FAIRFIELD — Since 2000, Fairfield Prep has only appeared in the Southern Connecticut Conference tournament twice. The Jesuits have also never won a conference title. However, the past is the past and junior Shawn Blake said this could be a special year for the Jesuits in the SCC. “I think we’re a force to be reckoned with,” he said. “I definitely think we’re up there with the best teams.”
Fairfield Prep (5-2, 1-1 SCC Quinnipiac) will have the chance to prove whether or not it is a contender or a pretender in the SCC, taking on Law Wednesday and defending conference champ Amity Thursday. Even though both games pose major challenges for the Jesuits, senior David Gerics said they will treat these games like any other.
“We have to play well in all of our games, not just this week,” the senior said. “Every team in the SCC is going to compete, every team is going to play their hardest and do everything they can to beat us,” And recently, Amity has consistently done enough to top just about everyone in the SCC.
Meanwhile, Fairfield Prep has begun making strides in the SCC, picking up big wins over Notre Dame-West Haven, West Haven and a Sheehan team that defeated former No. 1 Xavier.
Regardless of the Jesuits’ success, Mauritz said anything can happen in the competitive SCC. “Our league is tough, everybody knows it,” the coach said. “That’s what makes the league great. And his players agree. “Every team in this league can beat anyone,” Gerics said. That is why Mauritz has stressed that his players work on the little things everyday.
After a recent loss to Cheshire, he talked to his players about vocal leadership, stepping up and not getting complacent. “If we get tougher we can be a very hard team to beat,” Mauritz said. “Sometimes building that toughness takes a little bit of time.”
The Jesuits are still working on that. Last season Fairfield Prep hovered around the .500 mark for the early part of the season before eventually missing the conference playoffs. In 2011 the Jesuits went 6-2 in the Quinnipiac Division and went to the SCC title game before getting shut out 14-0 to Cheshire. Fairfield Prep also has not advanced past the second round of the Class LL tournament since 2007.
In spite of the Jesuits’ previous shortcomings, Blake is confident in this year’s team. And as long as they keep doing the little things, they could have a big Spring. “I think we have a lot more drive than in past seasons,” Blake said. “This year we’re all pulling together and the chemistry on the team is real good.”