The No. 9 Staples and No. 8 Hall boys lacrosse teams entered Wednesday's Class L first round matchup against one another with identical 12-4 regular season records. You would have a hard time believing that after the 48 minutes were up and the Wreckers walked off the field victorious in a rout.
Will Johnson scored six goals and Michael Reale and Connor Chamberlin each fired hat tricks as Staples advanced to the Class L quarterfinals with a 14-4 win over Hall in West Hartford. Staples will return back to the area Saturday to take on top seeded Simsbury (16-0).
"It was a good way to start our road to the championship," Johnson said. "Hopefully we can make it there again. Getting a win and doing it in this fashion is great for the program."
Going through a tough FCIAC and nonconference schedule has prepared the Wreckers for the state tournament. The Wreckers, which reached the final last year, appeared to be in a different league then their Central Connecticut Conference counterparts.
"You know that if you're not in the right place against a real good team, you're going to get beat one-on- one," Staples coach Paul McNulty said. "It forces you to learn and get better and play faster against better competition."
Staples jumped out to a 5-0 first quarter lead against the Warriors and had put the game out of reach by halftime by building a 9-1 lead. Johnson and Reale each scored three goals in the first 24 minutes as the Wreckers offense had quality looks at the cage.
"Our coaches came up with great plays, and the players around me set me up for goals and I set them up for goals," Johnson said. "(It was) an all-around good effort from coaches and players."
Hall broke up the shutout with 3:26 left in the first half on a goal by William Witter. The Warriors scored twice in the 1:20 after Staples increased its lead to 14-2.
"Yes, (the fast start) was (surprising)," McNulty said. "We've seen Hall play on film a couple of times. They have a lot of players that can play."
Although the Wreckers drew the favorable half of the bracket with FCIAC powers Ridgefield and Greenwich on the opposite side, McNulty guarded against looking past any opposition. The Wreckers defeated Simsbury 4-2 in last season's semifinals. The Trojans dismantled Trumbull 17-6 in the first round.
"You can never tell what the draw is going to be because we were 12-4 and we ended up with an away game," McNulty said. "You just have to go wherever you go."
Wreckers goalie Cole Gendels made 10 saves before exiting in the fourth quarter.
Staples, which lost to New Canaan in the FCIAC quarterfinals May 23, had scrimmages Weston and the Rams during the 12 day break.
Staples 14, Hall 4
STAPLES 5 4 3 2 -- 14
HALL 0 1 1 2 -- 4
Records: Staples 13-4; Hall 12-5. Scoring: S -- Michael Reale 3g, 1a; Tucker Bobrow 1g, 2a; Will Johnson 6g, 1a; Jack Greenwald 1a; Connor Chamberlin 3g; Eric Zurmuehle 1a; Jon Pacilio 1a. H -- Kevin Carr 1g; Marc Ross 2g; William Witter 1g; Owen Macca 2a. Goalies: S -- Cole Gendels (10 saves); Sean Driscoll (1); Peter Burger (0) H -- Alex Liu (11 saves). Shots: S -- 34; H -- 20.