Boys lacrosse: Danbury shuts down New Milford
Danbury lacrosse goalie Justin Tarsi missed practice time ahead of the Hatters’ showdown with neighbor New Milford with a lingering lower back injury.
It didn’t affect his performance in the slightest, though.
Tarsi made 14 saves, the defense in front of him locked down the Green Wave attack and sophomore Tyler Warren netted a pair of goals as the Hatters earned a 7-4 win in a battle between backlines Friday.
Danbury — which got five of its seven goals from freshmen and sophomores — erupted for four goals in the second quarter to snatch a 5-2 lead. The defense did the rest despite waves of possession against them.
“We’ve taken a big step forward from last year,” Hatters coach Bill Kersten said. “We have four freshmen who are playing a lot or starting; last year we were competitive but couldn’t sustain it. We’d be on the other side of this game last year.”
With New Milford senior Nate Capriglione winning virtually every draw for the visitors, both Tarsi and the defense were called upon to make big stops. Tarsi made a pair of difficult saves in the final minutes to prevent a rally.
“I just had to stay focused on the ball because I understood that the defense sometimes gets tired,” said Tarsi, a three-year starter for the Hatters. “They’re working as hard as they can; you have just to make the big saves.”
The win was just another for the Hatters in their fast start; the 6-2 mark is the best start in program history as they chase the single-season record of nine set in 2016. The goal of reaching the state tournament remains a distinct possibility.
“We’re just together this year,” said senior defender Solomon James. “We have a few pieces that came up from our youth program that’s really helped us offensively and defensively. We’re able to press out on teams and get on their hands.”
Alfred LaPerch, Jonathan Warren and Capriglione scored for New Milford (4-4), which has dropped three of four after a 3-1 start. Mistakes in the attacking end came back to bite the Green Wave, coach Evan Cassells said.
“I don’t think it was a lack of effort for why it didn’t come out in our favor, we just didn’t execute well on offense with passing and catching,” Cassells said. “It wasn’t where it should have been, but (Danbury) played great defense on us and they know (Capriglione) is our go-to guy and they executed.”
Life in the FCIAC middle pack is never easy, despite the positive start. The Hatters face New Canaan, Darien and Ridgefield in their next three games, the top three-ranked teams in the state who also are ranked nationally.
“When you have to play some of the best teams in the nation, you have to basically show that you’re not going to back down,” James said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s the No. 1 or the lowest team in the nation, you still have to play.”
Player of the Game
Justin Tarsi, Danbury: A stop with his feet late on was the highlight of the 14-save effort.
“It only takes one goal to ignite that spark but unfortunately it didn’t happen for us,” Cassells said.
DANBURY 7, NEW MILFORD 4
NEW MILFORD 1 2 0 1 — 4
DANBURY 1 4 1 1 — 7
Records: New Milford 4-4, Danbury 6-2. Scoring: NM—Alfred LaPerch 1g; Jonathan Warren 1g; Nate Capriglione 1g; Nicholas Rufa 1g. D—Tyler Warren 2g, 1a; Colin MacNevin 1g; Logan Sarkisian 1g; Aidan Messuri 1g; DJ Donovan 1g, 1a; Derek Rivers 1g, 2a.