Comeback falls short as John Jay tops Ridgefield

It was almost a great comeback.

After falling behind 4-0 against host John Jay on Monday evening, the Ridgefield High boys lacrosse team rallied to tie the game at 7-7.

But John Jay scored five of the final seven goals to beat the Tigers, 12-9, in Cross River, N.Y.

“It was a tough start,” said Ridgefield head coach Roy Colsey. “We just made too many mistakes. We had opportunities for the duration of the game and had chances to make plays … whether it was offensively or defensively … but we didn’t make enough.

“If I was watching the game from the stands I would say that the orange team (Ridgefield) was sloppy tonight and the white team (John Jay) played very, very good lacrosse,” added Colsey. “My hat’s off to them; they played a great lacrosse game.”

Weston Carpenter led the Tigers with four goals and Dawson Muller had three assists. Also scoring for Ridgefield were James Isaacson and Noah Gels with two goals each and John Mathes with one.

Defensively, Luke Gaydos gave a dynamic performance by creating turnovers and frustrating the John Jay offense. Close defenders Noah Isaacson, Michael Dobson and Jack Dowd also played well and shored up the backline after a rough beginning.

“We were definitely sloppy throughout the game and we need to clean that up if we want to compete against the best teams in the FCIAC and in the state,” said Gaydos.

John Jay opened the scoring with four goals in just over six minutes before Ridgefield got a goal by Carpenter with 3:51 remaining in the first quarter. A turnover created by Dobson with just under five minutes left in the quarter gave Ridgefield its first offensive possession in nearly four minutes, as John Jay’s long stretches of possession hurt the Tigers early.

Ridgefield then cut its deficit in half when Mathes scored with 1:59 remaining. Muller faked a drive toward the center of the John Jay offense and passed out to Mathes, who fired in a shot from the side to make it 4-2 at the end of the quarter.

Ridgefield carried its momentum into the beginning of the second quarter, closing within 4-3 on James Isaacson’s goal with 9:48 left in the half.

John Jay scored a minute later to take a 5-3 lead, but goals from Gels and Carpenter tied the game at 5-5 with 2:24 remaining. Carpenter drove towards the net and converted with his opposite hand to even the score.

Following a timeout, John Jay scored with just over a minute left to go ahead 6-5 at halftime.

Trailing 7-5 early in the third quarter, the Tigers evened the score on goals by Carpenter and James Isaacson off assists from Muller.

But just eight seconds later, Ridgefield wasn’t able to set its defense and John Jay scored right off the faceoff to go ahead for good. Four minutes later, John Jay’s lead rose to 10-7 following a spell of Ridgefield turnovers.

With 2:50 remaining in the third period, Muller took a hard shot from in-close that bounced off the goalie’s chest and into the pocket of Noah Gels’ stick. Gels took advantage of the dazed goalie and scored on a quick shot that trimmed John Jay’s lead to 10-8.

Ridgefield’s biggest missed opportunity of the night came with under a minute left in the third quarter. After a series of penalties on John Jay, Ridgefield found itself with a two-man advantage for one minute. But the Tigers were unable to convert and entered the final period trailing by two goals.

Carpenter’s goal made it 10-9 with 7:35 to play, but John Jay scored two unanswered goals to finish off Ridgefield.

“There’s not much to say after a game like that,” said Noah Isaacson. “We came close but it wasn’t enough, so we have to play better in the future.”