STRATFORD—It was Senior Day for the Stratford High boys lacrosse team on Saturday.
It took an opposing senior to ruin the moment.
Bunnell’s Anthony Trovarelli scored five goals to spark the Bulldogs to an 11-4 win over the host Red Devils at Penders Field.
The victory allowed Bunnell to sweep the season series over Stratford. The Bulldogs also won by an 11-5 count back on April 23.
Trovarelli had three goals in that game, giving him eight against the Red Devils this season.
“We were thirsty for a win,” Trovarelli said. “We’d been in a drought and we wanted to come out fast, take the momentum and we held onto it. Everybody knew what they were doing, their heads were focused on the game and everybody was prepared and ready to go. We executed our offense.”
Trailing 5-1 midway through the second quarter, Stratford’s Randy Nightingale scored late in the second and early in the third to cut the lead to 5-3.
After Bunnell’s Charles Stewart scored, Stratford answered again with a tally by Tyler Ciccia to make it 6-4 with 1:43 left in the third.
“It was crucial for us to have the ability to squash any efforts they had in coming back,” Bunnell coach Alex Wiser said. “Whenever they answered us, we responded right back, and we held firm on the momentum. We emphasized that to the guys. We had to stay in control and we did.”
And it was Trovarelli helping Bunnell clinch the sweep.
He scored 1:03 after Ciccia’s goal and added another goal early in the fourth to push the lead back to four at 8-4.
“That was really important,” Trovarelli said. “We couldn’t let them get the momentum or the whole game could have turned on us. They answered, but we answered back.”
The senior stepping up in that clutch situation was just another reason Stratford coach Brian Mayglothling was happy it would be his last time facing Trovarelli.
“I’m glad the kid is a senior,” Mayglothling said. “He hurt us in the first game, too. He’s really quick, he’s great off the ball and he’s aggressive and not afraid to shoot. In a game like this, those games stand out. He does a great job picking his spots. I’m not sad to see him go.”
Stewart, Will Heiden and Zack Souza had two goals each for Bunnell, which improved to 5-8 on the season.
Goalie Quinton Budnick had seven saves, three of which came in the fourth quarter, including a diving stop on a ball that was looking to roll into the cage.
“It was a great feeling making those saves,” said Budnick, a first-year varsity goalie. “That ball hit my shoulder and popped out and I couldn’t see it anywhere, then I saw it bounce and it was rolling in. I just dove down on it.”
For Stratford, Devin Brainard also had a goal while goalie Thomas Cox made seven saves.
The Red Devils fell to 2-12 on the season.
“It’s a young group of guys,” Mayglothling said. “You’d like to think the emotion of the rivalry would mean we’d come out quick, but we haven’t been that type of team all year.”
Still, the Red Devils made the game a lot closer than the final score indicated.
“I thought we were going to make a game off it,” Mayglothling said. “The wheels came off the bus there a little bit. It was a little disheartening the way it ended up because it wasn’t indicative of how close the game was.”
Stratford plays a Bethel on Monday and wraps up its season with a non-conference road game at Fairfield Warde on Wednesday.
Bunnell—which needs two wins to make the state tournament—plays at New Milford on Monday. The Bulldogs have three games remaining.