Wilton pummels NFA in boys lax state opener
On paper, just three places separated the teams in the seedings. On the field, however, the gulf was as wide as an ocean.
Scoring off the opening face-off, seventh-seed Wilton went on to rout 10th-seed Norwich Free Academy, 20-2, in the first round of the Class L boys lacrosse state tournament Wednesday at Fujitani Field.
Wilton (13-5) will now play second-seed Simsbury in the quarterfinals on Saturday at 3 in Simsbury. The Trojans beat 15th-seed Southington, 10-1, in another first-round game Wednesday.
The Warriors got off to a fast start against NFA, going ahead 1-0 just 17 seconds into the contest. Face-off specialist RJ Romeo won the opening draw and the Warriors were off to the races. James Arbisi scored, assisted by Harrison Koch for the quick lead.
Wilton then found the back of the net four more times in the period for a 5-1 lead after 12 minutes. Kieran McGovern netted two goals and Harrison Koch and Michael Brown tallied one goal each. Braydon Golas had the lone goal for NFA.
Romeo won the opening face-off in the second quarter but this time kept it to himself, scoring just eight seconds into the period.
The Warriors tacked on five more goals in the second quarter and carried a commanding 11-2 lead into halftime. McGovern picked up his third goal for a hat trick, while Duncan Harris, Joe Murtha, Brown, and Harrison Koch also scored. Murtha’s goal came on a man-up situation.
The quick-strike pattern continued at the start of the second half, as Connor Drake got a goal just 32 seconds into the third period. Harrison Koch then picked up his third goal of the game to increase Wilton’s lead to 13-2.
“Yeah, it kind of looked one-sided today, but you can’t take any team in the tournament lightly as they have earned their way into it," said Harrison Koch. "Playing in the tough FCIAC conference helps us get ready for post-season play.
“We came out and executed the game plan the coaches gave us, and with the big lead we were able to rotate a lot of our players into the game, which is huge with the tough competition coming up and the heat on the field. We were able to practice our system and get everybody in a rhythm. Maintaining our speed and having everybody ready to play is key in order for us to move on."
Arbisi scored his second goal of the game to make 14-2, which set the clock into non-stop motion. Will Sullivan collected two goals to end the third quarter with the Warriors ahead, 16-2.
Wilton added four more goals in the final quarter for the 20-2 final. Nolan Quinn netted a goal and Murtha and Drake added their second goals, with Drake's coming with Wilton a man-up. The final goal came from goalie Matt Brody, who was inserted into the game at midfield and scored with 59 seconds to play.
“We feel we are peaking at the end of the season, which we have a history of doing," said Wilton head coach John Wiseman. “We have progressed nicely as the season has moved on, but we all know that once you lose [in states] you’re done.
"We’ve built on several things during the tough regular conference schedule to get us ready for the playoffs," added Wiseman. "Of course we scout the other teams — as you don't want to go in blind — to find out their tendencies and set our game plan. But in the end we have to go out and execute our game plan and play our game.”