Cadets defeat Eagles, look to make move

The St. Joseph boys lacrosse team has already established itself as one of the top Class S programs in the state, reaching championship games in four of the last five seasons.

Now the Cadets have their sights set on cracking into the very hard shell of the FCIAC elite.

With senior leadership from veterans like captain Ryan Corcoran and attackman Jeff Marcantonio, and a deep and talented junior class that was instrumental in leading the Cadets to a spot in the Class S finals last season, St. Joseph could be on the verge of doing just that.

St. Joseph certainly got off to a good start, dominating town-rival Trumbull from start to finish during a 21-4 victory Saturday afternoon in the season-opener at sun-drenched Dalling Field.

Trumbull, which opened its season with a 19-5 setback against New Canaan on Wednesday, was still in the game with 8:32 left in the first quarter after junior Jake Crowe scored his first of two goals off a pass from senior Sam Watson.

But St. Joseph scored six straight goals to end the first quarter and two more to open the second to take a commanding 9-1 lead and never let its foot off the gas pedal.

The Cadets finished with a gaudy 53-14 advantage in shots, a 53-21 edge in ground balls and won 18 of 28 faceoffs.

Corcoran led the scoring attack with five goals and one assist while Marcantonio, the quarterback of the offense, finished with two goals and a game-high five assists.

It was the type of decisive effort that had head coach Joe Izzo thinking this might just be the year his team finally stands toe-to-toe with perennial FCIAC powerhouses like Darien, New Canaan and Wilton.

“The FCIAC is so tough. It’s without a doubt the best conference in the state,” said Izzo, whose team went 10-8 overall last spring with a first-round loss to New Canaan in the FCIAC playoffs. “But this is a group that can compete with those guys. I think they’re up for the challenge. It’ll be fun to see this group up against teams like that to see how they do.”

St. Joseph has the experience, losing just two starters from last year’s team. Junior Mike Braddick (five saves) is back for another season as the starting goalie while junior Filippo Petrini looks like a very capable replacement in the faceoff circle following the graduation of Ryan Mulligan, now playing at Division III Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey.

Petrini, with support from freshman Liam Massey, won eight of 10 faceoffs in the first quarter and 12 of 16 in the first half to help St. Joseph keep a stranglehold on possession.

The Cadets also to have great firepower with 11 players scoring goals against the Eagles. Sophomore Mike Sudora and junior Preston Ouellette each recorded hat tricks, junior Peter Bashar had two goals and two assists, Josiah Wilson added a goal and three assists while Travis Yoguez scored twice.

“We have 10 times more experience than we did last year,” Corcoran said. “Most of our starters were sophomores last year. We made it to the championship game but just lacked experience. This year we have an upper class that knows what it’s doing. If we play our game, we can play with anyone.”

There wasn’t much good news for Trumbull on this day. Junior goalie Danny Farren made 13 saves under tough circumstances and Greg Shawinsky won six of 12 faceoffs in the second half.

Watson and junior Tom Schutz scored the other goals for the Eagles while Jake Howes and Dom Bova added assists. The Eagles also got some hard hitting from Watson and defenders Mike Cullen, Matt Kapell and Andrew Hans.

“I feel good about what we have but I haven’t seen us put it together like I know we can put it together,” Trumbull head coach Jim Kammerman said. “We have some great individuals and some kids with great sticks. We just haven’t put it together as a unit.”