GREENWICH — There were enough smart players on the field, maybe bigger or stronger players. When Greenwich had to run out the last 35 seconds of its boys lacrosse game against Cheshire on Thursday, though, the ball started in Jack Cook’s crosse.
“We had to keep it in for the last minute. I just had to run around a few kids,” the senior midfielder said. “There was a pretty big collision at the end, but that’s what we like to see.” He chuckled. “Good way to end it.”
The officials flagged that collision, but it didn’t matter. No. 7 Greenwich held the ball to complete a 10-9 win over the No. 9 Rams, finishing both teams’ regular seasons with a barn-burner.
Greenwich (11-4) twice took three-goal leads in the second half. Cheshire (13-3) caught up the first time, but Cook and the Cardinals held them off the last.
“Jack Cook, the kid, he’s just an MVP every single game,” Greenwich coach Bobby Lutz said. “He plays offense. He plays defense. He picks up every ground ball.
“Even in the end, you’d think we’d give it to Will (Montesi) because he’s our biggest, strongest player, but. … not that Will wouldn’t make the smart move, but Jack Cook just always does the right thing. It’s good to have a captain like that.”
Greenwich had a few stretches where it dominated possession, keeping the ball in the Cheshire end, no easy task for a defense that has lost senior captain Nick DiDomizio for the season to injury and had to face the Cardinals’ quick offense. Andrew Vernon made a handful of huge saves for Cheshire.
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The Rams may have pressed a few times when it did get the ball back, Cheshire coach Mike Devine thought, handing it right back over.
“I was just telling coach Lutz, they just made two less mistakes than we did,” Devine said. “We played a lot of defense. The defense hung in tough, but they just made two less mistakes, picked up a couple of more ground balls. Against a good team, an FCIAC team, you can’t do that. We’ll learn from it. We’ll be all right.”
Cheshire will be the second seed in the SCC Division I tournament. Its only league loss was to top-seeded, third-ranked Fairfield Prep. Its only other loss was to fourth-ranked Staples, which will be in the FCIAC tournament along with the Cardinals; those seeds are to be determined after Saturday’s games.
FCIAC teams make up six of the top seven spots in the GameTimeCT Top 10 poll. But Lutz thought Vernon and Cheshire’s faceoff man, Aidan Gaudet, were as good as any he’s seen this year.
“It’s hard for these kids sometimes to see other teams in the state, how good they are,” Lutz said. “They get fixated on the FCIAC, how good the FCIAC teams are and forget there are a lot of quality teams north of us. Sometimes mentally they have to focus on how other teams can be real competition for us.”
Cheshire scored two man-up goals in the first 71 seconds of the game, but Greenwich, after starting some of its seniors on Senior Night, came back to lead 4-3 late in the first quarter and 5-4 late in the first half.
Bryce Metalios scored five goals to lead the Greenwich offense, and Wes Zolin had four assists. Brian Bouwman scored three for Cheshire.
GREENWICH 10, CHESHIRE 9
CHESHIRE 4 0 3 2—9
GREENWICH 4 1 2 3—10
Records: Cheshire 13-3; Greenwich 11-4. Scoring: C—Brian Bouwman 3 goals; Charles Kurtz 1 goal, 2 assists; P.J. Cass 1g, 2a; Evan Stern 2g; Jack Raba 1g, 1a; Jack Lovelace 2a; Jack Davis 1g; Max Manware 1a; G—Bryce Metalios 5g; Wes Zolin 4a; John Cataldo 2g; James Pilc 2a; Brian Collins 1g; Jack Cook 1g; Will Montesi 1g; Matthew Trimmer 1a; Quinn Warwick 1a. Goalies: C—Andrew Vernon (16 saves); G—Will Clemens (0), Charlie Zola (8). Shots: C—26; G—41.
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