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North Branford SportsBeat: Salute to the Champions

Salute to the state championship teams from the area.

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CHESHIRE VOLLEYBALL (Class L) To have one perfect season is incredible — to have two back-to-back is simply amazing. The Rams captured the 2011 title and then took on all comers with a big target on their backs. They dominated the regular season and rolled through the playoffs. beat Ridgefield to win the crown again and run its winning streak to a mind-boggling 45 straight games. Senior stars Nate Howard, Ray Brumleve and Ryan Cuppemall had a four-year record of 74-16 and were part of two state championship and three SCC winning teams. Coach Sue Bavone deserve kudos for keeping her team focused on the prize the last two seasons.

NEW CANAAN BOYS TENNIS (Class L) Coach Dan Borgman has flown under the radar for a man of his credentials, but he deserves to be considered amongst the all-time best in the sport. won the Class L state championship, Borgman now has guided the Rams to 28 state championships in his 41 years of coaching. That's simply incredible. What's also impressive is the fact that New Canaan has won four state championships in a row.

SHELTON BASEBALL (Class LL) The Gaels had not won a state title in baseball since 1976, but last Saturday night they ended the 36-year drought by beating South Windsor for the Class LL title. Coach Scott Gura led the team to a stellar 22-5 campaign and brought glory back to the program. The strong senior class of Dan McCormack, Ryan Daiss, Ryan Zahornasky, Bryan Kondor, Jeremy Soderholm, Jeff Groth, and Dustin Chmielewski can graduate with great pride, knowing they were part of a group that gave Shelton baseball its first title since the 1970's.

DARIEN LACROSSE (Class M) The juggernaut that is lacrosse made quick work of archrival New Canaan on Saturday to record its seventh state championship in the last eight years. The Blue Wave beat the Rams, 11-5, to finish the campaign with a 20-2 mark. Longtime Darien coach Jeff Brameier relied heavily on standouts Case Matheis and Henry West to bring home the title to Darien once again.

AMITY SOFTBALL (Class LL) The Spartans rolled through the state playoffs in very impressive fashion, knocking off perennial powers Westhill and Darien in nail-biting games. In the championship game, steamrolled Southington, the number-ranked team in the state, 10-6. Bob Purcell guided the Spartans to a 23-5 overall record and received outstanding performances from Corina Zdrowski and Jacqui Ferraiolo, both of whom batted .367. Dana Blydenburg was brilliant on the mound for Amity, which captured its first state crown since 2005.

FAIRFIELD PREP LACROSSE (Class L) You can pretty much count on death, taxes and being in the state championship game. The Jesuits have made the final seven consecutive years. Last weekend, they beat Ridgefield 8-6 to capture the title. Coach Chris Smalkais led the Jesuits to a 16-3 overall record.

NEW CANAAN GIRLS TENNIS (Class L) During the season, the Rams lost twice to powerhouse Greenwich on the courts. The Cardinals steamrolled everybody on their way to a 22-0 record and a top ranking. It's tough to beat a team three times in one season and Greenwich couldn't do it in the biggest match of the season. New Canaan won a hard-fought, 4-3, match in the championship final at Yale University to wipe out the Cardinals' run at perfection. The Rams have won have back-to-back state titles in Class L and nine straight overall.

JOEL BARLOW LACROSSE (Class M) The boys lacrosse team at steamrolled its way to the state championship with spectacular offensive display. The Falcons outscored its opponents in the state playoffs by a 45-8 margin including a 15-2 drubbing of Somers High School in the championship game. Led by captains Nick Taylor and Jackson Sennett, the lacrosse team wiped away the memory of last year's heartbreaking, 6-5, loss to St. Joe's in the championship game. Coach John Distler did a masterful job in guiding Joel Barlow to the state crown.

STAPLES BOYS TRACK (Class LL). With 97.33 points, the easily outscored Conard (62) and Danbury (61) to capture its second consecutive crown for coaching legend Laddie Lawrence. The highlight of Staples' championship was the performance of Henry Wynne, who set the meet record in the 1,600 meters with a time of 4:10:35

NEW CANAAN GIRLS LACROSSE (Class M) The Rams were one of the best teams in the state, bar none. In the state championship game against Wilton, Olivia Hompe scored nine goals, while the other half of the incredible scoring tandem, Sarah Mannelly, recorded four goals. The Rams won 17-9 to capture their second state title in the last three years. New Canaan finished with a 21-1 record, their only blemish being a loss to Darien in the FCIAC tournament.

GREENWICH GIRLS LACROSSE (Class L) The Cardinals knocked off top-seed Cheshire, 9-8, to win its second consecutive Class L title. had 12 seniors on the team, including All-America attack Claire Feeney and All-State goalie Hannah Jeffrey. The Cardinals finished the season with a sterling 19-3 record. 

WESTON BOYS TENNIS (Class M) When it comes to tennis, has no equal. After capturing 2012 Class M state title last weekend, Weston has now won 11 consecutive state championships. How's that for total domination?

GREENWICH BOYS GOLF (Division I) The Cardinals secured their first state title since 2004 when they scored a 299 in the championship to beat out Amity and Xavier (302). Paul Pastore, Stephen Pastore, Chris Pavelic, and Dan Guise were named All-State for the Cardinals.

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