When all was said and done and the numbers for the power point system were crunched, the eighth seed in the FCIAC’s boys lacrosse tournament wasn’t really determined on the field.
Instead, it came down to a simple flick of the thumb.
Norwalk (8-7, 6-5 FCIAC) was awarded the final spot in the conference’s quarterfinal round over crosstown rival Brien McMahon (10-6, 6-5) by way of a coin flip. The Bears will play at top-seeded Darien (15-1, 11-0) on Saturday at 4 p.m.
Brien McMahon athletic director Joe Madaffari flipped the coin and was joined by Norwalk athletic director Wayne Mones, John Kuczo, the FCIAC’s executive secretary, and Ralph King, the conference’s assistant executive secretary.
Although McMahon had an edge in a tiebreaker—head-to-head, thanks to its 10-9 overtime win over Norwalk on April 12—that wasn’t enough to award the Senators the final spot. The game was left out of the equation, to the surprise of McMahon head coach Mike Epstein, because it counted as a non-league game.
“It wasn’t carefully stipulated. It does say head-to-head is the next criteria but I guess they interpreted it to mean ‘head-to-head in FCIAC mandatory games,’ ” Epstein said following his team’s practice Thursday afternoon.
Epstein hopes to clarify such particulars for future seasons.
“I’m on the (FCIAC boys lacrosse) committee. We’ll hopefully rewrite it and make it much more clearer for next year,” he said. “It’s funny, I guess I saw it very clearly and people saw it the other way. I don’t really know.”
It was a cruel twist of fate for the Senators, who have been ravaged by injuries to their top three scorers, but seemed to play their way into the conference tournament with back-to-back wins over Westhill and St. Joseph to close out the regular season.
Now they must wait for the state tournament.
“It sucks. I wanted to play (Saturday). I was looking forward to it,” Epstein said. “We’re still hurt but I would love to see my younger kids go out and play.”