Boys lacrosse: Wilton rolls over Staples, 11-6

The Wilton High boys lacrosse team scored three early goals and held Staples scoreless until the last minute of play in the opening quarter, and the Warriors rode the fast start to a well-played 11-6 win over the Wreckers Saturday night at Fujitani Field.

“This was an important conference win for us tonight. We focused hard in practice to get come away with this much-needed win,” said co-captain Brian Calabrese. “We played as a team tonight. All 35 players played a role tonight’s win. We all had the same level of energy. The players on the sidelines showed great support for the players of the field and they fed off that energy to not let their teammates down.”

He continued, “We run good offensive sets and worked the ball around looking for the best scoring chances. That added to the way our defense and our goalie played gave us a complete team win.”

It was the second big win in four days for Wilton, which was coming off a 9-6 victory over John Jay Cross River. With the win, the Warriors’ record stands at 4-3 in the conference and 6-4 overall.

The Warriors netted their first goal with 8:13 left in the first period on a man-advantage score. Conner Drake fed Joe Murtha from behind the net for the 1-0 lead.

With 4:05 remaining in the opening quarter Brian Calabrese found Dean DiNanno open just to the right of the circle. DiNanno stick-faked the goalie to get it by him for the 2-0 lead.

Less than a minute later DiNanno returned the favor with a pass to Calabrese, who blasted a mid-range shot past the Wreckers’ goalie for the 3-0 score.

Staples (7-2 in the conference, 9-2 overall) finally got on the board with a goal in the last minute of play in the quarter to close out the period with Wilton up 3-1.

Staples opened the scoring early in the second quarter on a goal by Evan Zinn to draw to within one goal at 3-2. But that was the closest the Wreckers would get as each time the visitors scored the Warriors would answer right back to kill any momentum by the Wreckers.

Drake was attacking the net unmarked when a pass from Alex Acosta-Rua caught him in stride and Drake put it in the back of the net, putting the Warriors back up 4-2.

Goals by Brian Calabrese and DiNanno grew the Warriors’ lead to 6-2 with 4:31 to play in the second quarter.

The teams traded goals in the final minutes of the period for the 7-3 halftime score. Zinn scored his second goal and Nolan Quinn, assisted by Ryan McDermott, scored for Wilton.

The Warriors was getting good looks at the net on offense in the first half, while Wilton goalie Andrew Calabrese and  the defense kept the Wreckers’ offense in check.

Play slowed in the third quarter, with Staples’ Cole Brockwell tallying the only score of the period to draw the Wreckers to within three at 7-4.

Neither team could find the net in the first six minutes of the final quarter. Wilton finally broke through with Quinn’s second goal of the game, putting Wilton ahead 8-4 with 5:38 to play.

Zinn’s third goal of the game made it 8-5 with 4:48 remaining in the contest, but the Warriors quickly fired back with two goals to put the lead at 10-5 with 4:14 left. McDermott scored, with an assist from Murtha, to make it 9-5. Chris Sweeney won the ensuing face-off and ran down the open field and fired his shot into the net for the 10-5 lead.

Zinn collected his fourth goal of the game with 2:14 left, but a goal by Liam Sullivan closed out the game’s scoring with 1:30 remaining for the 11-6 final.

“They’re starting to dial in everything, play 48 minutes of the game, and most important they’re beginning to believe in themselves,” said Wilton head coach John Wiseman. “We been having double practice sessions, playing 48 minutes with no stoppages to get them conditioned to go all out the entire game.”

Wiseman, the Warriors’ longtime coach, commented that over the years you have to make tweaks to how you coach your players, but the core of his coaching stays constant.

“Sure you have to be able to coach each player a bit different, but the foundation is the same. Teaching the kids to play disciplined, make sacrifices, and do more so the next guy doesn’t have to, doesn’t change. And these are all the things we stress in order to be successful on and off the field.”