Greenwich High

Greenwich boys lacrosse team edged by Wilton on a goal in the final seconds

Photo by David Fierro: Jack Montesi, right, controls the ball for the Greenwich boys lacrosse team in its game against Wilton, while teammate Quinn Warwick tries to create room for him. The Cardinals were defeated by the Warriors, 9-8.

Winners of eight of its last nine games entering Thursday’s matchup against FCIAC rival Wilton, the Greenwich boys lacrosse team was in prime position to post a comeback victory against the Warriors after erasing a three-goal second-half deficit.

Yet the surging Cardinals’ streak was snapped in dramatic fashion.

With the score tied, Wilton senior Will Hughes tallied with just 14 seconds remaining, lifting his team to a hard-fought 9-8 win in an intense matchup at Cardinal Stadium.

Junior midfielder James Pilc, who tallied twice, knotted the score at 8-8 when he scored off a strong run to the goal with 57 seconds left to play in the fourth quarter, prompting a Warriors timeout. Wilton patiently moved the ball around the perimeter once it took possession and though the play broke down, Hughes still got off a good shot on goal.

“We came out of a timeout and it was a broken play, I wasn’t supposed to get the ball,” said Hughes, a senior. “But when it came to me, I knew I had to take the opportunity to shoot.”

Hughes made a quick dodge, then went top shelf with his shot, which hit the upper left corner of the goal, giving the Warriors a 9-8 lead.

“A broken play is a broken play and if you score, you score,” Hughes said. “We’ll take them all if that happens.”

Added Wilton coach Steve Pearsall: “We just ran a play off the timeout, which it didn’t work, we didn’t get our looks, so we just went into one of our sets,” Wilton coach Steve Pearsall said. “We were dodging from the wings and Will Hughes just stepped up and made a play.”

Junior attack Bryce Metalios scored two goals, Pilc tallied twice and senior midfielder Jack Cook had one goal and two assists for Greenwich (8-4). Wilton’s record also stands at 8-4 following the triumph.

Photo by David Fierro: Will Montesi of Greenwich, center, battles for the ball, against Wilton on May 13, 2021.

Greenwich played without the services of senior attack John Cataldo, the team’s second leading scorer. Cataldo suffered a wrist injury in a recent Cardinals game.

“Losing John was tough, he will probably be out about a week,” Greenwich coach Bobby Lutz said. “He is the second-leading scorer, so we are trying to move guys around a little bit. Flynn Milledge dropped down to attack and did a great job.”

Thursday’s game was Greenwich’s third in three days.

“These kids can play 10 in a row and have the character to win a game like that,” Lutz said. “It showed that we’re a quality team. I think we rose to the competition level, so it was nice to show we can hang with them.”

Montesi, a senior midfielder, notched one goal and one assist, while junior midfielder Wesley Zolin had one goal and junior middie Quinn Warwick – who also took the faceoffs – assisted on a goal for Greenwich, which trailed 4-3 at halftime.

“This game goes to show that we’re a playoff contender,” said senior defender Chris Cataldo, John’s twin brother. “That’s one of the best teams in the state and we were with them neck-and-neck. Also all the goals were pretty preventable. As a defense, we were sliding and rotating, it was just the little mistakes that hurt us today and if we clean those up we will be ready to make a run come playoff time.”

Photo by David Fierro: The Greenwich boys lacrosse team dropped a tough 9-8 decision to visiting Wilton on May 12, 2021.

Junior Ben Calabrese recorded a hat trick for Wilton, which received 13 saves from junior goalie Colin Lenskold.

“Our defense did a great job and we executed our game plan today,” Lenskold said.

Metalios gave the Cardinals a 1-0 lead, when he scooped up a ground ball off a shot from teammate Flynn Milledge and tallied with 7:01 to go in the opening quarter. Calabrese knotted the score at 1-1 with a goal at the 3:05 mark of the first quarter, before junior Wesley Zolin converted a shot for Greenwich, making it 2-1 2:19 into the second quarter.

Sophomore Caleb Rath’s goal less than a minute later evened the score and Charlie Rath’s tally put the Warriors ahead, 3-2, 3:26 into the second quarter. Dylan Smith, Grant Masterson and Sam Rosen each had one goal for the victors.

Junior goalie Charlie Zola turned in a strong performance, making 10 saves.

“It was a close game and it got really intense at the end,” Zola said. “They are a good team, but we played pretty well. The ground balls hurt us. We definitely need to limit the mistakes and if we make a mistake, we can’t let it hold us back from the next play.”

Photo by David Fierro: Quinn Warwick sprints down the field after winning a faceoff for Greenwich on May 13, 2021.

Wilton seized an 8-5 lead when sophomore Charlie Rath tallied off a dodge with 4:52 remaining in the third quarter. A goal from senior midfielder Will Montesi at the 4:21 mark of the third quarter and a tally from Pilc off a long pass from senior midfielder Jack Cook brought Greenwich to within 8-7 midway through the fourth quarter.

It remained a one-goal game and Wilton appeared primed to run out the clock by effectively moving the ball around the perimeter. Yet the Cards forced a turnover and Pilc scored off a strong run to the goal with 57 seconds to go. Greenwich was paced defensively by Matthew Trimmer, Chris Cataldo and James O’Malley.

“Everyone played really well and Charlie Zola showed how good of a goalie he could be against a quality team and the defense stepped up,” Lutz said. “We had a couple of different packages we wanted to put in, but we were playing solid man-to-man defense, so we let it ride. When you hold a team like that to nine goals is pretty impressive. They have a lot of good shooters, so a combination of good on-ball defense and solid goalie is how we hung tough.”

Greenwich hosts Fairfield Ludlowe on Saturday at 11 a.m.

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