Border wars: Connecticut-New York lax teams set for battle at New Fairfield
Connecticut, New York powers ready to clash at New Fairfield High
Growing up on Long Island, Brendan Talbot remembers how excited he and his Longwood High teammates would be when they crossed the Long Island Sound to take on teams in Connecticut.
Talbot, a 1997 graduate from Longwood, played in the annual Battle Across the Sound lacrosse tournament, which posses Connecticut powers Darien and New Canaan against some of New York's best.
"It was an amazing atmosphere," Talbot said. "It was incredibly electric."
Now, Talbot, the New Milford boys lacrosse coach, is hoping to create that same environment for his players.
Today at noon, the Green Wave will take on William Floyd (Mastic Beach, N.Y.) in the first game of the inaugural Connecticut-New York lacrosse festival at New Fairfield High.
In the second game, Cheshire will take on Plainedge High (North Massapequa, N.Y.) at 3 p.m. at Rebel Stadium with host New Fairfield battling Rye (Rye, N.Y.) in the finale at 6 p.m.
Admission for all three games will be free.
"We wanted to draw the best teams we could," said Talbot, who is in his second year at New Milford after being an assistant under Marty Morgan at New Fairfield. "I think we'd all like to put this area of Connecticut on the map and to do that we have to go out and beat some established New York lacrosse teams."
The Green Wave, Rams and Rebels will certainly have their chance, but it won't be easy.
William Floyd, New Milford's opponent, is ranked No. 6 in the loaded Suffolk County while Rye, New Fairfield's adversary, reached the New York semifinals in 2008.
Plainedge, meanwhile, was in the Nassau County semifinals in 2008.
"Darien and New Canaan have been doing this for years and look where it has helped take those programs," Talbot said. "We want to break into that elite group, but before we can do that we have to earn some respect."
But Talbot's motivation goes beyond breaking the Green Wave into the lacrosse elite.
It's also about giving back.
Talbot is hoping to model the event after the annual Battle Across the Sound, which raised money this year for Lacrosse for Autism.
In the two-game event, which was held on April 11 at Darien, No. 19 Darien fell to No. 24 Manhasset (N.Y.) 14-13 and New Canaan loss to Garden City (N.Y.) 11-4.
And there is one charity that holds a special place in Talbot's heart.
While playing at Quinnipiac, Talbot and his teammates participated every year in an event that benefitted Lacrosse for Leukemia.
The Bobcats were assigned a specific leukemia patient, a young girl named Elizabeth from Maryland, who Talbot and the players grew incredibly close to.
"It makes it a lot more realistic," Talbot said of the Lacrosse for Leukemia. "You can see who you are trying to help."
This year Talbot got such late commitments from teams that he was unable to setup a relationship with a charity.
But Talbot is hoping this event will be around next year to benefit someone in need.
The Rebels and the Green Wave have already committed to go to Long Island next year for games and are hoping to establish a home-and-home series with teams.
"We are hoping this is just the start of something special," Talbot said.
TIGERS EARNING NATIONAL ATTENTION: Ridgefield is currently ranked No. 23 in the nation in the latest (April 9) Inside Lacrosse poll and is rated No. 13 in the country in the LaxPower ratings.
Darien, ranked 19th, is the only other Connecticut team in the Inside Lacrosse poll.
The Tigers are 5-0 and have scored an average of 16.5 goals a game in their first four wins and are holding opponents to just three goals an outing.
Ridgefield is coming off a 15-4 dismantling of rival Wilton last Saturday and a 12-5 victory over Long Island power Massapequa (N.Y.) on Tuesday. Ridgefield also beat Norwalk on Monday 18-3.
All-American and Virginia bound Matt White has led the Tigers with 11 goals and eight assists in those three games. The Tigers next matchup is Wednesday against rival Danbury at 4:30 p.m. on Clapboard Ridge.
Contact Dan Farrand at
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