Wilton boys lax gets defensive, beats Fordham Prep

The Wilton High boys lacrosse team's defense rallied around its back-up goalie to hold Fordham (N.Y.) Prep well below its season scoring average (12 goals per game) and come away with a 10-6 win Tuesday evening at Fujitani Field.

Junior Matthew Brody got the start in net for the Warriors with senior starter Jameson Hill out with a separated shoulder. Brody came up with several key saves and got some help from the pipes, but mostly he had a great team defensive effort in front of him.

“We came out motivated to support our back-up goalie tonight,” said senior captain Tyler Mirabile. “We wanted to let him know we were there to take some pressure off him. We pushed their players wide, cutting down their angle and not giving them good looks at the net."

Wilton won the opening face-off but made a mental mistake in not timely advancing the ball, giving the Rams possession for the first four minutes of the game. But the Warrior defense, led by Mirabile, Jack Dexter and Thomas Courtney, held strong on the back line to keep the visitors from scoring.

Wilton got on the board first with 7:40 left to play in the first quarter. Jared Gladstein checked a Fordham Prep player and picked up the loose ball. Gladstein took the open space in front of him and advanced the ball up field before passing to Harrison Koch. Koch found Michael Lynch, who put a shot in the back of the net for the 1-0 lead.

Harrison Bardwell's goal with 51.5 seconds left in the period gave the Warriors a 2-0 lead at the end of one.

Bardwell then added his second unassisted goal with 8:51 remaining in the second quarter for a 3-0 Wilton lead. RJ Romeo won the ensuing face-off, and Koch scored just seven seconds after the Bardwell goal, upping the Warrior lead to 4-0.

The action started to pick up as the Rams scored their first goal 13 seconds later. Will Randell got Fordham Prep on the board with 8:30 to play in the period.

The Rams would cut the lead to 4-2 with 5:09 left in the second quarter, but the Warriors answered right back with two quick scores to take a 6-2 lead into halftime. Reid Melillo, assisted by Charles McGovern, and Lynch netted the goals just 25 seconds apart.

Scoring slowed to start the third period, with Prep getting a goal with 4:30 left to cut the Wilton lead to 6-3. The Warriors would again answer quickly, as Christan Hansson got an unassisted goal just 27 seconds later.

Wilton took an 8-3 lead into the final quarter after McGovern scored, assisted by Brian Calabrese.

Lynch’s third goal of the game with 8:23 to play gave the home team a 9-3 lead, but the Rams (6-2) weren’t going to go quietly. Prep tallied three straight scores to tighten the Wilton lead to 9-6 with 5:24 to play.

But the Warrior defense re-grouped and shut out the Rams the rest of the way. McGovern capped the scoring with 1:15 left, as he picked up a ground ball off a long clearing pass from Wilton goalie Brody. Brody was just trying to avoid a delay-of-game penalty for not getting the ball over the mid-field line in time. But his long toss found its way to McGovern for the final score.

The Warriors are now 4-2 this season, and the two losses were by one goal each to Yorktown and Fairfield Prep — games in which Wilton had late chances to come away with wins.

“We played very competitive in those games,” said Mirabile. “We look at these games as learning experiences and it gives us confidence. I got a little worried tonight when they made a late run, but we have good team leadership this year and we pushed through for the win."

Wilton head coach John Wiseman praised his team’s defensive work.

“The defense gave a huge effort tonight and they rallied around their goalie," he said. "They stepped up to support Brody and made them take poor shots on net. This is a good win for us, but we have to go full throttle the whole game and not give our opponent the chance to get back in the game.”