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Pagano helps Granby boys lacrosse rally to win NCCC Tournament title

Granby's Zach Quinn, who scored three goals, tries to get to the goal in Thursday night's NCCC Tournament championship game.

Granby’s Zach Quinn, who scored three goals, tries to get to the goal in Thursday night’s NCCC Tournament championship.

SUFFIELD – Falling behind really doesn’t rattle the Granby High boys lacrosse – even when they give up the first four goals of the game to Somers.

Somers and Granby shared the North Central Connecticut Conference (NCCC) championship this spring with each team going 9-1. The teams split the two-game season series with each team winning on their home field.

The Spartans led by four goals after one quarter and twice had leads of three goals in the third quarter but Granby slowed down Somers enough to earn an 11-10 victory in the NCCC Tournament championship game Thursday at Suffield High.

Tournament MVP Dominic Pagano scored the final of his game-high six goals with 1:29 remaining to put the Bears ahead for good.

IThe game was a hard-fought thriller that came down to a few big plays. With the score tied at 10, Somers’ Ray McCarthy dropped the ball in the Granby crease. Pagano scooped up the loose ball and nearly ran the length of the field, scoring with 1:29 remaining.

In the third quarter, Somers goalie Alex Bliesner made a save on a shot by Pagano. But when Bliesner tried to clear the ball, Pagano stepped in front the pass for the interception. He took a step and scored to cut the Spartans lead to two goals, 7-5.

“In a game with two good teams, every mistake is a critical mistake,” Granby coach Dave Emery said. “It is critical because you lose possession of the ball. If you give a good team extra possessions, it can come back and bite you. You can’t make unforced errors against a good team.”

Later in the quarter, Zach Quinn scored one of his three goals with one second left in the quarter to cut the Somers’ lead to one, 8-7.

Granby tied the game on a goal from senior co-captain Josh Ferreria with 9:33 remaining in the game and took its first lead on a goal from Pagano with 6:40 left in the game. That came after Somers’ had hit the post on its previous possession. Pagano scored again to extend the lead to 10-8.

But Somers (15-2) rallied on goals from Steve Astone and Ray McCarthy to tie the game at 10-10 with 3:47 remaining.

Granby won its first NCCC Tournament title since 2010.

“This means everything,” said Ferreria. “This was a statement win for us. We’re ready to roll.”

The Bears erased a five-goals deficit in a game against Somers earlier this year and turned a one-goal halftime lead against Avon in the tournament semifinal into a seven-goal victory.

“We have faith in our boys,” Ferreira said. “We take it one step at a time and work our way back into the game.”

Goalie Brendan Moore had eight saves for the Bears, who outshot the Spartans, 30-25. Eight different players scored for Somers, led by Eddie Hill with two goals. It was a disappointing loss for Somers, which left its second place trophy alone on the sideline while they had a team meeting.

The two teams could meet for a fourth time if both advance to the Class S finals. They are on opposite sides of the bracket. Somers is the No. 2 seed and Granby is seeded fourth.

The Granby High boys lacrosse team celebrates the NCCC Tournament title and its second win of the season over Somers.

The Granby High boys lacrosse team celebrates the NCCC Tournament title and its second win of the season over Somers.

Granby 11, Somers 10
At Suffield
Granby (14-3)            0  3  4  4  — 11
Somers (15-2)            4  1  3  2  — 10
Goals: Granby – Max Mason, Zach Quinn 3, Josh Ferreria, Dominic Pagano 6; Somers – Connor Wyllie, Ray McCarthy, Eddie Hill 2, Spencer Beebe, Steve Astone, Dom Giacello, Christian Daley; Assists: Granby – Ferreria, Shane Kertanis, Logan Strain 2; Somers – Wyllie 2, Ryan Lynch, Hill, Astone, Marc Bedulieu; Saves – Brendan Moore (G) 8, Alex Bliesner (S) 11; Shots – Granby 30-25

 

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 30 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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