WESTPORT — Staples’ boys lacrosse team didn’t have one of its best attackmen to start the year. Then it lost its starting goalie for seven games with a concussion. Though some players remain sidelined, the pieces seem to be coming together for the No. 5-ranked Wreckers.
With No. 4 Ridgefield threatening to script its own comeback story, Staples’ Aidan Best, a Lafayette-bound junior attackman, scored four goals and had two assists, including the winner to teammate Matt Burger with 2:21 remaining to rally the Wreckers to a 12-11 victory Saturday.
JP Kozakowski, the goalie who was making his first start since a 10-7 loss to Darien on April 29, made two saves in the final seconds of regulation to secure it.
And just in time, too, what with the FCIAC playoffs suddenly around the corner and everybody jockeying for state playoff positioning. Staples improved to 11-3 overall and 6-2 in the FCIAC. Ridgefield fell to 7-6, 5-3.
“This is huge,” said Best, who scored three of his four goals in the decisive fourth quarter. “I’ve been looking at the GameTime rankings all year and I don’t think they should have been ahead of us and it was nice to finally prove to everyone we deserve to be ahead of them.
Ridgefield was led by three goals apiece from brothers Ryan and Kyle Colsey and Luke Winkler. The Colseys scored back to back to start the fourth quarter, giving Ridgefield its largest of the game, 10-7 with just over 9 minutes remaining.
But Best revved up his game, too. He scored to get the Wreckers within two and, after a Ridgefield turnover which led to a Dylan Clark-to-Burger score, Best tied it up on a drive in front.
“They were sitting in a zone and I felt like we were struggling in the first half,” Best said. “We started flying around, cutting with speed and things started to open up and we took what they gave us.”
Joe deGrasse put Ridgefield ahead again with four minutes left, but Best tied it again on a wing shot, top corner.
Ridgefield, which has been forced to compensate for the loss of top defender Kai Prohaszka (broken wrist), again turned it over on an offsides call.
Best immediately found Burger for the go-ahead goal with 2:11 left. It was Staples’ first lead since the first quarter.
Though Vermont-bound fogo Henry Dodge — dominant all day — won the ensuing faceoff, Staples turned it over. But Kosakowski stopped the two Ridgefield shots in the final seconds to preserve the victory.
“It’s massive,” Kosakowski said. “We get the momentum rolling into the week, going into playoffs. We’ve got New Canaan again and everybody’s super juiced about that one. We’ve just got to get rolling for playoffs. We’re excited. We’re psyched.”
It was especially sweet for Staples coach Will Koshansky, who brought his newborn son, Trip, to his witness his first lacrosse game. “I told the boys, thanks you for making him look good from the stands,” he said.