NORWALK >> Throughout the season the New Canaan boys lacrosse team has been known for its tough defense led by Drew Morris, arguably the best goalie in the state.
On Saturday in the CIAC Class M championship game against Hand, the stifling Rams defense was complemented by a balanced scoring attack with eight different scorers.
Matthew Bisceglia had three goals and Kyle Smith, Jackson Appelt and Peter Swindell had two goals each and Morris had six saves to lead No. 1 New Canaan to a 13-2 win over No. 6 Hand at McMahon’s Jack Casagrande Field.
New Canaan improves to 19-4 and wins its second straight Class M title and fifth state title overall. The Rams defeated Hand 10-5 in the Class M final last season. New Canaan had previously won three Division I titles.
“I’m proud we were playing the last day of the season in another championship game,” Hand coach Paul Deon said. “But three things went against us. We had to play too much on defense, our inability to clear the ball and our inability to win face-offs.
“And then there was their goalie who’s one of the best in the state. Every time we had a good look their goalie stopped us. We‘ll try build off this game for next season.”
Most of the first quarter was a scoreless defensive struggle with Hand also known for a tough, physical defense. But New Canaan was having the edge in ball possession and after missing with four shots finally got one past Hand goalie Eric Lyons.
Ryan O’Connell scored with 57 seconds to go to give New Canaan a 1-0 lead over Hand.
The Rams won the face off to open the second quarter and Peter Swindell scored to make it 2-0 only 34 seconds into the quarter.
The Tigers got one back when Zach Santoemma scored with 8:39 to go in the second quarter to make it 2-1.
The Rams answered with 11 straight goals capped by a Matthew Bisceglia goal with 8:45 to go in the fourth quarter for a 13-1 lead.
“Early in the game we had to figure out what they were doing on defense,” New Canaan coach Christopher Buzzeo said. “It was just a question of getting in better position to shoot and score. Our defense came up big but our offense did too. Winning this title for a second straight year feels good.”
Morris said the first few goals New Canaan scored took some pressure off him.
“There wasn’t any real pressure on me, I’ve been here before,” Morris said. “But getting those first few goals was big for us. During the season we struggled a bit on offense but today everyone stepped up and played great. The balanced scoring was big. Winning this title for a second straight year is pretty special, it’s huge for all of us.”
Eric Lyons had seven saves for the Tigers (13-8).
New Canaan 13, Hand 2
Hand 0 1 0 1 — 2
New Canaan 1 4 5 3 — 13
Goals: (HD) Zach Santoemma 1; Liam Gottlick 1; (NCA) Matthew Bisceglia 3; Peter Swindell 2; Jackson Appelt 2; Kyle Smith 2; Jonathan Betack 1; Jack Hoelzer 1; Ryan OConnel 1; Clayton Burt 1; Assists: (HD) George McGuirk 1; (NCA) Clayton Burt 2; Graham Braden 1; Jackson Appelt 1; Kyle Smith 1; Saves: (HD) Eric Lyons 7; (NCA) Drew Morris 6; William Hooks 1; Shots—HD: 9; NCA: 20;
Team records—New Canaan 19-4; Hand 13-8