FAIRFIELD — If it was a more decisive score in a boys lacrosse playoff game than Fairfield Prep expected, it probably came from how precisely the Jesuits moved the ball.
In a 16-3 win over Greenwich on Thursday afternoon at Rafferty Stadium, 11 of those goals had assists. Sure, they dodged a bit, lost their defenders, but they almost always found another man open after that.
“We were making the extra pass. It starts with that,” said senior attackman Mason Reale, who had three of those 11 assists. “We’re going to obviously score more goals if we make that extra pass and get a better look at the net.
“We’ve been unselfish all year. We made the extra pass, and scored goals, and celebrated together.”
Second-seeded Fairfield Prep (16-3), ranked fourth in the GameTimeCT poll, will meet 10th-seeded Newtown (14-6) in the quarterfinals on Saturday afternoon, likely at 4 p.m. The winner will be the only non-FCIAC team in the Class L semifinals.
Greenwich scored the first goal, with standout attackman Jack Feda picking up a ball on the right side and scoring up top.
The Jesuits scored the next seven, then six more in a row after Owen Gwozdz scored the first of his two goals to break the run in the second quarter.
Ethan Grandolfo scored six goals, and Patrick McAleavey had five, but the Jesuits’ offense flowed through everyone on the field.
“The attack gets all the credit, because they’re very creative. They’re great scorers,” Jesuits coach Graham Niemi said. “I’ve been saying all year I don’t think Pete Kavanaugh and Connor Boyle, and Jack Esse — but really Pete and Connor — get enough credit.
“I think Kav and Boyle are two of the best players in Connecticut. They play the whole game. … They don’t get a lot of points, but they create a lot of what happens, a lot. It was a great group effort today.”
Fairfield Prep’s faceoff man, Max McGillicuddy, was returning from injury, and the Jesuits used him and two others on draws.
Greenwich (9-9), the 18th seed, had decent possession time in the first quarter.
“But then we were making a lot of sloppy mistakes,” Cardinals coach Bobby Lutz said. “I told the boys all week, we had to play mistake-free lacrosse in order to have a chance. We started making mistakes early, and then you’re in a hole.”
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Plenty of candidates. Maybe we’ll defer to Niemi and go with Jesuits midfielder Pete Kavanaugh, who didn’t have a point but was involved in both ends of the field.
This year’s seniors were freshmen when Lutz took over the Cardinals in 2016, so they’ve been through a lot together.
“It’s a really solid group of seniors. I’ve said that from Day 1,” Lutz said. “There are a lot of football players that won a football championship. They’ve got great camaraderie, and they all support each other.”
RAINY DAYS AND…
The game was postponed a day by thunderstorms, and it got in Thursday just before rain came around 6 p.m.
It had already tied the Jesuits’ longest stretch without playing a game in over a month.
“We’ve had a lot of pregame practices, if you know what I mean, but we actually had a practice Monday,” Niemi said. “It was awesome, a two-hour, regular lacrosse practice. That helped us a lot.”
“(The Jesuits) have got a lot of top-level lacrosse guys. To try to keep up with that, with our defense, we tried a little bit of different looks, a little bit of man, a little bit of zone, but they have so many weapons from so many areas of the field. It’s hard to match up.” —Greenwich coach Bobby Lutz