GREENWICH — Seeing its four goal lead against Brunswick School get sliced to one didn’t cause Salisbury School to panic during the fourth quarter of Friday night’s lacrosse showdown under the lights.
Instead, the Crimson Knights kept their composure and did what they’ve done best during crucial portions of games this season — finish teams off.
Capping the much-anticipated matchup with four unanswered goals, Salisbury, ranked No. 2 in the Under Armour/Inside Lacrosse national poll, defeated No. 7 Brunswick, 12-7, before a big, spirited crowd at Cosby Field.
The victory upped surging Salisbury’s record to 13-0 overall and 9-0 in Western New England Division I. Brunswick sports an overall mark of 13-2 and is 8-1 in Western New England Division I action.
Junior midfielder Jack Neill, senior attack Sky Wilson and senior midfielder Timmy Lischer scored two goals apiece to pace the Crimson Knights offensively. Salisbury held a 2-1 edge on Brunswick after the first quarter and entered halftime with a 6-2 lead, before going into the fourth quarter ahead 8-5.
“They and their staff do an amazing job, so you know it’s going to be a battle,” Salisbury coach Bobby Wynne said. “Maintaining composure and effort for 48 minutes, that’s what we talked about. Brunswick took it to us in the third quarter, so we tried to do some things to stop the bleeding and it worked.”
Senior attack Christian Ronda registered two goals and two assists to spark the Bruins, who dropped a 13-10 decision at Salisbury in 2018.
“Our guys showed how much they care,” Brunswick coach David Bruce said. “Down five goals at the end, our players were running all over the place trying to get the ball back. We’re led by a great group of seniors. Credit Salisbury, they came to a really tough environment and played well. It’s tough to win away when these teams meet.”
Trailing 8-5, the Bruins closed to within 8-7 with a pair of goals in a 28-second span. Junior midfielder Liam Fairback tallied off a dodge with 8:38 remaining in the fourth quarter. At the 8:10 mark, senior midfielder Tim Saunders scored from close in after receiving a pass from Colin Mulshine, cutting the visitors’ advantage to 8-7.
The Bruins could not tally the equalizer though, as the Crimson Knights instead, added on to their lead. Lischer tallied in transition, giving Salisbury a 9-7 lead with 5:10 left to play. He scored again with 4:01 to go, making it 10-7. Wilton native Connor Drake caught a pass and snapped a quick shot past Bruins goalie Christian Barnard late in fourth quarter and senior midfielder Dawson Wynne scored off a dodge from behind the net with 1:35 remaining.
“This game in general has been an awesome rivalry,” Dawson Wynne said. “We were fired up to go under the lights and we really wanted this one on the road. It was awesome, we just had to keep our composure.”
SETTING THE TONE
The Crimson Knights outscored the Bruins, 4-1, during the second quarter to open a 6-2 halftime advantage. Following a goal from Ronda at the 10:19 mark of the second stanza, Salisbury ended the opening half with four straight tallies. Junior Jack Hanau’s goal with one second left in the quarter put the visitors up by four.
“The first half, we came out a little flat and we didn’t win too many ground balls,” said Barnard, a Brunswick senior tri-captain, who will play lacrosse at Harvard next year. “They won the battle of possession time and won the game. Coach said possession time would win the game and they won the game.”
Said Crimson Knights senior defender Tyler Carpenter: “We wanted possession 70 percent of the time and we were determined to win our matchups and not get beat on defense.”
Like Brunswick, Salisbury has a wealth of players capable of lighting the scoreboard.
“In the first half we played a good defensive game, we were able to read into their offense and see what they were doing,” said Brunswick senior defender/tri-capain Ian Murray, who will play lacrosse at Princeton next season. “A couple of our rides broke down, which led to transition goals. There was some confusion with our slides, but we did a good job of reading their offense and stopping it for a while. They have tough shooters and they are really good in transition.”
Coulter Mackesy, Luke Waters, Fairback, Cooper Moore and Saunders each had one goal for Brunswick. Koby Ginder won 13 of 20 faceoffs for the Bruins and Murray gathered five ground balls.
Will Farrell, Tyler Carpenter, Hanau and Thomas McIntire each notched one goal apiece for the victors.
“We are bunch of determined guys who work well together,” Drake said. “Our energy was up the entire game. Coach talks about staying the course the entire game and not letting our emotions get too high or low and we did a good job of doing that in the fourth quarter.”
Brunswick hosts Trinity-Pawling School on Monday, before Darien visits Cosby Field on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
“We have a huge week coming up,” said Ronda, who will play at Princeton next season. “This was a tough loss, but we have to look past it. We showed a lot of heart by coming back and playing well in the second half.”
Salisbury plays league rivals Deerfield Academy on Wednesday and Avon Old Farms School Saturday.
“It’s very significant that we stay humble,” said Salisbury senior goalie Logan McNaney, who was stellar throughout. “We have three big games left and we have to keep our composure and go hard every game. Going full speed every second is so important.”
No. 2 SALISBURY 12, No. 7 BRUNSWICK 7
Salisbury 2 4 2 4 – 12
Brunswick 1 1 3 2 – 7