Brunswick School’s lacrosse team entered Wednesday’s showdown against Taft School with victories in 10 of its 12 games this season, including a win against nationally-ranked Darien. Yet, as coach David Bruce and the nationally-ranked Bruins had pointed out over the course of the spring, the team still hadn’t put four strong quarters together.
Well, the Bruins did so Wednesday, as Taft can certainly attest to.
Taft went into the game undefeated and ranked No. 1 in the Inside Lacrosse Top 25 High School Power Rankings, but was doubled-up by the Bruins.
Senior attack Coulter Mackesy recorded four goals and four assists, while senior midfielder Luke Waters tallied three goals and three assists to power Brunswick to a decisive 14-7 victory over Taft at crowded Cosby Field.
Brunswick, which raised its record to 11-2, was ranked No. 11 nationally and third in Inside Lacrosse’s East Region rankings, while Taft was first.
“I’m a little speechless,” Brunswick coach David Bruce said. “We’ve been waiting to play a full game the entire year and we happened to pick a very good day to do it.”
The Bruins have won two straight games following their tough 12-11 home loss to Deerfield Academy. Wednesday, Brunswick controlled the momentum throughout, thanks to superb execution on both ends of the field.
“That was the most fun I’ve ever had playing lacrosse,” Mackesy said. “We played so well everywhere. Our defense was great, our goalie was amazing . It was the best game we played all year.”
Tommy Quinson, a senior attackman, recorded a hat trick for the Bruins, who led the Rhinos, 6-3, at halftime.
“The defense played within themselves,” Bruce said. “Taft is a ridiculously skilled team and we went into the game saying we are not going to manhandle them, we are just going to stay within ourselves and stay grounded. We put a lot of pressure on their offense and after a couple of turnovers and us capitalizing on the other end, you felt the momentum come our way.”
Senior Colin Mulshine, junior Charlie Johnson and senior Mario Rinaldi, were among the Bruins’ defenders who made Taft work hard for their shots and helped keep the Rhinos to the perimeter.
“It’s awesome, I think this is the best game we’ve played all year and it was a good time to do that today,” Mulshine said. “We got a lot of shots off, we wanted to pressure the goalie and on defense just play solid team defense, pack it in, nothing too crazy.”
Falling behind 3-1 midway through the first quarter prompted Taft to take a timeout. Following the timeout, Jeffery Ricciardelli of Taft tallied on a shot from 15 yards out, cutting the Bruins’ lead to 3-2. Mackesy scored off a dodge at the 1:04 mark, making it 4-2, then after junior midfielder/defender Will Donovan gathered a ground ball, Quinson put a shot past Rhinos goalie Thomas Ricciardelli, giving the Bruins a 5-2 advantage with three seconds left in the first quarter.
“The key for us is playing a complete game and I think today we did that,” Donovan said. “We went hard in all four quarters. We have so much potential on this team and when it all comes together it’s awesome.”
After junior goalie Luke Schlank made a nifty save for the Bruins, Mackesy scored, putting the Bruins on top, 6-2, midway through the second quarter. Senior midfielder Lucas Delgado converted a shot 54 seconds into the third quarter, extending Brunswick’s lead to 7-3. After Ethan Rubenstein’s goal brought Taft to within 8-4, goals from Waters and Mackesy gave the Bruins a comfortable 10-4 lead at the 2:27 mark of the third quarter.
Tomas Delgado and Owen Guest added one goal apiece for Brunswick, which received goals late in the game from Mackesy and Waters – tallies that put an exclamation point on the triumph.
“We moved the ball so well on offense, we didn’t take any selfish shots,” Mackesy said. “It’s the biggest win of the year and we really needed this one.”
Brunswick hosts New Canaan Thursday at 4:30 p.m., then travels to Malvern Prep in Pennsylvania on Saturday for a 2 p.m. matchup.
“It’s been a great season, a fun season,” Bruce said. “We’ve had a couple of losses, but that’s part of life. We want schedule where we have to play our best to win.”
“This season has been an awesome experience,” Mulshine added. “Especially after missing last season. We’re all so grateful for this opportunity.”