Fairfield Prep's Brendan Rotanz played with many of the seniors on the Staples High School boys lacrosse team growing up. He knew Jack Ambrose especially well. Through the first quarter of Tuesday's Class L semifinal, the players were unusually quiet.
"Usually Jack and I are chatting it up all the time,'' Rotanz said. "We were both stonefaced. He finally broke the silence in the second quarter and said I've never been so nervous about playing a game. I said I know exactly what you mean."
Rotanz, a Westport resident, stepped up in the fourth quarter to lead the Jesuits to an exciting 9-8 victory. Prep, the No. 4 seed, will play No. 2 seed Cheshire in Saturday's state final at Brien McMahon at 1 p.m. Prep is seeking its fifth straight state title.
Rotanz played a huge part in getting them there. The Wreckers led 7-4 late in the third period before Norwalk's Griff McGoldrick scored with 2:16 left to reduce the deficit to 7-5. Rotanz, who will play at Dartmouth College next year, then fired in four straight goals including three in a 1:33 span to give Prep a 9-7 lead. Nate Greenberg's goal with 1:53 left made it 9-8.
"I have a lot of my friends from Westport giving me a little bit of crap, but it's all good fun,'' said Rotanz, whose brother Robert played on the national champion lacrosse team at Duke. "They had a great season. It was a great game. It's too bad somebody had to lose."
Rotanz and McGoldrick are among six seniors on Prep who will be playing collegiate lacrosse next year. They have one more step to take in their high school career in Saturday's final.
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