Many seniors on the Staples High School boys lacrosse team grew up playing with Fairfield Prep's Brendan Rotanz. Tuesday night, they couldn't stop him when it mattered most.
Rotanz erupted for four goals in the fourth quarter to lift the Jesuits to an exciting 9-8 win over the Wreckers in the semifinals of the Class L boys lacrosse tournament. No. 4 Prep (18-5) will take on No. 2 Cheshire in the championship game Saturday at Brien McMahon. The Jesuits are seeking their fifth straight Class L title. Cheshire has defeated Prep twice already this season.
"I'm sorry I stepped up late,'' said Rotanz, a Westport resident. "I just couldn't get anything going early." Before the outburst by Rotanz, Staples appeared to have control of the game. Chris Orban's goal with 3:04 left in the third quarter gave Staples a 7-4 lead. Prep's Griff McGoldrick, who scored three goals, made it 7-5 with 2:16 left in the third.
Starting with just under 10 minutes left in the game, Rotanz scored three goals within a span of 1:33 to give Prep the lead. He added another one with 3:50 left, and the insurance proved crucial when Nate Greenberg's third goal of the game sliced the lead to 9-8 with 1:53 remaining. Staples applied pressure in the final minute. Chris Orban's behind the head shot with 50 seconds left hit the side of the net, and Prep cleared. Staples had one final chance but Charlie Ross was stopped by goalie David Long (10 saves) with four seconds left.
"They outhustled us in the fourth quarter,'' Orban said. "We were feeling hopeful and positive when we were leading, and we kept trying. At the end they had more heart than we did."
Quinn Kenning and Tyler Cox also scored for Prep. Orban scored a pair for the Wreckers, while Ross and Nick Maki added one apiece. Goalie Austin Waiter made 14 saves.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.