North Branford Girls’ Lacrosse Loses in Shoreline Final, Class S Quarters; Baseball Takes Defeat in State Quarterfinals
The North Branford girls’ lacrosse team took a 14-12 defeat against Old Saybrook in the Shoreline Conference final and then won its first game in states before losing to Old Saybrook in the quarterfinal round last week. The Thunderbirds finished the 2022 season with an overall record of 14-6.
No. 3 seed North Branford squared off against top-seeded Old Saybrook in the championship game of the Shoreline Conference Tournament at the Indian River Complex on May 26. The Thunderbirds lost a 14-12 decision to the Rams in a rematch of last year’s Shoreline final that was won by North Branford. This year’s title game was tied 10-10 before Old Saybrook scored 3 of the final 4 goals of the night to claim the conference championship.
On May 31, the 7th-seeded T-Birds kicked off the Class S State Tournament by netting a 11-10 home victory against No. 10 Tolland in first-round action. Senior Braeden LeBeau and sophomore Keana Criscuolo both scored 4 goals and had 1 assist for North Branford in the victory. Senior Marissa Raffone had 1 goal with 1 assist, junior Mea Riordan and sophomore Sophia Toto both scored a goal, and senior Grace Marra contributed an assist. Junior goalie Ava Candelora made 8 saves in net for the Thunderbirds.
Then on June 3, North Branford played at 2nd-seeded Old Saybrook in the quarterfinal round of the Class S draw. The T-Birds dropped a 15-13 decision to the Rams and were eliminated from the tournament with the loss.
LeBeau had 7 goals with 2 assists, and Criscuolo scored 3 goals for the Thunderbirds. Marra netted 2 goals in the game, while Raffone, Riordan, and Toto had 1 goal apiece.
The North Branford boys’ lacrosse team saw its season come to a close when the T-Birds took a loss against New Fairfield in the qualifying round of the Class S State Tournament last week. On May 28, No. 19 seed North Branford played at No. 14 New Fairfield in the Class S qualifying round and lost the contest by a 16-12 score. The Thunderbirds completed the season with an overall record of 7-10.
Senior Jake Saldutti netted his 100th career goal as part of a 6-score performance for North Branford in the game. Saldutti’s 100th goal marked the opening score of the game and gave the T-Birds an early 1-0 lead.
Sophomore Luke Blomster scored 2 goals for North Branford, while senior Joey Marra and junior Ian Kamienski both had 1 goal with 3 assists in the contest. Junior Eric Izzo had 1 goal and 1 assist, junior Nate Tranqulli also scored 1 goal, junior Eli Defaranos had 2 assists, and freshman Shane Esposito posted 1 assist. Junior Dradon Brindisi made 14 saves in goal for the Thunderbirds.
The North Branford baseball team won its first two games in the Class S State Tournament before taking a loss against St. Paul in the quarterfinals of the draw last week. The Thunderbirds finished the season with an overall record of 16-9.
The 9th-seeded T-Birds started off states by claiming a 19-2 home win over No. 24 Wamogo in a first-round matchup on May 31. The next day, North Branford traveled to Durham to play No. 8 seed Coginchaug in the second round and came away with a 9-5 victory. On June 4, North Branford faced top-seeded St. Paul on the road in the Class S quarterfinals and took an 18-2 defeat in the game.
The North Branford boys’ golf team finished its regular season with a record of 12-1-2 after defeating Haddam-Killingworth in its finale last week. On May 31, the Thunderbirds hosted H-K at Indian Springs Golf Course and notched a 179-189 victory to cap off regular-season action.
Sophomore Jack O’Brien earned medalist honors by posting a low score of 40 for the T-Birds in the win. Freshman Robert Cappella carded a 45, while senior Jalen Rossicone finished with a 46. Senior Dakota Cooper posted a score of 48, and junior Drew Girardi scored a 52 for Head Coach Andrew DaCorte’s squad. DaCorte was recently named the Shoreline Conference Coach of the Year on behalf of a T-Birds’ team that doubled its win total from last season.
Boys’ Outdoor Track
The North Branford boys’ outdoor track team had a couple of competitors take part in the Shoreline Conference Championship and also saw one athlete recently advance to the Class S State Championship.
Sophomore Sam Gott took third place in the 400 with a time of 52.18 seconds for the T-Birds in the Shoreline Conference Championship at Old Saybrook High School on May 25. Gott scored 6 points for North Branford, which finished in 12th place at the meet. By virtue of his performance, Gott qualified to run the 400 at the Class S State Championship.
Junior Ryan Chasanoff finished in 10th place in the 300 hurdles for the T-Birds at Shorelines. Chasanoff ran a season-best time of 48.55 on his way to placing 10th in the event.
Then on May 31, Gott represented North Branford when he competed in the 400 at the Class S State Championship at Willow Brook Park. Gott crossed the finish line with a time of 54.52 to take 14th place for the 400.
Girls’ Outdoor Track
The North Branford girls’ outdoor track team was represented by a few athletes when the Shoreline Conference Championship took place at Old Saybrook High School on May 25. T-Birds picked up 1 point from their 4x100 relay and finished in 12th place at the conference meet.
North Branford’s 4x100 relay of junior Sophie Gambardella, junior Ava Gambardella, junior Alexa Teodoro, and freshman Destiney Christie recorded a time of 58.18 seconds on its way to placing eighth at Shorelines. Gambardella also finished 12th in the high jump (4-2) and 13th in the long jump (13-8).
Junior Carolyn Heffernan put forth a personal-record performance of 2:45 on her way to finishing 14th in the 800. Ava Gambardella finished 25th in the preliminaries of the 100 (15.45) for North Branford. Christie finished 17th in the 100 prelims (14.72) and came in 24th place in the 200 (30.95).