Ludlowe defeats Shelton, fall to GHS in states

Paced by five goals from Graham Browne, the Fairfield Ludlowe boys lacrosse team defeated Shelton High, 16-10, in a Division L qualifying round matchup on Saturday, May 31, at Finn Stadium.
Keith Prior netted three goals for Shelton, which finished its season 9-8 overall. Jesse Lopez and Paul Russell had two markers each and Nick Sinko scored a goal.
For the Falcons, Trevor Demilt added four goals, Lorin Tobey three markers, Sig Sandberg two and Matt Doyle and Joseph Casucci one each.
No. 18 seed Ludlowe (8-9) advanced to face No. 2 seed Greenwich High (14-2) in the second round on June 4. The Cardinals won a 12-4 decision.
Browne scored a pair of goals in the opening minute of the contest to put the Falcons ahead for good, with senior midfielder Ryan Vitale dominating the faceoff circle. Vitale won the first two draws and went on to capture 23-of-29 faceoffs. He also proved to be defensive fulcrum, forcing 19 groundballs.
“That was what affected the game,” Shelton coach Matt Read said of the Falcons’ faceoff efficiency. “They have very good sticks and they finish when they had to.”
Schiffer answered with a goal at 10:45, cutting the Gaels’ gap in half, before Doyle, Sandberg and Demilt countered with Falcon tallies to make it 5-1 at the 5:29 mark.
Shelton tested Falcon keeper John Carey (nine saves), but Joshua Kreitler’s jump shot sailed wide of the cage and Jack Gleason skimmed a side-winding shot over the top of the cage.
Browne then finished off the first-quarter hat trick with a tally with 42.6 seconds left, giving Ludlowe a 6-1 lead after one.
Lopez beat Carey at 7:15 to narrow the margin to 6-2. Browne and Tobey responded with consecutive strikes, with Gael keeper Tim Schiffer denying Tobey with a brilliant save to prevent further damage.
Schiffer was stellar in the cage for Shelton, making 18 saves.
After a Gaels’ timeout, Lopez scored off an assist from Kyle McGinnis to make it 8-3.
With 1:10 left in the half, Sandberg bagged his second goal of the game, before Casucci netted a marker from distance with 59.8 seconds left following yet another faceoff win from Vitale.
That made it 10-3 at the break, with the Falcons putting together a dominant third quarter to increase their lead to 14-5 heading into the final frame. Prior and Chris Schiffer provided the goals for Shelton during the period.
Shelton put together a strong performance in the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t enough to put a scare into the Falcons, who routinely face the top teams in the state playing in the FCIAC.
“Overall, they’re just very tough competition,” Read said.
Demilt made it 15-5 with a goal at 8:35, before a run of four consecutive markers, two apiece from Prior and Russell, got the Gaels within 15-9.
Tobey and Sinko traded goals in the final minute to provide the final scoreline of 16-10.

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