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2022 Boys Lacrosse: HKHS Defeats Valley in SLC Championship Semifinal 10-6

by Mike Kelly
(May 25, 2022)—The Haddam Killingworth High School Boys Varsity lacrosse team moved one step closer to repeating as Shoreline Conference champions in 2022, defeating Valley Regional 10-6 in the conference championship semifinal match in front of a raucous home crowd on Tuesday, May 24, 2022. HK now moves on to face arch-rival Morgan Thursday evening for the championship. The game was quite literally a tale of two halves. The Cougars played somewhat flat in the first half, only to come out and dominate in the second, scoring eight unanswered goals to take a decisive lead they would not relinquish.
Nolan Braren, junior

Valley controlled the first quarter and a portion of the second, scoring three goals to take the 3-0 advantage. The Cougars finally broke through in the second, when attackman Corey Phipps fed Gunnar Howes for the strike, prompting a “he’s just a freshman” chant from the HK student body. Indeed he is, but he didn’t play like one. A minute later Alex Phipps facilitated things, feeding a waiting Nolan Braren above the crease, who buried the shot. Valley still led 3-2 at the half, but momentum was turning.

In the third quarter HK blew things open. The defense played with the tenacity and aggressiveness they’ve used all year, and the offense fired on all cylinders. In the first minute of the third, A. Phipps tied things up with a dodge down the left alley and strike, 3-3. Keeping it in the family, C. Phipps shimmied above the right post and found net, 4-3 HK advantage. Valley answered a few minutes later to knot things 4-4, but from that point forward it was all HK. All Valley could do was watch.

Cooper Pitts, sophomore
Charlie Maxwell, back on the field after missing several games due to injury, picked things up where he left off, getting free on a fast break for the score, 5-4 HK. Moments later Maxwell scored again, dodging and firing a high-to-low dart from 15 yards out, 6-4 HK. Middie Cooper Pitts then took the face-off and raced down field, dishing to C. Phipps, who fired a sidearm scorcher, 7-4 HK. C. Phipps then fed middie Braren, who blasted a low-to-low worm burner from 20 yards above the crease, 8-4 HK.
Jack Insalaco, junior

Early in the fourth quarter, during a man-down situation, d-pole Sam Young forced a turnover and sprinted up field, feeding C. Phipps, who then found Howes on the doorstep for the strike, 9-4 HK. Valley got one back with six minutes left in the game, but any notion of a comeback was smothered soon after when Cougars utility man Nathan Kelly, who played three different positions on the day, banged one in from above the left post, 10-5 HK. Championship game next.

Photos by Liz Griswold.

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