Wilton boys lax team holds off St. Joseph, 14-12

Every time the Wilton High boys lacrosse team took a three- or four-goal lead on Tuesday night, St. Joseph  would battle back and put the pressure on the home team.

But in the end the Warriors came away with 14-12 victory over St. Joseph at Fujitani Field — in a game that showed the Warriors still have some work to do on defense.

“We took a step backwards tonight with our defensive play," said Wilton head coach John Wiseman, whose team is now 5-6. “We’ve corrected some things, but we've got to play better on defense.

"We shouldn’t have allowed them to score 12 goals on us," added Wiseman. "But give them credit. Early on they read our defensive set and took advantage of it and scored. You give a team like St Joe's confidence by turning the ball over to them and they’re going make you pay for it.”

Wilton got out to a 2-0 lead with just four and a half minutes gone in the game. Jack Dexter sent a long pass to Reid Melillo just over midfield, and Melillo sprinted toward the Cadets' net unmarked for the game’s opening score.

Brendan Devane made it 2-0, assisted by Christian Hansson, before the Cadets got one goal back with 2:57 left in the first quarter. Wilton then added two goals — one by Will Garbus and the other by Like Rizzo — for a 4-1 lead with 1:08 to play in the first, but St. Joseph cut its deficit to 4-2 on a goal by Mike Sudora with just 4.8 seconds left in the period.

The Cadets then took a 5-4 lead with 2:51 to play in the second quarter by scoring three goals — two more by Sudora — and holding the Warrior offense in check.

Wilton tied it at 5-5 with 1:26 left on an unassisted goal by Devane, his second of the game.

Wilton came out of halftime and put two shots in the back of the net in the first 1:30 of the third quarter for a 7-5 lead. Hansson and Devane had the goals for the hosts.

The Cadets scored to make it 7-6 with 8:32 left in the third, but Wilton came back with three straight goals for its biggest lead of the night at 10-6. Garbus, Melillo (his second) and Dan Baird did the scoring for the Warriors.

Sudora scored his fourth goal of the game with 16.5 seconds left in the third quarter to make it 10-7, and teammate Peter Bashar scored early in the final quarter to bring the Cadets within 10-8.

Wilton face-off specialist RJ Romeo won the ensuing draw and scored just eight seconds later to regain the three-goal lead at 11-8 for the Warriors.

The teams traded goals each to make it 12-9, with Michael Lynch scoring for Wilton. St. Joseph then closed to 12-11 with 5:35 to play in the contest. But Romeo, who was a perfect 10-for-10 on face-offs in the fourth quarter, won the next draw and Harrison Bardwell scored with 5:04 left to give the Warriors a 13-11 lead.

Hansson scored a man-advantage goal to up the lead to 14-11 with 4:35 to play before St. Joseph closed the scoring with a goal with 1:38 to play.

Jameson Hill was in net for the Warriors and was credited with nine saves.

In addition to his goal, Lynch had four assists for Wilton, while Josiah Wilson had four assists for the Cadets, who fell to 6-4.