FAIRFIELD >> As his players rushed from the sideline to the far end of the turf to celebrate, Fairfield Warde boys’ head lacrosse coach Tom Cunningham crouched down, put his head down and enjoyed the moment to himself for a few seconds.
Tuesday evening the Mustangs held off rival Fairfield Ludlowe 5-4 at Taft Field, to collect the programs first victory in school history over the Falcons.
“That’s what it is, it’s all about those seniors,” an emotional Cunningham said after. “Everybody contributed today, from our seniors down, but our seniors have gone through it and they really played together today and got it done.”
The Mustangs (5-3) were able to collect the victory behind a tremendous defensive effort led by senior goalie Jason Nerreau.
With less than six minutes remaining, Ludlowe’ Trevor Dremilt scored to bring the Falcons within one goal. With the score at 5-4 and the clock winding down, Ludlowe’s offense made a push as they fired two shots less than three minutes remaining but Nerreau stood firm. The Falcons had one final opportunity with 15 seconds left, but Nerreau made the save to seal the victory.
“Jason Nerreau in cage, what more can you say? He came up with some tremendous saves,” Ludlowe head coach Chris Parisi said. “We got a bunch of looks that we wanted but he was just a little bit too much.”
Added Cunningham: “(J) Jason Nerreau came up huge for us,” Cunningham said. “Ludlowe got some good looks but he was there.”
Nerreau finished the evening with 14 saves.
“It’s definitely at the top,” Nerreau said with a smile of where this game ranks of all-time greats.
Nerreau and the defense was solid in the net all evening and late down the stretch as Ludlowe (3-5) made a valiant comeback bid.
Down 5-2 in the third quarter, Ludlowe’s Loren Tobey scored right before the end of the quarter to put the Falcons’ down by two.
“It’s a game of just a fraction of an inch,” Parisi said. “(We) missed the cage a couple times there at the end…they made one more play than we did tonight.”
Warde was able to build its lead from the beginning as Austin Armas scored the first goal of the game to give is team a 1-0 advantage.
Ludlowe quickly answered in the second quarter as Dremilt found the back of the net off a feed from teammate Matt Doyle and then Graham Browne scored a minute later for the 2-1 lead.
But a 3-0 run, highlighted by goals from Kyle Scheetz, Mike Adams and Armas gave Warde a 4-2 lead at the half.
As historic as the victory was, it was even bigger for the Warde as they make a push to qualify for the state and FCIAC Tournament.
“I think we are on our way to doing that (qualifying for postseason),” Cunningham said. “We just have to continue to play good, solid, lacrosse.”