By Mike Kelly
(May 18, 2023) — The two-time defending Shoreline Conference Champion Haddam Killingworth Cougars Boys Varsity Lacrosse team dominated conference foe Valley Regional on May 16, 2023, winning 15-6. With the victory, the Cougars moved their record to an impressive 13-2, 9-2 in conference.
As the Cougars near the end of their regular season, the team appears to be playing its best lacrosse, with the offense firing on all cylinders and the defense ratcheting up the intensity to eleven. Against Valley, HK got the scoring started early and often, seemingly putting up points at will against the Warriors defense. The game was never close, with the Cougars scoring on virtually every possession through the first three quarters of the contest.
On the very first possession Senior Nolan Braren dodged down the left alley, spun his defender and fired a high-to-high scorcher, 1-0 HK. A minute later, Braren found Junior Alex Battistoni diving toward the crease just above the right post, 2-0 HK. Freshman Finn O’Hanlon (Freshman on paper, but certainly playing like an upperclassman) then bull dodged his way down the right alley, knocking over his defender before burying a winner from ten yards out, 3-0 HK.
On the next possession, the Cougars broke out with a fast break, with Freshman Ethan Pitts (also playing like an upperclassman) burying one on the doorstep, assist from Sophomore Gunnar Howes, 4-0 HK.
In the second period the Cougars continued their offensive fireworks display, beginning with Braren roping a low-to-low missile from dead center 15 yards above the cage, 5-0 HK. Minutes later Braren banged home another, rolling left to right above the crease and finishing with a nasty sidearm, 6-0 HK. Senior Alex Phipps shoulder-faked his defender and then fired a wicked overhead stepdown that scorched the nets, 7-0 HK. Next it was Howes dodging down the left alley, 8-0 HK. A few minutes later Freshman Spencer Savoy (also not playing like a freshman any longer) fired a high-to-low winner inside the right post from 15 yards out, assist Braren, 9-0 HK. O’Hanlon then dodged down the right alley before switching to his left hand for the shot and score, 10-0 HK.
At the start of the third Valley was finally able to put something on the board, 10-1 HK. The Cougars responded immediately when Savoy found Pitts free ten yards above the right post, 11-1 HK. On the next possession Braren danced from the right goal-line-extended and finessed home a shot, 12-1 HK.
The Cougars then ran off another fast break, with the ball pinballing from Phipps to Savoy to Howes for the one-timer, 13-1 HK. Valley clawed one back with 2:14 left in the third, 13-2 HK, but Freshman John Moyer negated it when he punched in a shot from ten yards above the right post, 14-2 HK. Valley scored a handful of garbage time goals to make the game appear closer on paper than it ever was in reality, 14-4 HK. Howes capped off HK’s scoring on the night with a strong dodge from goal-line-extended, banging one inside the right post 15-4 HK. Valley tacked on two more gratuitous goals for the final 15-6 HK. Old Lyme next.
Photos by Liz Griswold