GREENWICH >> The Fairfield Warde boys’ lacrosse team wanted to keep playing.
Making an appearance in the program’s first ever FCIAC Tournament Friday evening, the seventh-seeded Mustangs gave No. 2 Greenwich all it could handle early on, but ultimately couldn’t keep pace with the Cardinals, as they fell 14-5 in the quarterfinals.
“We didn’t want it to end in the first round,” Warde head coach Tom Cunningham said. “But we’ve liked where we’ve come from, and it was a good showing from our guys; they didn’t stop playing, they worked hard. Greenwich is a great team.”
Given the history and where the Mustangs have come from, Friday’s game had a little bit more meaning to it.
For the seniors, four years ago playing in a game like this wasn’t even a possibility. The freshmen went through a 1-15 season the first year and since then have been part of a steady uprise and vast improvements each year.
“They are well coached, they are tough,” Greenwich head coach Scott Bulkley said. “To get into the FCIAC Tournament, regardless of your record is an accomplishment.”
Part of the improvements for Warde (11-6) has been challenging itself by playing rigorous schedules that include FCIAC powerhouses like Greenwich. Friday’s loss was an eye-opener of what needed to be done as they prepare for the upcoming state tournament.
“We played with an elite team today,” Cunningham said. “That’s one of the best teams in the state. We saw some good things out there on the offensive end, we saw some good things on the defensive end and we saw things we need to work on.”
After the Cardinals jumped out an imposing 4-0 lead early in the first quarter, the Mustangs did a nice job of hanging in there as Kyle Scheetz scored to make it 4-1. Warde cut the lead to 4-2 to start the second quarter, but Greenwich’s offense got rolling and exploded for four straight goals, led by the offensive power of Decker Curran. At the half Greenwich led 8-2.
“They’re a good team, we needed to wake up and do what our game plan was and move the ball and get shots on net,” Curran said.
Greenwich picked up right where it left off in the second half, scoring four unanswered goals and wore down a physical Warde defense.
“It was tough on our defense,” Cunningham said. “I think we made a few mistakes turning the ball over when we shouldn’t have, but there defense is a very good defense.”
Warde’s offense got a few looks late in the game, as Scheetz led the Mustangs with two goals, while Austin Armas, Brendan King and Jack Potenza all had one. Jason Nerreau finished with eight saves.
While Greenwich advances in the FCIAC Tournament, Warde will get ready for the state playoffs .
“We’re going to continue to work,” Cunningham said. “We have quite a few days to get a few practices in and prepare ourselves for whomever we go up against.”