Champs! Newtown Lacrosse Players Help Cadets To Title
TRUMBULL — The St Joseph High School of Trumbull boys’ lacrosse team celebrated its third straight Class S state championship, defeating No. 7 East Catholic of Manchester 13-9, at semi neutral site Trumbull High on June 12. The Cadets are led by senior captain Eric Burbank and senior Matt Carpenter, both of Newtown. Freshman Alex Burbank was a part of the celebration and will look to carry on big brother’s winning tradition in years to come.
Eric Burbank had three goals, three assists, and a groundball scoop in the victory. Carpenter had a goal and two grounders for the Cadets.
The Cadets were very deceptive No. 17 seed, narrowly getting into the tourney with a .467 winning percentage (.400 or better meets the standard, and 19 teams qualified).
St Joe’s competes out of the tough FCIAC, which also boasted Class L state champ Ridgefield, a No. 14 seed in its bracket.
The Cadets beat No. 16 Stonington 21-1 in the qualifying round, edged South-West Conference standout and top-seeded New Fairfield 8-7 in the first round, topped No. 8 Haddam-Killingworth 18-8 in the quarterfinal round, and beat No. 4 St Paul of Bristol 20-5 in the semis.
St Joseph became the first boys’ lacrosse team to win a state title despite a sub-.500 record in the regular season.
New Fairfield provided the toughest competition in the state playoffs.
“We knew New Fairfield was a really good team. That was a state championship-esque game in the first round,” Eric Burbank said. “It gave us a little bit of confidence.”
Not that the Cadets haven’t gained some confidence from its past state tourney success, but it had been a couple of years, given the entire 2020 spring slate was canceled due to the novel coronavirus. Eliminating the top seed in such a nail-biter got the Cadets off and running after that easy qualifying-round triumph.
“We took what we got from [the win over New Fairfield] and rolled it over into the next three rounds,” Eric Burbank added.
The seniors never lost a state playoff game. They had that unfortunate interruption of not having a junior campaign and had to play through some adversity this spring, forced to quarantine for a couple of weeks and play a bulk of the schedule in a condensed period of days.
“It’s an unreal feeling. Last year we got it taken away from us. This year we worked through everything,” Carpenter said.
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