MADISON >> The Amity boys lacrosse team used patience and dominated the ball possession to hold its own against Fairfield Prep in the first quarter of its Southern Connecticut Conference tournament semifinals at the Surf Club on Wednesday. But it was all Jesuits in the last three quarters.
John Edmonds had four goals and two assists and Austin Sims added a hat trick to lead No. 1 seed Fairfield Prep to an 11-5 win over No. 4 Amity as the three-time defending champion Jesuits advanced to the SCC championship today at West Haven’s Ken Strong Stadium at 4:30 p.m.
The Jesuits will face No. 2 seed Guilford, which defeated No. 3 seed North Haven 4-3 in the other semifinal.
“We played uninspired in that first quarter, it was like we didn’t even want to be here,” Fairfield Prep coach Chris Smalkais said. “By the second half we became more opportunistic and took advantage of their mistakes.
“The thing that concerns me is we’re making mistakes at this stage of the season that are uncharacteristic for us.”
Amity and Fairfield Prep were tied at 2 after the first quarter with both teams taking four shots on goal. Brad Uscilla took the game’s first shot on goal and it gave the Spartans a 1-0 lead with 10:03 to go in the first quarter.
Chris Brown responded 21 seconds later off the ensuing faceoff to tie the game at 1 for the Jesuits. But Jacob Milner answered with a goal with 9:29 to go to give Amity a 2-1 lead.
The Jesuits controled the ball the last three minutes of the quarter and Cameron Harris tied the game at 2 for Prep with 59 seconds left in the first quarter.
Sims scored the first two goals of the second quarter to give Fairfield Prep a 4-2 lead and the Jesuits would never trail again in the game.
Uscilla scored for Amity with 4:56 left in the second quarter to cut Prep’s lead to 4-3. But another Sims goal 10 seconds later and an Edmonds goal with 2:03 left in the first half gave the Jesuits a 6-3 lead at halftime.
“We started off slow today,” Edmonds said. “We weren’t moving the ball off the faceoff well in that first quarter and we were struggling in our transition. It all improved as the game went on and by the second half we were putting pressure on them on offense and defense.
“This was a good learning experience for us because we saw what a good, composed team can do to you if you don’t play hard an entire game.”
The teams traded goals in the third period but the Jesuits scored the first four goals of the fourth quarter to put the game away. Edmonds had three of the four goals.
Uscilla led the Spartans with a hat trick. Chris Brown had two goals and an assist for the Jesuits.
In the second game, Frank Ranfone scored two goals to lead Guilford to its come-from-behind victory.
The North Haven Indians scored the only goal of the first period when Jake Kastenhuber gave North Haven a 1-0 lead with 7:09 to go. The Guilford
Indians responded by scoring the next four goals of the game. Chris Broadbent and Conner Suraci scored fourth quarter goals for North Haven to cut Guilford’s lead to 4-3. But Guilford held on for the win.
“I think nerves affected both teams in that first quarter, which is why only one goal was scored,” Guilford coach Brian White said. “Our goalie (James Bright, 11 saves) came up big for us and made some tough saves late in the game.
“Frank Ranfone has been playing really well for us too and has been another clutch player.”
North Haven coach Eric Bailey expected a close game.
“This was a game where you had two teams familiar with one another,” Bailey said. “They are an outstanding team but the score indicates how even this game was played. We had our chances. One thing about our kids is they always play hard and never give up.”
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