff, this is why. On June 1st, when it’s hot out and we need 25 guys to contribute, thats the difference.” —St. Joseph coach Brendan Talbot