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Glastonbury Boys Spoil Conard Lacrosse Senior Day

Nick Katsaros avoids the Glastonbury defender. Conard vs. Glastonbury boys lacrosse. May 14, 2024. Photo credit: Paul Palmer

Conard hosted Glastonbury in West Hartford on Tuesday evening.

Sports reporting is sponsored by Keating Agency Insurance

Luke Shaffer of Conard pins Glastonbury defender Luke Baran in his own zone. Shaffer had 3 assists for the Red Wolves in the game. Conard vs. Glastonbury boys lacrosse. May 14, 2024. Photo credit: Paul Palmer

By Paul Palmer

Jacob Leblanc scored twice in a 16-second span of the second quarter as part of  a big day as the Glastonbury Guardians spoiled the Conard Red Wolves’ Senior Day celebration, 12-5, in boys lacrosse.

Liam Alver led Conard with three goals and Luke Shaffer had three assists to move to 203 career points. Shaffer got his 200th point with the OT game winner against East Lyme on Saturday.

“I learned that despite mistakes, we can play with the best team in our conference,” said Conard head coach Matt Cersosimo after the loss. His team was in it for the first half, coming back from down 2-0 in the first, to make it 2-1 with 4:53 to play. Alver opened the second period scoring just 2:00 in on a Schaffer assist. But Leblanc answered for the Guardians :43 later to retake the lead at 3-2. Just :16 after that, it was Leblanc teaming up again with teammate Braeden Saunders who assisted on his last score to make it 4-2.

Conard and Glastonbury players fight for control of the ball in front of the Guardians cage. Conard vs. Glastonbury boys lacrosse. May 14, 2024. Photo credit: Paul Palmer

Just over halfway through the second, Conard had what looked like a golden chance to cut the lead when Glastonbury was called for too many men on the field. But just :13 into the man advantage, the Red Wolves turned the ball over and that was followed by Conard taking a penalty of its own.

Goalie Brayden Mangini managed to keep it a two-goal deficit with a big save while Glastonbury had the extra attacker. At 5:11 though, Lucas Lavery found the back of the net for Glastonbury’s fifth goal, third of the period. They’d push it to 6-2 before Nolan Trent scored from in front on a pass from John Doyle.

On the play, Trent took a stick to the helmet, and Glastonbury was down a man for 1:00 giving Conard the chance to tack on a goal or two.

Jules Capone forces the Glastonbury attacker to go around the cage. Conard vs. Glastonbury boys lacrosse. May 14, 2024. Photo credit: Paul Palmer

Instead of playing the patient game, Conard opted for a quick shot that was easily saved by goalie Cayden Infantino. Showing the skills that have made the Guardians (9-6) a top-10 team in Class LL they took possession and ran it deep into the attack zone and killed off the rest of the penalty. They managed to hold the ball until there was just 1:10 to play in the half. The Guardians were looking for more as the half was expiring but junior defender Jules Capone forced Michael Carroll back of the cage and shut down his passing lane. Carroll would try to find a teammate in front of the goal as time ran out, but the ball fell to the ground and it was 6-3 visitors at the break.

Like the second period, it was Conard scoring first in the third on a nice transition play. It started with Glastonbury gaining possession in its own defensive zone after a Conard pass went out of bounds. The Red Wolves put two-man pressure on the ball, and when the Guardians tried to pass it out of trouble,  Brendan Murphy used his stick to knock the ball away from the Guardians player and Conard recovered. Shaffer would get a pass and find Nick Kotsaros and he made no mistake cutting the lead to 6-2 1:08 into the half.

That goal woke up Glastonbury as they applied the pressure on the net. Mangini made a big save on Mason Damato, and then at 7:00 Mangini made a big shot ticketed for the low corner. The pressure was largely the result of Conard turning the ball over on four consecutive possessions and Mangini and his post managed to stifle the attack.

Brady Cersosimo avoids the check attempt. Conard vs. Glastonbury boys lacrosse. May 14, 2024. Photo credit: Paul Palmer

With 3:39 to play Conard cut the deficit to one  when Shaffer came from deep on the right side and found Alver for the quick catch and shoot goal to make it 6-5.

Thirty-six seconds later Leblanc found teammate Jack Shaheen alone with Mangini. Shaheen made two deeks to get the goalie moving before going high for the momentum killing goal. With 1:18 to play  Carroll punctuated another long possession  Glastonbury when he scored from the left side of the goal to make it 8-5.

It would stay a three-goal game into the fourth and just 1:49 in Conard had another man advantage situation for a minute after Capone was high-sticked in the head. But Conard could not find the offensive play that would work and failed to take advantage of the situation. Back at even strength they had another magnificent opportunity but the attacker fanned on the shot and Glastonbury grabbed the ground ball, moved it up field and with 8:36 to go took the 9-5 lead.

Torin McGoldrck is chased by Glastonbury playerrs after snatching up the ground ball. Conard vs. Glastonbury boys lacrosse. May 14, 2024. Photo credit: Paul Palmer

The Guardians would add three more in the fourth, including the final two scores just 34 seconds apart to send Conard to its sixth loss of the season. The loss meant that the Red Wolves were eliminated from the CCC Boys Lacrosse post-season, but they have qualified for the state Class L tournament. “We were in it until the end of the third,” Cersosimo said. “They will cash in on your mistakes and that is what they did to us in the fourth.”

Conard (9-6) has a chance to win its 10th game of the season when they travel to Hall on Thursday. If they win that game, there is a good chance they would not have to play an opening round game in the Class L tournament. “There is a lot at stake Thursday especially the chance to get our 10th win,” Cersosimo said.

The last Conard boys team to win 10 or more games was the 2016 team that went 11-9, losing to Ridgefield in the opening round of the Class L tournament. In 2017, ’18, and ’19, they won eight games and then lost in the opening round of the playoffs. The last time Conard has been to the playoffs was 2019.

Nick Katsaros follows through on his goal against Glastonbury. Conard vs. Glastonbury boys lacrosse. May 14, 2024. Photo credit: Paul Palmer

Glastonbury goalie Cayden Infantino stops the shot from Jordan Lawson. Conard vs. Glastonbury boys lacrosse. May 14, 2024. Photo credit: Paul Palmer

Luke Shaffer looks to bring the ball out from behind the cage. Conard vs. Glastonbury boys lacrosse. May 14, 2024. Photo credit: Paul Palmer

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