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  • Greg Lederer

Rams Boys' Lacrosse Rallies By Rival, Boys' V-Ball Team Falls To Blue Wave

Above from left, Joe Grenier and Adam Vernon helped Cheshire boys' lacrosse win 17-10 over Notre Dame-West Haven. Photo by Greg Lederer.

by Greg Lederer

Cheshire Sports Media

In the home opener on Tuesday, Cheshire High School boys’ lacrosse (4-1) came from behind to pick up their third straight win, 17-10, over Notre Dame-West Haven (2-1). Down 5-0 going into the second quarter, the Rams responded with an 11-0 run to take the lead for good.

“We don’t start out fast sometimes, but we picked it up,” said senior Adam Vernon. “Once we get a couple of goals, it gets everybody going.”

Vernon tallied six goals and two assists, while senior tri-captain Matt Jeffery (three assists) and junior Sean Grevelding (two assists) both scored four times. Senior tri-captain Ryan Grove posted two goals and controlled 24 of 30 face-offs and junior Brady Potyrala contributed a goal and two assists.

“A lot of guys are keying on number four (Jeffery) and we are going to try and adapt to that,” stated Head Coach Mike Devine. “We are watching film and making Matt a great feeder. He is buying into that role and we are doing a lot of great things.”

The Green Knights were the aggressor early, posting a shutout in the opening quarter. Along with holding the possession advantage, ND-WH built a lead behind two goals from sophomore Matthew Kelly and single tallies from junior Mitchell Johnston and seniors Dominick Basti and Cooper Savoy.

“(With) Coach (AJ) Alessi and Notre Dame, they have their kids ready to play. They are well-coached and have been doing this for a long time,” said Devine. “We have to come ready to play for a full 48 (minutes) against a well-coached team that is going to get their guys ready to play. We are lucky that we bounced back as a whole group for the last three quarters.”

The Rams didn’t get off to a fast start on offense, but junior goalkeeper Joe Grenier (personal high 15 saves) made key saves to keep ND-WH from getting a bigger advantage.

“I knew that I had to step up for the team,” stated Grenier, who credited the defenders in front of him. “I couldn’t do it without them. It is harder to stop shots with no one in front of you.”

“He was awesome,” reflected Vernon. “He came up big for us when we weren’t playing well. We wish we could have gotten more early for him early, but we got going after that."

Momentum shifted during the second quarter, as CHS outscored their rival 6-0 to take a one-goal lead at halftime. Vernon was shaken up in a collision in front of the ND-WH net, but returned to net a hat trick in the second.

Jeffery, Grove, and Potyrala also scored in the second. Jeffery twice found Vernon for goals, the second of which put Cheshire ahead 6-5 with six seconds left in the second.

The Rams returned to net the opening five goals of the second half to build an 11-5 lead with 8:04 remaining in the third quarter. Vernon and Jeffery converted twice in the spurt and Grevelding also found the back of the net.

ND-WH responded with three goals from Savoy, but Grevelding and Jeffery scored to end the third quarter.

In recorded all of his six points in the second half, Grevelding helped Cheshire pull away for the home win. Freshman Grant Paul added an assist for CHS.

In the last three quarters, the Rams held the possession advantage over the Green Knights.

“We’ve got to just do a little better job of doing the little things,” stated Devine. "We are not picking up first-time ground balls in that area between the 30s. That is where you are winning those games. We figured it out, but we need to put it together for four quarters.”

On Saturday, the Rams host Archbishop Stepinac (New York) at 1 p.m.

Lacrosse player Adam Vernon scores on a pass from teammate Matt Jeffery.

Boys’ Volleyball (2-2)

CHS fell 3-0 (19-25, 16-25, 26-28) to defending Class L Champion Darien (2-1). In the first set, Cheshire cut a 16-9 deficit to 22-19, but the Blue Wave won the final three points.

Darien carried momentum into the second set, as senior Griffith Crouse served them out to an 8-0 lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.

Game three was the tightest frame. The Blue Wave claimed three of the opening four points, however, Cheshire made a push to go up 5-4.

CHS took their biggest lead at 15-13, but after the Rams missed a serve, Darien ran off three points to retake the lead.

The Blue Wave earned match point at 24-20, however, Cheshire dug deep to reel off four points and tie the set. The Rams tied the frame at 25-25 and 26-26, yet Darien won the last two points to clinch the road win.

“We missed six serves in that game. We weren’t able to build a lead because of that,” explained Head Coach Sue Bavone. “We definitely want to play against good teams, so when we get to the end of the season, the guys know what to expect.”

Junior tri-captain Matti Lilback led Cheshire with 12 kills, three blocks, and three digs. Senior tri-captain Connor Hayes posted five kills, three digs, two aces, and two blocks.

Sophomore Bradley Fang contributed a personal-high 12 assists.

On Friday, Cheshire plays Southington at 6 p.m.

Volleyball player Matti Lilback puts down earns a block against Darien.

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