New Canaan pounds Prep, finishes regular season strong

Three losses aside, there may be no hotter team in Connecticut high school boys lacrosse than the New Canaan Rams.

Fresh off of beatdowns of Joel Barlow and Don Bosco (N.J.), New Canaan dumped Fairfield Prep 12-4 Saturday in its best overall performance of the season. The Rams wrapped up their regular season at 13-3 and 9-2 FCIAC play, having outscored their last five opponents 77-18. While the two-time reigning FCIAC champions will now carry considerable momentum into the conference tournament, that’s not originally how head coach Chip Buzzeo drew it up.

“We put these three games on the schedule for the last week of the season on purpose,” Buzzeo said. “In no way did I think we were going to win 14 to 3, 7 to 2, and 12 to 4. I did not believe that. I thought they were going to be tight games. And right now we are playing the best lacrosse at the right moment.”

Harry Stanton scored five times and Justin Meichner added four goals over an 11-1 mid-game stretch that ran the Jesuits out of Dunning Field. New Canaan’s defense surrendered only two scores prior “junk time” in the fourth quarter, when most Ram starters came off the field. Those starters included a senior class that will be looking for a career FCIAC “three-peat” over the coming two weeks.

“It’s a special group of leaders,” Buzzeo said his 2014 class. “They’re great students and good role models. It’s making my job real easy.”

While key defensive adjustments had helped New Canaan since rebound from mid-season losses to Greenwich and Darien, Stanton explained it was a new approach that pushed the Rams to new heights.

“We’ve been playing really hard. We’ve had hard practices, and we wanted to treat this week like a playoff week,” Stanton said. “The teams got a little bit better as we went throughout the week, and you know, we have three losses on the year. But right now I don’t think you would know that because we’re playing really good lacrosse. It’s exciting.”

Looking ahead, New Canaan is very likely to earn chances at revenge over Greenwich or Darien in the conference tournament and perhaps both if it advances to the final. The three rival schools, along with Ridgefield, have come to form the strongest top of the lacrosse leaderboard the FCIAC has seen in years.

“This must be the best FCIAC (tournament), the best four teams we’ve seen in a while,” Stanton said. “It’s definitely going to be tough, but we’re up for the challenge and we want to get that three-peat.”

Andrew Callahan