The fact that Rye Country Day (Rye, N.Y.) junior goaltender Chandler Grinnel scored a goal in a 13-6 loss to Iona Prep (New Rochelle) in the Metro tournament semifinals last week was rare enough.
But the story becomes all the more unusual when you consider that the goalie who allowed the score, Kevin Kaiser, scored a goal himself this season.
First, Grinnel’s goal. It came with RCDS trailing Iona Prep 8-3 with 2:54 left in the third quarter.
“I was clearing the ball and no one picked me up, so I just kept going,” Grinnel said. “Once I got to midfield and there weren’t any defensemen near me, I kept going.”
Seconds later, Grinnel bounced home a shot past Kaiser.
“When he was at the 40-yard line and no one was around him, I knew he was going to shoot,” Kaiser said. “I just thought, ‘Here he comes.’ ”
Kaiser knew from experience.
In the Gaels’ second game of the season — a 12-7 victory over Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.) — he was in a similar situation. Only that time, he was the one with the ball.
“I made a save off a rebound,” said the 5-foot-10, 160-pound junior. “Then I started walking it up and no one came toward me. So I picked up the pace and just kept going toward the goal before shooting it from about 12 yards out. I was so excited.”
That’s how Grinnel felt after he scored against Kaiser.
“I was hoping it would spark my team,” he said. “Unfortunately it didn’t.”
Iona Prep was sparked by the performance of Drexel-bound senior attackman Nick Trizano, who scored eight goals (one shy of a career high).
Iona Prep followed the Rye Country Day win by beating Fieldston 17-7 to take the Metro title. Trizano had six goals, giving him 76 for the season and 295 for his career.
Just as important as Trizano’s scoring was the play of an Iona Prep defense, led by Kaiser and junior Chris Jackson. The Gaels limited Rye Country Day’s Cornell-bound Cody Levine and Dartmouth-bound J.P. Garry, who entered the game with 71 and 42 goals this season, respectively, to a combined two goals and one assist.
Against Fieldston, they held Princeton-bound 6-foot-6 attackman Forest Sonnenfeldt, who entered the game with 92 goals for the season, two three goals.
Wilton ends Yorktown’s win streak
John Wiseman had a dream the night before his Wilton, Conn., team upset Yorktown (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.) 8-6 last week.
“We were playing Yorktown,” said the former Wilton standout who is now the Warriors’ first-year head coach. “And we won 9-6.”
But here’s where it gets interesting.
It wasn’t the 2009 Warriors that beat Yorktown in Wiseman’s dream. It was he and his former Wilton teammates in their old-school attire.
“We had some great games,” Wiseman said. “I played against (Yorktown coach) Dave Marr’s brother (University at Albany coach Scott Marr) and those great Yorktown teams.”
Last week, the Warriors faced another great Yorktown team. One that entered its regular-season finale ranked No. 8 in the Under Armour/Inside Lacrosse national rankings — and with a nine-game win streak.
And Wilton pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the season, stunning the ‘Huskers to win the Jim Turnbull Cup at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Wilton. It was the Warriors’ first win over Yorktown since 1999.
Wilton won despite losing 18 of 23 faceoffs and being outshot by Yorktown 46-21.
“This is the biggest win we’ve had here in years,” said Providence-bound goaltender James Fuller, who had 25 saves. “I can’t even believe we did that. We have 26 players, but our motto is, ‘One team, one dream.’ ”
Wiseman’s dream — besides the one he had last week, of course — was to revive a Wilton program that was once the king of Fairfield County lacrosse and one of the nation’s premier powers.
But in recent years, the Warriors unhappily became an afterthought in the county, taking a backseat to Darien, Greenwich, New Canaan and Ridgefield.
Enter Wiseman, who, like many former Wilton stars, played at Duke. His mission was simple. Restore pride to a program that has won a jaw-dropping 20 state titles and 13 FCIAC championships.
After dropping games to Ridgefield 15-4 and Darien 8-4 early in the season, the Warriors reeled off eight straight wins. But on Saturday, Wilton lost 19-10 to a St. Anthony’s (Melville, N.Y.) team Yorktown defeated 14-10.
What’s more, Yorktown entered the game with just one loss — to Ward Melville (also, coincidentally, by the same 8-6 score).
Few could have expected what happened though.
So, how did the Warriors do it?
In addition to Fuller’s performance, the Warriors got two goals and two assists from Bryant University-bound attackman Pete McMahon.
McMahon’s goal with 8:07 remaining in the game was the winner, giving Wilton a 7-6 lead. Two minutes earlier, Hopkins-bound senior attackman John Ranagan tied it at 6-6 for Yorktown. Ranagan finished with three goals. Tom Casey, Ty Schuldt and Ethan Fox also scored goals for Yorktown. Goaltender Michael Bonitatibus made eight saves. Hopkins-bound junior attackman Kevin Interlicchio was limited to two assists even though he was not shut off.
“(Washington & Lee-bound senior) Joe LaSala is the best defenseman in Connecticut,” Wiseman said of the player assigned to guard Interlicchio. “Even though Ranagan had three goals, (defenseman) Scott Thompson did a great job on him.”
It was a win that accomplished many things for Wilton.
For starters, it has shown the program is back and clearly one of the top in the region. And with the energetic, man-on-a-mission Wiseman at the helm, it’s hard to imagine Wilton not staying there.
It has also shown that those who view the battle for the FCIAC title as a two-horse race between Ridgefield and Darien should re-think that premise.
“We play well together as a team,” Wiseman said. “We’re not a team with any superstars, but we play as a team.”
Joe Lombardi, who has been a fixture on the lacrosse scene during the sport’s rapid growth in the New York metropolitan area, produces editorial and video content for LaxLessons.com. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.