RIDGEFIELD — The Ridgefield boys lacrosse team got a solid return out of Kai Prohaszka this afternoon.
Then again, they almost always do.
Prohaszka, one of the state’s top defenders, drew the unenviable task of shadowing New Canaan star Chris Canet for the first half. With Hayden Shin dominating draw controls, the Rams had the ball seemingly for the entire second quarter, scoring four straight goals to take a 7-4 halftime lead.
Tigers coach Roy Colsey moved Prohaszka to the faceoff circle to start the second half, a role he has not had at the varsity level. Prohaszka won the first draws to help Ridgefield tie the game, then held his own the rest of the way to play an integral part of a 10-9 come-from-behind victory in a driving rain at Tiger Hollow.
“It was just possession,” Colsey said. “New Canaan has always been great at facing off. We didn’t want to use Kai there because he’s so important in everything else that we do. Come second half, realizing we’re in trouble, Kai did an awesome job. He won quite a few that got us going and then I think it was 50-50, and we can survive that.”
Prohaszka said his change in assignments just provided another test.
“Second game, against Canet, it’s a tough challenge,” Prohaszka said. “He’s a great player and we made adjustments at halftime. On draws I was just trying to lift the bottom hand, get good body position and just trying to keep control of the ball on the ground.”
Junior attack Ryan Colsey led the way with four goals for Ridgefield (2-0). CJ Lauretani finished with three goals, while Matthew Shepard had several big saves in goal.
Ryan Colsey’s third goal tied the game at 7-7 and after an exchange of scores his last put the Tigers ahead 9-8 late in the third quarter.
In a defensive final period, Luke Winkler gave Ridgefield a two-goal advantage with 10:08 left, but Ryan Caione scored his second goal for the Rams to draw within 10-9 with 5:19 left.
The Tigers are known for killing time late with leads, a strategy that won them the state title in 2018, and they ran out most of the remainder of the clock to end the game.
“The fourth quarter came and they sat on it,” Buzzeo said. “Unfortunately that’s the rules. There’s no shot clock. You never want to go into the fourth quarter down to Ridgefield. But I’m proud of the way both teams played.”
Despite the conditions it was a clean game. Neither team led by more than two goals save for the seven minutes the Rams had a 7-4 lead.
Roy Colsey said the Tigers’ play coming out of halftime and the change in momentum were critical to the outcome.
“We’ve got systems that work and I think the guys did a really good job coming out in the second half and realizing we just have to play a certain way,” Roy Colsey said. “It doesn’t have to be slow, but it has to be deliberate, it has to be smart and we have to use our IQ. And Ryan came out and made a couple of big plays, Kai, Shepard made a couple of big stops and then we got going. I told the guys in the locker room the next two goals, whichever way they go, was going to be huge. Three in a row stopped that run and we were able to come out with the lead at the end of the quarter.”
After going so long without touching the ball, Ryan Colsey said he was ready to play a catalyst on offense.
“It’s tough. You can’t do anything on offense when we don’t have the ball,” Ryan Colsey said. “When we had the ball we were doing really well in the first half so I trusted that our defense was going to get us the ball back and they did. You still have to stick to the system. You can’t go off doing your own thing. We know we are going to score goals as long as we stick to it.”
Canet led the Rams (1-2) with three goals — all in the first half. The teams traded the first eight goals of the match until Shin ensured that the Rams had control of the ball. Their final three scores of the half came in a span of 2:14.
“It was a really good game,” Buzzeo said. “We had miscues on some opportunities and their offense played great in the second half.”