Ridgefield comeback stuns Fairfield Prep in Class L lacrosse final
Jun 10, 2011
NORWALK -- This was a classic, the kind of game that Ridgefield junior Sean Wilkinson didn't think ends with the ball in his lacrosse stick with 14.5 secondsÂ left.
The speedy little hockey standout-turned-lacrosse player -- height and weight "not enough and not enough, in the eyes of other people," his coach said -- was looking to dish off to one of the senior shooters for the lastÂ shot.
Instead he took the ball behind the net, came out from Fairfield Prep goalie Ryan Orvis' left and fired it up high to give the Tigers an 11-10 win Saturday in the Division L championship atÂ McMahon.
"To be honest, instinct kind of took over," Wilkinson said. "That kind of moment, you can't really plan. In the moment, something else was controlling me, and by the grace of God, the ball went in theÂ net."
That completed a comeback for the sixth-seeded Tigers (18-5) from an early five-goal deficit, winning their second state title and their first since the 2001 Division IIÂ championship.
"He's the first guy on my list" to have the ball in that spot, Ridgefield coach Roy Colsey said of Wilkinson. "He's an unselfish kid. Generally speaking, he's looking to dish. I'm glad he didn't. He had the wherewithal to ripÂ it."
The fourth-seeded Jesuits finished 18-5 with a lot of young players in key roles. Only one of their goals Saturday was scored by aÂ senior.
"This was a great high school lacrosse game," Jesuits coach Chris Smalkais said. "It's unfortunate someone had toÂ lose."
The Jesuits dominated the first quarter, start to finish, scoring 1:36 in and building a 6-1 lead. Connor Kelly had the first two of his five goals in theÂ first.
"We definitely came out with some nervous sticks. We weren't picking up some ground balls," said Ridgefield senior defender Griffin McCarty, who had a few takeaways in big spots. "I knew we were going to come back fromÂ that."
A minute and a half into the second, Fairfield Prep junior goalie Mike Seelye made two huge saves, on Sean Riley and then on Wilkinson's point-blank rebound. He took Riley's shot off the chest, though, and had to leave the game. He was taken to Norwalk Hospital late in theÂ game.
"He was spitting up some blood," Smalkais said. "I thought Ryan Orvis played great. He made some huge saves. He cleared the ballÂ great.
"Mike has been playing so well in the playoffs, he's established himself as a leader. Â¦ (Players) see one of their teammates injured, they see blood, it scaresÂ you."
Ridgefield knocked the lead back to 6-5 by halftime. The Jesuits built it back to 8-5 and 9-6, but the Tigers keptÂ coming.
They scored all three goals in the fourth quarter, Aidan Scott's with 7:57 left, Riley's off a Matt Hrvatin feed with 4:05 to go, and then Wilkinson'sÂ winner.
"We allowed them to stay around and get in the game to where it became a one-possession game," Smalkais said. " (But) I'm really proud of thisÂ group."