Prep loses heartbreaker in closing seconds of state championship
Published: Saturday, June 11, 2011
By Eric Montgomery, Minuteman Newspapers
NORWALK — Sean Wilkinson came around the cage and scored the game-winning goal with 14.5 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, capping an impressive comeback as Ridgefield defeated Fairfield Prep 11-10 in the CIAC Class L championship game Saturday at McMahon High’s Jack Casagrande Field.
Fairfield Prep (15-5) led the Tigers (16-4) trailed 6-1 after the first quarter. Prep had won four straight titles from 2006 to 2009, including a triple overtime victory to the very same FCIAC team in 2008.
The Jesuits lost goalie Mike Seeyle - the SCC championship MVP - in the first half when he took a couple of shots to the ribs where he wasn’t padded. Seelye came off the field coughing and spitting up blood. With 1:03 left in the game, EMT workers forced him into an ambulance. Sophomore Ryan Orvis took over against a Ridgefield team who have been ranked in the top 4 of the state for more than half of the season. The Tigers scored four unanswered goals and trailed by one goal in the finals seconds of the first half.
Defender Dean Duffy, who was recently named All-State, will be trying out for Michigan Wolverines next year.He had provided a good share of the leadership this spring. “In the beginning of the year, we played well individually, but struggled as a collective group,” Duffy said. “In the SCC and playoffs we stuck together really well. Orvis has a bright future. He was a little nervous, I know. He held his own.”
Prep had more than held its own in the Class L brackets, outscoring opponents 31-15. The only challenge was a hard fought win over Greenwich in the quaterfinals which avenged the Jesuit’s only loss by a Connecticut team during the regular season.
“I thought Ryan made some big saves. Unfortunately Mike had been playing so well for us in the playoffs and really established himself as a leader,” Prep coach Chris Smalkais said. “Emotionally, our team was a bit. … high school kids see one of their teammates injured and when you see blood and so forth, it’s scary.”
Still, behind the stellar play of sophomore Connor Kelly, Fairfield Prep remained poised through the third quarter. Kelly had three of his five goals in the third, as the Jesuits responded each time Ridgefield threatened to tie the score.
But the Tigers clamped down in the fourth quarter, keyed by junior goalkeeper Adam Winne, and closed to within 10-9 on Aidan Scott’s goal with 7:57 remaining. Sean Riley finally got Ridgefield even, converting a feed from Matt Hrvatin with 4:05 to go and setting up a wild finish. Each team had chances in the final minute, but Ridgefield’s Jordan Nachovitz forced a turnover that gave his team possession with 33 seconds remaining. Colsey called timeout, and diagrammed a play that would begin with the ball in Wilkinson’s stick.
Kelly has led the high-flying Prep offense all year behind Kevin Brown, who had a pair of goals. The two sophomores along with most of the team ran over to Orvis in goal as time expired to consoled him in a gesture of brotherhood. “We were up in the first quarter and Seelye had some saves. He helped us get a few breaks,” Kelly said. “We had a great scheme on offense. Orvis is a great goalie, He and Seelye have had some great battles. Seelye was a big loss, but Ryan came up big. He did great.”
Prep advances to 6th straight final!
Pat Pickens, CT Post, June 9, 2011
NORWALK -- Even on a night when the Fairfield Prep lacrosse team may not have played its best game, it was still enough for the Jesuits to win. And it was still enough for Prep to get back to the Division L state championship game.
The fourth-seeded Jesuits were outshot 36-25, but sophomore Connor Kelly fired home three goals and Prep advanced to its sixth straight state final with a 7-2 win over No. 8 Simsbury on Wednesday at Brien McMahon High School. "It's nice to have the opportunity to play on Saturday," Prep coach Chris Smalkais said. "It's nice to be able to represent Fairfield Prep in a state championship contest."
The Jesuits will play sixth-seeded Ridgefield on Saturday at McMahon at 3:30 p.m. The Tigers and Jesuits have met three years in a row in the state playoffs with Prep winning all three times. "They're well-coached and they have a good team," Smalkais said of Ridgefield. "We look forward to the opportunity to play them."
Prep will also look to avenge a loss in the state championship from a year ago. The Jesuits were defeated by SCC rival Cheshire 9-8 in the Division L final. "I remember watching (Cheshire) holding up the state finals cup," Kelly said. "I hope we can take it back to Prep."
The Jesuits frustrated the Trojans at every turn offensively. Simsbury fired shots on goal, but did not beat Prep's junior goalie Mike Seelye until four minutes into the fourth quarter. Seelye made 17 saves in the game. "Our team was well prepared for what they were going to do offensively," Smalkais said. "I thought our goaltender played great again."
Prep was also the beneficiary of Simsbury hitting the post four times in the game. "I got lucky and they hit the pipe," Seelye said. "I think our defense as a whole was frustrating them."
Prep did not score in droves either, but Kelly tallied the first three scores of the game, giving the Jesuits a 3-0 advantage into halftime. "We had a matchup that we liked and I got a few open shots," Kelly said. "And, I made the most of them."
The Jesuits opened the game up in the third quarter, scoring three times as sophomores Tim Edmonds and Kevin Brown and junior Matt Brophy had goals. Brown added a goal in the fourth quarter to cap Prep's scoring. "I've been very proud of this group of how they've grown as a collective group," Smalkais said.
Division L semifinals at McMahon
SIMSBURY 0 0 0 2--2
FAIRFIELD PREP 2 1 3 1--7
Records: Simsbury 15-5, Fairfield Prep 18-4. Scoring: S--Mason Burr (1g), Jeffrey Smith (1g), Tim Bulmer (1a); FP--Connor Kelly (3g), Kevin Brown (2g, 1a), Tim Edmonds (1g), Matt Brophy (1g), Austin Sims (1a), Harry Cotter (1a). Goalies: S--Parker Burr (7 saves); FP--Mike Seelye (17). Shots: S--36; FP--25.
Prep Lacrosse beats Greenwich in Class L Quarterfinals!
David Fierro, Staff Writer, Photos, Bob Luckey
CT Post article
Saturday, June 4, 2011
FAIRFIELD -- Saturday's much-anticipated boys lacrosse showdown between Fairfield Prep and Greenwich in the quarterfinals of the Class L tournament was truly a tale of two halves. Though the Cardinals had the advantage in the second half, the Jesuits used a strong first half to author yet another winning chapter in the state tournament.
Fourth-seeded Fairfield Prep, which has appeared in the Division L final five straight seasons, seized a five-goal halftime lead and survived Greenwich's spirited second half surge, posting a riveting 10-9 victory at Alumni Field.
Sophomore attack Kevin Brown scored three of his team-high four goals in the first half and junior attack Matt Brophy tallied two goals and two assists for the Jesuits, who led 6-1 at the half. "I thought we executed great in the first half," said Fairfield Prep coach Chris Smalkais, whose team will play Simsbury in Wednesday's semifinals.
"We moved the ball well and had very few turnovers. The second half, they began to win some possessions and we made a few mental errors, which allowed them to get some scoring opportunities." Greenwich, which was eliminated by Fairfield Prep in last year's Class L quarterfinals, received an impressive effort from senior attack Eric Foote, who recorded a hat trick despite playing with a knee injury.
"We had a spot to tie the game up, we just didn't execute, which was how our whole season was like," Greenwich coach Scott Bulkley said. "We had bits and pieces of greatness and moments of subpar play. We kept creeping up, we just couldn't tie it up." Trailing 8-6 after three quarters, the Cardinals made it a one-goal game twice in the final stanza. Cabrera scored, bringing Greenwich to within 8-7 with 9:55 remaining.
A goal off a run from behind by Prep senior Harry Cotter put the home team in front, 9-7, with 4:31 left. Brown's fourth goal of the game off a feed from Brophy at the 2:55 mark gave the Jesuits a 10-7 lead with 2:55 to go in the fourth quarter. But Moeser's man-up goal off a dodge 19 seconds later cut Fairfield Prep's lead to 10-8. Foote then tallied on a laser from the perimeter, making it 10-9 with 59 seconds left.
The visitors won the ensuing faceoff, but Jesuits senior defender Dean Duffy thwarted the Cardinals' attempt to tally the equalizer, causing a turnover with 23.6 seconds to go. Greenwich got the ball back in the final seconds, but was unable to get a final shot off, as it was whistled for a cross checking violation.The win was highlighted by a superb performance by Jesuits senior goalie Mike Seelye (17 saves).
"Our goalie played terrific," Smalkais said. "He is growing every day as a lacrosse goalie. We encourage him to use his athletic ability as well as his IQ."
The Jesuits, who trailed 7-0 in the third quarter in the season's first meeting between the two teams, got out of the gates quickly. Sophomore Tim Edmonds turned a turnover into a goal 17 seconds into the game and sophomore Connor Kelly converted a feed from Brophy at the 7:48 mark, putting Prep ahead 2-0.
"Once we get a lead everyone starts clicking," Cotter said. "The defense gets physical, we get key ground balls and everyone gets involved." Added Byrne: "It was really important to our team to get off to a good start. Once we are firing on all cylinders, everything flows. Our three sophomore attackmen stepped up today under a lot of pressure."
Division L quarterfinals
GREENWICH...............................0 1 5 3 -- 9
FAIRFIELD PREP........................4 2 2 2 -- 10
Records: Fairfield Prep 17-4; Greenwich 13-8. Scoring: G -- Eric Foote (3 g), Alex Moeser (2 g), David Dickson (1 g, 1 a), Peter Cabrera (1 g, 1 a), Alex Marcus (1 g), Chris Pavelic (1 g). FP -- Kevin Brown (4 g), Matt Brophy (2 g, 2 a), Connor Kelly (2 g), Harry Cotter (1 g), Tim Edmonds (1 g). Goalies: G -- Ryan Fisher (7 saves); FP -- Mike Seelye (17 saves).
Defense solid as Fairfield Prep rolls to SCC boys lacrosse title
By Michael Fornabaio, CT Post, May 28, 2011
BRANFORD -- Perhaps it's unusual to see a Most Outstanding Player who made only four saves in a championship game. But that number and its circumstances actually are pretty outstanding. Fairfield Prep allowed Cheshire just seven shots on the cage Friday in the SCC boys lacrosse final. With MOP Mike Seelye guiding the defense and making those four saves, the Jesuits rolled to an 11-1 win to reclaim their place atop the conference after the Rams won last year.
"Our goaltending and defense played absolutely superb, only letting up one goal," said sophomore Kevin Brown, who had three goals and three assists. Seelye did his job, clearing the ball well, coach Chris Smalkais said. The Rams put two more shots on the net after the Jesuits emptied the bench, but Ryan Orvis stopped both.
Cheshire took five penalties in the second quarter alone. The Jesuits built momentum off the first one, then scored either during or seconds after the other four penalties. A 2-1 lead after 12 minutes became a 6-1 halftime lead.
"It's pretty exciting stuff," Brown said. "The SCC championship, finally beating Cheshire for last year. But we've still got something on our minds, winning states. "The Jesuits (15-4) have won this tournament eight times since 1996, more than anyone else, and three times in the past four years. They have reached the final six years in a row.
"It's coaching," Brown said. "Coach Smalkais has been around the game for quite a while. He's built this program." The defense, with Dean Duffy on Cheshire's Kevin Adams, limited Cheshire's scoring chances.
"Everybody played really well individually on defense. They didn't get beat," Seelye said. "When they did, there was a good slide right there." One early Rams chance went off a post. In the second quarter, just after the Jesuits took a 3-1 lead, Rams defenseman Dylan Baumgardner carried the ball upfield, cut to the net, shot and thought he had scored. He actually hit the outside of the net. Cheshire had just one other shot in the quarter.
"I thought we played a great team game," Smalkais said. "We talked about eliminating the number of turnovers we've been making." Without injured attackman Connor Byrne, the Jesuits did the job offensively. Brown and Connor Kelly both had three goals. Five others had one goal, and Matt Brophy had two assists. Fairfield Prep scored in the first minute of both halves.
"I'm excited for our seniors," Smalkais said. "It's nice to be able to compete, to win a championship, to get on the bus with their teammates, this entire experience, and then to go their senior prom."
Reach Michael Fornabaio at email@example.com. Follow at twitter.com/fornabaioctp.
CHESHIRE 1 0 0 0--1
FAIRFIELD PREP 2 4 4 1--11
Records: Cheshire 10-9; Fairfield Prep 15-4. Scoring: C--John Cunningham (1 goal); FP--Kevin Brown (3 goals, 3 assists), Connor Kelly (3g), Tim Edmonds (1g, 1a), Matt Brophy (2a), Harry Cotter (1g), David White (1g), Tyler Cox (1g), Patrick Hayes (1g); Goalies: C--Will Devine (7 saves), Marco Iovanna (1); FP--Mike Seelye (4), Ryan Orvis (2); Shots: C--26; FP--31
Fairfield Prep Lacrosse finishes SCC season unbeaten
Minuteman News, May 25, 2011
by Eric Montgomery
No. 3 state-ranked Fairfield Prep just finished a pefect 8-0 season in the Southern Connecticut Conference and were 13-4 overall.
On Monday, Prep got an easy 16-1 win over Shelton in a SCC quarterfinal matchup. Timothy Edmonds, Harry Cotter, Kevin Brown (left) and Jack Arrix each scored two goals. One more win will put them in the conference finals on Friday afternoon at Branford High School.
Prep has been ‘Connecticut Lacrosse’ in the new millennium, winning four straight Class L titles in the last five years. Most of those championships were over Fairfield County teams. Last spring Prep fell a goal or two short to Cheshire in the title game and the past two years have featured six losses.
Cotter credits coach Chris Smalkais for the rich tradition.
“He has built this program on core values of hard work, hustle, honesty and integrity,” Cotter said. “He has a lacrosse mind that no one else possesses and he has been one of the most consistent coaches throughout his years here.”
Brotherhood is the motto at Prep and some of the younger brothers, the sophomores, are a force on the varsity. There are six 10th graders, but the main scorers are Connor Kelly and Kevin Brown who even had a goal as a freshman in the 2010 state championship.
“They bring a lot of excitement and speed to our game,” Cotter said. “The future looks bright for all of them, but as a team we are focused on now and the task at hand – of bringing home another state championship.”
Kelly leads the team with 26 goals – the 11th most in the New Haven area - and 12 assists.
Brown had 20 goals and 11 assists going into this past week, which is good enough to also be one of the area leaders.
Smalkais is 319-136 over his career and 88-26 since the championship run started in 2006. He has led his teams to three SCC championships and two alumni playing the NCAA DI final four this weekend. Duke’s Robert Rotanz and Denver’s Harley Brown are just the tip of the iceberg of Prep players in the NCAA.
“We have players who want to be successful to in life not just lacrosse,” Smalkais said. “We ask our players to display unselfishness and that the program means more than individual stats.”
All the loses this year, but one, came from out of state schools, mostly from New York and Greenwich is the only Nutmeg team to better the Catholic school.
“The have the toughest schedule and look to compete for the league championship and an opportunity for a state title. We are continually developing in practice, trying to meet the challenges of high school lacrosse. Representing this county in the military over seas is hard. Lacrosse is challenging.”
The closely guarded Smalkais briefly said he likesthe way his big three sophomores are playing, but continued on message.
“I just hope our season consists of six more games (which started with Hand on Wednesday),” he said. “We need to play every possession like it was our last one.”
Editors's Note - Prep beat Hand to advance to finals