(May 25, 2023) — In what was arguably the most dramatic game of the season, the Haddam Killingworth High School Cougars Boys varsity lacrosse team defeated conference rival Morgan 6-5 in sudden death overtime on May 22, 2023, in the semifinals of the Shoreline Conference Tournament. With the win, the team earned a berth in the championship game on May 25th, and the opportunity to three-peat as champions.
Early in the contest it looked as if the Cougars might run away with the game, as Senior Alex Phipps was able to score with relative ease in the first period. On the first possession Phipps dodged down the right alley and fired a high-to-low winner, 1-0 HK. Minutes later it was the same action and same result, with Phipps netting another, 2-0 HK. Then with minutes left in the first, Senior Nolan Braren found Phipps free 15 yards above the right post for the overhead stepdown winner, 3-0 HK.
At the beginning of the second, Morgan took the face-off and scored on a break, 3-1 HK. The Cougars responded during a man-up advantage when Braren fired a low-to-low worm burner from twenty yards out that scorched the nets, 4-1 HK. Freshman Spencer Savoy then dodged from X and used a crafty move to duck under his defender and bang one home, 5-1 HK. In the moment it seemed as though HK had the game in hand and would cruise to victory. But Morgan would not go away. Late in the second period, Morgan began to rally, scoring two quick goals in a span of two minutes to close within two, 5-3 HK. Then, to begin the third quarter, Morgan scored another, and then tied it with a goal at the 6:01 mark, 6-6. The Cougars were in for a dogfight.
Neither team scored during the entirety of the fourth period. Both defenses refused to yield, and when called upon, HK’s “Shoreline Steel Curtain” was up to the task. Morgan would score no more, they told themselves. Junior goalie Braden Civiello delivered his usual collection of Sportscenter Top 10 saves, while his supporting comrades —d-poles Junior Charlie Maxwell, Senior Aiden Griswold and Senior Nathan Kelly, as well as d-middies Junior Cooper Pitts and Senior Tyler Perry, as well as LSMs Senior Jack Insalaco and Sophomore Jake Mackenzie—all locked down and smothered the Huskies attack. Morgan would score no more.
In the first moments of the sudden death overtime, Junior Cooper Pitts won the critical face-off. HK took a quick timeout and then returned to the field. Phipps got the ball twenty yards above center crease, dodged down the right alley and banged home the winner, 6-5 HK, just as they drew it up. The championship awaits. The Shoreline Conference Championship game will be played on Thursday May 25, 2023, at 7:00 p.m. at the Indian River Complex in Clinton against North Branford. This is the only team HK has lost to all season, so it’s going to be a good game.
Photos by Liz Griswold