East Lyme holds off Waterford 13-12 to win eighth straight ECC lacrosse title
East Lyme — The teams know each other so well from their co-existence in the Eastern Connecticut Conference, from their matchup the last three seasons in the ECC tournament finals, that this was East Lyme senior Andrew Alden's explanation for his five goals Thursday night.
“You go back and watch the film,” Alden said of East Lyme's friendly boys' lacrosse nemesis, Waterford. “Knowing who slid and where they slid from. We definitely studied up on them. We've got them memorized.”
Top-seeded East Lyme won its eighth straight ECC tournament title, holding on to beat No. 2 Waterford 13-12 in what was a chess match — Waterford ran a more deliberate, set offense and East Lyme looked to capitalize on its transition game — and also a battle of energy and will.
Alden was named the James J. Courtney Most Valuable Player of the title game, while leaving Waterford, which appeared in last season's Class S championship game, still searching for its first ECC championship.
“Three years in a row I gave the same speech,” Waterford coach Chris Landry said. “We lost 6-5, 11-9, 13-12 … it doesn't get any easier. Our program has made leaps and bounds. We come in to win it. Coach (Gary) Wight and the East Lyme players, they bring their best for us every year. We've just got to get over that hump.”
“We're great friends and we're great competitors,” Wight said of Landry. “… It's the ECC championship game. We talk about legacy. We want to win every season.”
The game was deadlocked 12-12, the seventh tie of the game, after Waterford's Logan Bowdish scored from up top with 4 minutes, 53 seconds remaining.
Alden responded with the game-winner for East Lyme at the 3:19 mark.
But the game was an emotional seesaw to the end, featuring a timeout by each team and a timely East Lyme turnover which gave Waterford the ball back with 1:11 to play, giving the Lancers' Caleb Holdridge two shots at the goal in the final minute, both thwarted by Vikings goalie Eric Brodeur.
Waterford got one final possession with 13.6 seconds remaining, but the ball came free, ending up in the hands of East Lyme's Trevor Somes as time expired, touching off a moment of exhilaration.
“Of course we come out 100 percent every game, but for Waterford, we come out 110 percent,” Alden said. “We know what they're going to do, like we know their guy Luther (Wade) takes the faceoff. … They held the ball definitely well, but when we got the ball, we capitalized.”
James McCoy and Ryan Bellandese scored two goals each for East Lyme (11-7), while Robbie Swenson added a goal and four assists and Connor Schofner a goal and two assists. Alex Jakubczak and Andrew Noorigan also scored.
Holdridge finished with five goals and two assists for Waterford (14-4) and Logan Bowdish had three goals and two assists. Ryan Huta had three goals and Kyle Jacobson also scored.
Holdridge seemingly had the golden touch in the clutch for Waterford scoring in the final minute of the first quarter (58.9 seconds) to tie things at three and with 26.1 seconds left in the half on an assist from Michael LaForte to make it 6-6. One more time, at the end of the third quarter, Holdridge converted a spin move with 51.6 seconds left to forge yet another tie at 10-10.
And if the energy level was a 10 out of 10 to start, the game took on even more of a fever pitch to the finish.
East Lyme led 12-10 on consecutive goals by Bellandese and Alden before Waterford tied it 12-12 on two straight answers by Bowdish.
“We definitely had some jitters coming out, but once we got in the swing of it, we were able to take them head on,” Alden said. “They can't get past us.”
“It kind of just gets the energy going,” Wight said of the game's atmosphere. “It's great, we have guys on the sideline that don't see much playing time, and they're cheering. It's two different philosophies. We want to push the ball. They have a more settled offense. We thrive on the energy.”
ECC AWARD WINNERS / BOYS' LACROSSE
Following are the 2018 Eastern Connecticut Conference boys' lacrosse all-stars, sportsmanship and scholar-athlete award winners:
First team — Attack: Rob Swenson (East Lyme), Noah Reuling (Fitch), James McCoy (East Lyme); Midfield: Andrew Aiden (East Lyme), John Russack-Baker (Fitch), Ryan Bellandese (East Lyme); Defense: Andrew Noorgian (East Lyme), Zach Letellier (Fitch), Dalton Franco (East Lyme), LS midfield: Zach Letellier (Fitch); SSD midfield: Sam Angiolelli (East Lyme); Faceoff: Chris Ladyga (NFA); Goalie: Alex Medieros (NFA).
Honorable mention — Attack: Mathew Kolashuk (NFA); Midfield: Rye Walencewicz (NFA); Defense: Mason McMahon (NFA); LS midfield: Rich Galbo (East Lyme); SSD midfield: Andrew Bannon (NFA); Faceoff: Scott Galbo (East Lyme); Goalie: Christian Snodgrass.
Sportsmanship — Alex Jakubczak (East Lyme), John Russack-Baker (Fitch), Mathew Kolashuk (NFA).
Scholar-athlete — Isaac Tomblin (East Lyme), Paul Panciera (Fitch), Shayne Evans (NFA).
First team — Attack: Caleb Holdridge (Waterford), Michael LaForte (Waterford), Dylan Heald (Bacon Acadmy); Midfield: Logan Bowdish (Waterford), Kellen Paparella (Bacon Academy), Kyle Jacobson (Waterford); Defense: Kevin Close (Waterford), Casey Hart (Bacon Academy), Emmett Brady (St. Bernard/Wheeler); LS midfield: Alex Fayan (Waterford); SSD midfield: James Hodge (Waterford); Faceoff: Sam Kury (Montville); Goalie: Kyle Denker (Bacon Academy).
Honorable mention — Attack: Pat Brady (SB/Wheeler), Ethan Cuadro (Bacon Academy), Noah Mocksfield (Bacon Academy); Midfield: Scott Pion (SB/Wheeler), Max Mueller (Stonington), Joey Andrews (Montville); Defense: Nick Tibbetts (Montville), Jeff DeLapp (Stonington), Joe Lillis (Waterford); LS midfield: Jake Cavallo (Bacon Academy), SSD midfield: Chris Consiglio (Bacon Academy); Faceoff: Luther Wade (Waterford); Goalie: Cooper Alloway (Waterford).
Sportsmanship — Ian Carey (Bacon Academy), Seth Hurt (Griswold), ZachBoyles (Montville), Josh Terry (SB/Wheeler), Steve DeVoe (Stonington), Harrison Searle (Waterford), Ethan Holcomb (Woodstock).
Scholar-athlete — Chris Consiglio (Bacon Academy), Seth Hurt (Griswold), Nick Tibbetts (Montville), Jack O'Leary (SB/Wheeler), Sean Peglow (Stonington), Logan Bowdish (Waterford), Brendan Chapuis (Woodstock).
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