No. 8 Fairfield Prep (17-4) vs No. 14 Ridgefield (15-7)
When: Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
Where: McDougall Stadium, Trumbull High School
Tickets: Adults $10, students/senior citizens $5; children 5 and under, military in uniform or with I.D free. Tickets must be bought online at gofan.co/app/events/324701
ON THE AIR/WEB:
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CHAMPIONSHIP GAME APPEARANCES
Fairfield Prep: 10th appearance, 6-3 overall. 2001 (Div. I) lost to New Canaan 6-5 (3OT); 2006 def. Norwalk 13-12 (4OT); 2007 def. Greenwich 10-9; 2008 def. Ridgefield 15-14 (3OT); 2009 def. Simsbury 15-3; 2010 lost to Cheshire 9-8; 2011 lost to Ridgefield 11-10; 2012 def. Ridgefield 8-6; 2013 def. Staples 14-8.
Ridgefield: 7th appearance, 3-3 overall. 2001 (Div. II) def. New Fairfield 10-1; 2008 lost to Fairfield Prep 15-14 (3OT); 2011 def. Fairfield Prep 11-10; 2012 lost to Fairfield Prep 8-6; 2015 lost to Darien 6-5; 2018 def. Darien 9-8.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
The day’s marquee game matches two respected programs with lots of young talent. … Fairfield Prep is the younger group and scuffled along a bit at the start, including a 13-5 loss at Ridgefield on April 17. But coach Graham Niemi — in his first final — said his seniors were confident the youngsters would be all right. … Senior Mason Whitney, the GameTimeCT hockey player of the year, anchors the defense: “When you see a player like that go out and make plays, play fearlessly, and get the ground balls the way he does, play at the pace at which he does, it gives everybody confidence,” Niemi said. “He’s a special player.” … Ridgefield has its own defensive stalwart, junior D/LSM Kai Prohaszka. The Tigers were ranked second in the poll for the first half of the season until Prohaszka broke his wrist and Ridgefield sagged without him. He came back for the first round of the state tournament, and the Tigers beat Staples. … Ryan and Kyle Colsey, sons of coach Roy Colsey, lead a solid cast of offensive and defensive players.
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A week ago, Fairfield Prep had only two all-time CIAC tournament wins against Darien, New Canaan or Wilton. It then earned two in five days. … Ridgefield’s famously “boring,” famously well-executed 2018 championship win to snap a long Darien winning streak is among the more memorable state title games. … A Jesuits championship would mean they’d defeat Greenwich, Darien, Wilton and Ridgefield in the Class L tournament: Do they take the Blue Wave’s FCIAC championship, too? (Fairfield Prep was 2-4 against the FCIAC in the regular season) … Fairfield Prep held off a late Ridgefield charge to win the 2012 title. Sean Wilkinson‘s late goal won it for the Tigers the year before; Chase Bailey scored in triple overtime for the Jesuits in 2008.
No. 4 Weston (16-4) vs. No. 6 Hand (15-5)
When: Saturday, 1 p.m.
Tickets: Adults $10, students/senior citizens $5; children 5 and under, military in uniform or with I.D free. Tickets must be bought online at gofan.co/app/events/324702
Weston: 8th appearance, 3-4 overall. 2007 (Class S) def. Barlow 10-8; 2008 (Class S) lost to New Fairfield 17-7; 2009 (Class S) lost to St. Joseph 12-11; 2010 (Class S) def. St. Joseph 7-6; 2013 (Class S) def. St. Joseph 9-8; 2015 (Class S) lost to St. Joseph 14-5; 2019 lost to New Fairfield 18-2.
Hand: 6th appearance, 0-5 overall. 2006 lost to Darien 13-5; 2015 lost to New Canaan 10-5; 2016 lost to New Canaan 13-2; 2017 lost to New Canaan 9-6; 2018 lost to New Fairfield 13-11.
Hand shook off a 1-3 start, with all three losses to top-10 teams, to earn a spot in the final for the fifth time in the past seven years (and the past six tournaments, since last year’s didn’t happen because of the COVID-19 pandemic). … The Tigers have been exceptionally stingy on defense, not allowing double-digit goals since that early losing streak, backstopped by senior G Ryan Bordiere. They beat Masuk 14-3 in the semis. … Weston’s doldrums were late: The Trojans lost their last two regular-season games, then lost by 13 to New Fairfield in the SWC final. They’ve outlasted everyone who beat them, though, rolling back with three playoff wins. … Junior M Renzo Garone scored six goals in Weston’s semifinal win over East Lyme, which had been the last unbeaten team in the state.
Hand also reached state finals in 1977 and 1979, before CIAC sanction for the sport came in 1995. The Tigers lost both to Wilton during the Warriors’ initial dominance of the tournament. … Hand and Weston have met twice in recent Class M quarterfinals, both wins for Hand, 11-4 in 2018 and 4-3 in 2017. … The Weston girls are playing New Fairfield for the Class S championship three hours earlier, not far away at Bunnell. … No SWC team has reached a CIAC final more often than Weston; New Fairfield has been to six, including three in Class M. This is the Trojans’ second Class M final. They were expected to be one of the top teams in Class M last season. Several of those players contributed to a 2019 football championship.
No. 7 East Catholic (14-5) vs. No. 17 St. Joseph (11-8)
When: Saturday, 10:30 a.m.
Tickets: Adults $10, students/senior citizens $5; children 5 and under, military in uniform or with I.D free. Tickets must be bought online at gofan.co/app/events/324703
East Catholic: 1st appearance
St. Joseph: 10th appearance, 6-3 overall. 2009 def. Weston 12-11; 2010 lost to Weston 7-6; 2011 def. Barlow 6-5; 2013 lost to Weston 9-8; 2014 def. Brookfield 14-11; 2015 def. Weston 14-5; 2016 lost to Somers 14-8; 2018 def. Somers 11-6; 2019 def. Bacon Academy 9-3.
Another slog through the FCIAC has once again toughened up St. Joseph for a Class S playoff run. … Winner of the Class S tournament the past two times it was played (everyone missed 2020, the pandemic year), St. Joseph beat New Fairfield, winner of the past two Class M tournaments, in a first-round classic. … M Preston Kral and D Jack Fearnley were second-team All-FCIAC picks and played key roles in that win. … A bit like St. Joseph, East Catholic’s five losses include four against Class L teams. (The other was to Northwest Catholic.) … Ryan Heslin, one of only four Eagles seniors, has scored 85 goals this season. He had six in the semifinals against Granby. … Junior G Owen Bergquist has come up with some stops at key points during the season. …
After reaching the semifinals five of the previous six times there was a Class S tournament, East Catholic has finally broken through to the final. … The last time St. Joseph qualified for the tournament but didn’t reach the final was 2008, the year before its first championship. This, though, is the first time in that stretch that the Cadets threaded the needle of getting in (with at least a .400 winning percentage) with a losing record (7-8, .467). … St. Joseph defeated the Eagles 9-5 late in the 2019 regular season. The Cadets also won semifinal meetings in 2015 and 2016. … The East Catholic girls made a final appearance in 2018, but this could be the school’s first CIAC lacrosse championship. The school has had 15 boys spring sport champions since 1998, all in golf (10) and tennis (five).
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