Hall boys lacrosse advances to the CIAC Class L quarterfinals with a win over New Milford, marking program milestones along the way.
By Marlon Pitter
“Slow and steady wins the race”? Don’t tell that to the Hall High School boys lacrosse team.
Once the Warriors got on the board in the first minute of play, they never looked back en route to a 17-5 win over New Milford on Wednesday afternoon in the first round of the CIAC Class L tournament at home in West Hartford.
The victory was Hall’s first playoff win since 1998 and sets up a quarterfinal contest against Ridgefield on Saturday afternoon, as the Tigers defeated Trumbull 13-6 on Wednesday. It also ties the program record for the most wins in a season, 13, set back in 1984.
“I thought, top to bottom, it was one of our best performances of the year,” said Hall head coach Ben von Mayrhauser. “It’s a perfect time for us to be peaking, and I think it’s due to the week of practice we just had. These guys are locked in right now.”
Hall jumped out to a 6-0 lead over the Green Wave with 6:58 left in the first quarter, but New Milford answered at the 5:46 mark to bring the contest to 6-1. Max Congdon scored three of his five goals in the first 5:02 of game action, completing his hat trick on the team’s sixth tally. As a distributor, he added three assists to his offensive onslaught.
Hall’s offense continued to find the net in response to the Green Wave goal. The team scored three times in the last three minutes of the opening period to take a 9-1 lead heading into the second.
Griffin Smith extended the run with another first-minute goal in the second quarter, putting the Warriors up 10-1 with 11:19 to play.
Nearly four minutes later, New Milford tallied another goal with 7:21 on the clock, cutting Hall’s lead to 10-2.
Nolan Tibball sparked the Warriors’ offense single-handedly with 6:11 remaining in the half as he spun off multiple Green Wave defenders, carried the ball into the Hall offensive zone, and scored his second goal of the contest. Tibball and Congdon scored the next three goals – Tibball completing his hat trick and Congdon notching his fourth and fifth scores – to make it a 14-2 game at the intermission.
“We wanted effort, and Max [Congdon] and Nolan [Tibball] are hustle and effort guys, so it’s no surprise that they had good games given that that was the game plan,” von Mayrhauser said of their contributions.
With a 12-goal lead entering the second half, the Warriors were able to keep the running clock in effect throughout the second half.
Hall led by as many as 14 early in the final quarter when Tibball scored his fourth goal with 10:10 on the clock, going up 17-3. Along the way, Smith completed his hat trick on the team’s 16th goal with 6:20 remaining in the third quarter.
Nate Capriglione and Connor Sheeran each scored twice for the Green Wave. Evan Golembeske tallied two points of his own for the visitors with a goal and an assist.
The Warriors’ next opponent was still undetermined at the end of their game, but von Mayrhauser said the team is confident and ready for any foe.
“We sort of feel like we’re playing with house money at this point,” he said. “We’re just going to have a couple great days of practice, we’re going to prepare for whoever it is, and we’re going to come out here and play our hearts out on Saturday.”
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