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Champs! Newtown Lacrosse Players Help Cadets To Title



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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.

Sports Editor Andy Hutchison can be reached at andyh@thebee.com.

Eric Burbank, left, scored three goals to help the St. Joseph lacrosse team win the state championship. —Bee Photos, Hutchison
Matt Carpenter had a goal in the pinnacle game.
Newtown’s Eric Burbank, Matt Carpenter, and Alex Burbank celebrate winning the state title with St. Joseph.
The Cadets won their third straight state championship, beating East Catholic 13-9 in Trumbull on June 12.
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