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06/05/2022 12:00 AM

Four Hornets’ Teams Take States Openers Before Losing in Next Round

Senior Cam Paleski and the Hornets won their state tourney opener before taking a loss to Fairfield Prep in the first round of the Class L draw last week. File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Sound

Girls’ Tennis

The Branford girls’ tennis team claimed a victory versus Jonathan Law in a Class M State Tournament first-round match and then lost a decision against Valley Regional in the quarterfinal round last week. The Hornets netted an overall record of 15-4 in their first campaign with Head Coach Dave Gruendel this spring.

No. 3 seed Branford started off states by earning a 4-3 win over No. 14 Jonathan Law in a first-round home match on May 31, flipping the script from when the Hornets took a 5-2 loss to Law during the regular season. Peyton Gaudreau notched a 6-3, 6-0 victory in the No. 1 singles match for Branford. Evelyn Mollow posted a 6-0, 6-1 win at No. 2 singles; and Celina Shrestha recorded a 6-0, 6-0 shutout at No. 3 singles.

The match ultimately came down to the No. 3 doubles contest. Branford’s duo of Erin Newlan and Dominque Smith came away with a 6-4, 7-6 (8-6) victory to solidify the win for the Hornets with members of both squads watching and cheering on their teammates.

On June 1, Branford hosted No. 6 seed Valley Regional in the Class M quarterfinals and took a 4-2 loss to the Warriors. Gaudreau netted a 6-0, 6-0 win at No. 1 singles; while Mollow won a 6-1, 6-4 decision in the No. 2 singles match for Branford. Gaudreau improved her record to 19-0 and earned All-SCC honors as she gets ready to compete in the Individual Invitational Tournament. Mollow finished her season with a record of 17-1.

Boys’ Tennis

The Branford boys’ tennis team claimed a win over Ellington in the first round of the Class M State Tournament and then took a defeat versus Avon in the quarterfinals of the draw last week. The Hornets posted an overall record of 13-8 for the spring season.

As the No. 9 seed, Branford kicked off state tourney play with a 4-3 road win against No. 8 Ellington in a first-round match on May 31. Branford’s No. 1 doubles team of junior Adam Albrecht and sophomore Luke Baylis solidified the win when they earned a 6-4, 3-6, 10-4 victory in the deciding match.

Branford won three of the four singles matches on its way to the win. Senior William Mollow notched a 6-2, 6-1 victory at No. 2 singles; senior Matt Gaudioso won a 6-1, 6-1 decision at No. 3 singles; and senior Aidan Shamas claimed a 6-4, 7-6 win in the No. 4 singles contest.

Then on June 2, the Hornets faced top-seeded Avon on the road in the Class M quarterfinals and lost the matchup by a 7-0 score.

Boys’ Lacrosse

The Branford-East Haven boys’ lacrosse team earned a victory over Bunnell-Stratford in the qualifying round of the Class L State Tournament before taking a defeat against Fairfield Prep in its first-round contest. The Hornets finished the 2022 season with an overall record of 11-7.

As the No. 12 seed, Branford-East Haven kicked off the Class L State Tournament by hosting the 21st-seeded Bunnell-Stratford co-op squad for a qualifying-round game on May 27. The Hornets won the contest by the final score of 11-3 at Branford High School to advance into the first round of the bracket. Freshman Gennaro Pompano scored 3 goals to go with 1 assist in the victory. Senior Cam Paleski scored 3 goals, junior Alex Milne had 2 goals and 1 assist, and junior Sean Bosworth also scored 2 goals. Junior Matt McNulty had 1 goal with 1 assist, and senior Kevin Lee and sophomore Brennan Scarpace each had 1 assist. Senior goalie Aidan Strebel made 13 saves in net.

On June 1, the Hornets traveled to Fairfield University to take on No. 5 Fairfield Prep in the first round of the state draw. Branford dropped an 21-5 decision versus Prep and was eliminated from the tournament with the loss. Pompano scored 2 goals, and Milne had 1 goal with 1 assist in the contest. Paleski and Bosworth both 1 goal, while McNulty contributed 1 assist. Strebel had 13 saves in goal.

Girls’ Lacrosse

The Branford girls’ lacrosse team defeated E.O. Smith in the qualifying round of the Class M State Tournament before taking a loss against Sheehan in a first-round game last week. The Hornets finished with an overall record of 7-10 this season.

No. 20 seed Branford began the Class M State Tournament by posting a 16-11 road victory over No. 13 E.O. Smith in a qualifying-round contest on May 28. Then on May 31, the Hornets faced No. 4 Sheehan on the road in the first round of the bracket and were edged out by the final score of 11-10.

Boys’ Golf

On the heels of a 17-win regular season, the Branford boys’ golf team hit the links to compete in the SCC Championship at Farms Country Club on June 1. The Hornets finished in seventh place by recording a team score of 339 at the conference meet.

Senior Justin Acquarulo and junior Keegan LaLonde finished in a tie for Branford’s low score at the SCC Championship as both golfers carded a 79 for the 18-hole round. Acquarulo and LaLonde each earned All-SCC honors after finishing in a tie for ninth place at the conference meet.

Junior Mike Farricielli posted a score of 90 for Branford in SCCs. Junior Colin Deane finished with a 91, and junior Matt Morgan turned in a score of 93 for the Hornets.

Boys’ Outdoor Track

The Branford boys’ outdoor track squad competed at the Class MM State Championship that took place at Willow Brook Park on June 1. Branford came in 15th place as a team by recording 17 points in the state competition.

Junior Ryder Kropiwnicki turned in the Hornets’ top performance at states by taking third place in the pole vault with a height of 11 feet-6 inches. Kropiwnicki also competed in the javelin and finished 14th with a throw of 129-3.

Branford’s 4x400 relay of senior Patrick Zdunek, senior Cheng Wu, senior Cameron Meli, and senior Peyton Moriarty finished in third place (3:29.83) at the Class MM meet. Moriarty also claimed fourth place in the 800 by crossing the finish line with a time of 2:00.07.

The Hornets’ 4x100 relay of Wu, Kropiwnicki, freshman Akiel Lomotey, and junior Nathan Chieffo finished in ninth place (45.40). Zdunek finished 12th (2:03.65) in the 800, and junior Colin Donohoe placed 14th (2:04.02) in the event.

Chieffo finished 16th in the 100 (11.86) and was 17th for the 200 (24.20) at the state meet. Meli finished 17th in the 400 (56.18) for the Hornets. Junior Massimo Corrick finished 21st in the 3,200 (10:40.08), Lomotey placed 26th in the 100 (11.99), and sophomore Enaji Muhammed finished 28th in the long jump (17-0.25).

Girls’ Outdoor Track

The Branford girls’ outdoor track team sent several athletes to participate in the Class M State Championship at Willow Brook Park on June 1. The Hornets scored 11 points as a team and finished in 19th place at the meet.

Branford’s 4x400 relay of sophomore Joelle Budz, senior Catherine Duffy, sophomore Tess Wasiolek, and junior Sarah Nwagboli finished in third place by posting a time of 4:14.92 at states. Wasiolek also ran her way to a fifth-place finish in the 1,600 with a time of 5:18.00.

The Hornets’ 4x100 relay of Duffy, Nwagboli, senior Sam Burzynski, and Budz came in eighth place (51.29) at the Class M State Championship. Nwagboli took 13th place in the 200 (27.60), Budz finished 14th in the preliminaries of the 100 (13.29), and senior Svea Lundgren placed 14th in the triple jump (30-10) for Branford.

Duffy finished in 16th place for the 400 (1:03.21) at states. Freshman Ella Stone finished 22nd (14-5) in long jump with freshman Zu Zu Pont Strong finishing in 30th place (13-3) for the event.