NEW CANAAN — The first quarter of Saturday’s lacrosse showdown between Brunswick School and New Canaan was a standstill, as the non-conference foes split the game’s first eight goals.
The Bruins slowly turned the momentum in their favor at the beginning of the second quarter and by the time the opening half concluded, they held a commanding seven-goal lead.
That’s how quickly the Bruins, one of the top 10 teams in the nation can strike.
Senior midfielder Michael Gottlieb and junior attack Michael Mauricio registered four goals apiece for Brunswick, which displayed its impressive depth on both ends of the field in its decisive 19-9 victory against New Canaan before a big crowd at Dunning Stadium.
Sophomore midfielder Luke Waters and senior midfielder AJ Delgado each recorded hat tricks for the Bruins, who improved their record to 7-0.
Coulter Mackesy, a sophomore, had one goal and two assists, while senior Cooper Moore, junior Brody Firestein and junior Liam Fairback each tallied one goal and one assist for the Bruins.
“It came down to faceoffs and ground balls — they did a better job than us on wing play in the first half and quite honestly, both offenses were doing a great job,” Brunswick coach David Bruce said. “Then it was ground balls in the second quarter that gave us that boost. Our offense looked fantastic throughout. Our ball movement, how we were reading slides and how quickly we were moving the ball was impressive.”
New Canaan received two goals from senior Quintin O’Connell and a pair of tallies from sophomore Christopher Canet and senior Luke Nolan
The Rams’ record stands at 2-3 following the defeat.
“Brunswick is a very talented team, they have a lot of great players and they just keep coming at you,” New Canaan coach Chip Buzzeo said. “It’s a mini army. They wore us down pretty quickly and forced us to make mistakes, which is a credit to their skill and their talent.”
Christian Barnard, a senior, made six saves in goal for the Bruins, who were led defensively by senior Ian Murray and in the defensive midfield by Edward Glassmeyer and Tim Saunders.
“Defensively, we have a lot of fantastic athletes, who can cover anywhere on the field,” Murray said. “We also have Barnard in goal as the anchor, so we know we can take outside shots and protect the inside where it matters. Our defensive middies have stepped up and have done their part to help us out.”
Senior Carl Mazabras started in goal and junior Bennett Ong was in goal in the second half for New Canaan, which lost at Brunswick last season.
The Bruins took the lead for good at 5-4 when Waters found an opening with a dodge and converted a shot with 10:17 to go in the second quarter.
Firestein tallied at the 8:36 mark off a dodge, making it 6-4. Gottlieb went low with his shot in transition, giving the visitors a 7-4 edge with 7:33 remaining in the second quarter.
Canet’s man-up goal brought the Rams to within 7-5 at the 7:10 mark, but the Bruins capped the first half with five straight goals.
Moore converted a shot from 15 yards out, then Mackesy tallied off a Delgado feed, putting Brunswick up, 10-5. With Coby Ginder winning the faceoff, Mauricio scored after receiving a Glassmeyer pass, bringing the score to 11-5.
As the game progressed, it became apparent just how difficult it is to defend the Bruins, who have eclipsed double-digits in scoring in each one of their games.
“We just have so many weapons on offense,” said Brunswick senior attack Christian Ronda, who assisted on three goals. “If someone dodges and draws a slide, we have five guys waiting to beat their guy and it’s just really easy to move the ball for us. In this game, after a while we starting making defensive stops and we were getting the ball on offense. When we slowed it down, we patiently waited for our opportunities.”
Senior midfielder William Rechtermann tallied off a Nolan feed with 7:16 left in the third quarter, cutting the Bruins’ lead to 12-6, but Brunswick responded with two straight goals. Mauricio scored with 5:52 remaining in the third quarter, then Waters found the back of the net with a perimeter shot, putting New Canaan in a 14-6 hole at the 4:54 mark.
“We were moving the ball really well and keeping the defense guessing by moving it to the back side with a lot of quick dodges,” Gottlieb said.
Glassmeyer and junior Logan Derrin each gathered five ground balls in the winning effort.
“We gave them a lot of extra possession, which is what you can’t do against a great team,” Buzzeo said. “I’m proud of how our guys competed, especially in the second half.”
“Like most sports, lacrosse is a game of momentum,” Saunders said. “In the first quarter, we had the energy buzzing and once we took off in the second quarter, that was it for us. We kept on rolling after that.”
Said Gottlieb: “Our chemistry is off the charts this year. We know each other’s tendencies and we know how each other plays, so it’s like clockwork out there.”
Brunswick hosts Lawrenceville School on Wednesday at 4 p.m. New Canaan hosts Norwalk on Tuesday.
“I like how our offense can generate, we just need to do more of the little things right,” Buzzeo said. “Like picking up ground balls, riding better and playing more aggressively. These are things you can fix.”