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August 18, 2019  |  

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Junior Peter Ablondi-Taylor scored four goals when the North Branford boys’ lacrosse squad clinched its place in the Class S State Tournament by earning a 5-2 win versus Morgan on May 2. Photo by Kelley Fryer/The Sound

Junior Peter Ablondi-Taylor scored four goals when the North Branford boys’ lacrosse squad clinched its place in the Class S State Tournament by earning a 5-2 win versus Morgan on May 2. (Photo by Kelley Fryer/The Sound | Buy This Photo)

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Senior captain Carl Jacobson clubbed a three-run double off the right-field wall to help the T-Birds picked up their 10th win of the season with a 6-4 victory over Cromwell on May 4. Photo by Kelley Fryer/The Sound

Senior captain Carl Jacobson clubbed a three-run double off the right-field wall to help the T-Birds picked up their 10th win of the season with a 6-4 victory over Cromwell on May 4. (Photo by Kelley Fryer/The Sound | Buy This Photo)

North Branford Boys’ Lacrosse Secures State Tourney Berth; Girls Remain Undefeated

Published May 06, 2019 • Last Updated 02:11 am, May 06, 2019

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Boys’ Lacrosse

The North Branford boys’ lacrosse team qualified for the Class S State Tournament after winning two its of three games last week. The Thunderbirds earn victories versus Valley Regional and Morgan, before losing to non-conference opponent Sheehan to close out the week.

On April 30, the T-Birds rallied for a 10-9 victory over Valley Regional on the road. Valley held a 7-6 lead entering the fourth quarter, but North Branford outscored the Warriors 4-2 during the final frame to come away with the win. Sophomore Tyler DiNapoli led the way with five goals and two assists, while junior Peter Ablondi-Taylor scored three goals and added an assist for North Branford. Senior captain Nick Barrett had a goal with two assists, junior Nate Raymond scored a goal and had an assist, and senior captain Dylan Martinik contributed an assist to the victory. Junior captain Xavior Cognata recorded 12 saves in goal.

On May 2, North Branford traveled to Clinton to face Morgan and came home with a 5-2 victory. The T-Birds jumped up early by scoring three goals in the first quarter and then held off the Huskies the rest of the way. Ablondi-Taylor scored four goals, plus senior Jake Montanaro added a goal. Barrett and Raymond each had one assist for the T-Birds, who received 14 saves from Cognata.

Two days later, North Branford dropped an 8-6 decision against Sheehan. DiNapoli and Barrett both had two goals and two assists, Martinik and Raymond each scored a goal, and junior Attilio Avallone had an assist. Cognata made 18 saves for North Branford.

Girls’ Lacrosse

The T-Birds won a pair of home games last week to remain undefeated this year. North Branford beat Valley Regional (17-4) and Morgan (15-8) to improve to 11-0 with five games left in the regular season.

On April 29, North Branford topped Valley Regional by a 17-4 final. Junior captain Avonlea LeBeau recorded four goals and three assists, while senior captain Jessie Kilburn had three goals with four assists. Freshman Olivia Toto scored four goals for the T-Birds, who received one goal apiece from senior Mary-Kate Torgerson; juniors Sally Cucinotta, Ali Barrett, Melanie Norton, and Gabby Gibilisco; and freshman Meghan Montanaro. Barrett and Gibilisco both had one assist, and sophomore Amanda Nuzzo chipped in with two assists. Junior goalie Carly Sorrentino made four saves during the first half of play, after which sophomore Sofia Votto came in to make five saves during the second half.

The Thunderbirds took on Morgan on May 2 and netted a 15-8 victory. Kilburn had a huge game by scoring eight goals and handing out three assists for North Branford. Barrett contributed three goals with three assists in the win. Senior captain Jordan Regan, LeBeau, Gibilisco, and junior Bianca D’Onofrio all scored one goal. LeBeau had two assists, and Torgerson added one assist. Sorrentino made 10 saves in net.

Girls’ Tennis

The Thunderbirds raised their record to 11-3 and qualified for the Class S State Tournament after scoring three recent victories. North Branford posted home wins over Cromwell, Haddam-Killingworth, and Old Saybrook last week.

On April 29, the T-Birds defeated Cromwell by a 5-2 score. North Branford swept singles play as junior Sofia Cavalier earned a 6-3, 6-3 win at No. 1; senior captain Sydney Constantinidi won a 6-3, 6-1 decision at No. 2; senior Jordan Caplan notched a 6-2, 6-3 win at No. 3; and junior Janessa Pompano earned a 6-1, 6-0 victory at No. 4. In doubles action, the T-Birds’ top pairing of juniors Briana Dautaj and Ava Galdenzi claimed a 6-1, 6-2 victory.

North Branford made states by posting a 7-0 shutout against Haddam-Killingworth on May 1. In singles, Cavalier earned a 6-0, 6-1 at No. 1; Constantinidi netted a 6-1, 6-0 victory at No. 2; Caplan won by a 6-4, 6-0 score at No. 3; and Pompano recorded a 6-1, 6-1 victory at No. 4. On the doubles side, Dautaj and Galdenzi earned a 6-1, 6-1 win at No. 1; seniors Alyssa Diaz and Aaliya Aaron rallied for a 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 win at No. 2; and sophomore Emma Serenson and senior Ashley Testa won a 6-2, 6-2 decision at the No. 3 spot.

The next day, the Thunderbirds notched a 6-1 victory versus Old Saybrook. North Branford won all three doubles matches as Dautaj and Galdenzi claimed a 6-4, 6-2 win at No. 1; Diaz and Serenson prevailed 6-0, 6-3 at No. 2; and Aaron and Testa pulled off a 7-6 (8-6), 3-6, 7-5 victory at No. 3. In singles action, Cavalier blanked her opponent by a 6-0, 6-0 score at No. 1; Constantinidi netted a 6-0, 6-1 win at No. 2; and Pompano earned a 6-2, 6-2 victory at No. 4.

Softball

The T-Birds took two of three last week to improve to 10-4 this season. After losing to Valley Regional, North Branford rebounded with back-to-back victories over Haddam-Killingworth and Cromwell.

On April 30, North Branford lost to Valley Regional by a 5-0 finak. Sophomores Jada Miconi and Sophia Ouellet had the T-Birds’ two hits on the day.

North Branford came back with a 13-5 win against Haddam-Killingworth the next afternoon. Junior Katy Pedersen, sophomore Erica Piercey, and freshman Hannah Senerchia each had three hits for the T-Birds. Pedersen had a double with a triple, three runs scored, and four RBI. Piercey and Senerchia both scored three runs, while Senerchia drove home two runs. Miconi, Ouellet, and senior Kayla Despres each had two hits with an RBI. Senior captain Amy Raucci picked up a hit with a run and an RBI. Freshman Bella Hills started on the mound and pitched 3.2 innings for North Branford. Junior Mairead Aiken allowed two hits over 3.1 innings to get the win.

The T-Birds closed out their week with an 8-5 victory over Cromwell on May 4. Hills tossed 2.2 scoreless innings of relief to earn the win. Senior Kaylee Velez pitched the first 4.1 innings for the Thunderbirds. At the dish, Pedersen had two hits, scored a pair of runs, and drove home two runs in the victory. Miconi had two hits and two RBI, Ouellet had two hits with a run scored, plus Despres and sophomore Sophia Anastasio each had a hit and two RBI.

Baseball

North Branford came away with one victory in its three games last week to move to 10-5 on the year. The T-Birds took losses against Valley Regional and Haddam-Killingworth and then posted a victory over Cromwell in last week’s action.

On April 29, North Branford lost a 4-3 contest versus Valley Regional. Junior John Pollock pitched a complete game for North Branford in the loss. North Branford was down 2-0 in the third inning, when junior Bret Fee, senior Gio Parillo, and senior captain Nick Mancini hit three-straight singles to cut it to 2-1. Senior captain Steve Galluba reached on a fielder’s choice and then fellow senior Colin Baxter hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game at 2.

Valley scored two runs to go up 4-2 in the sixth inning. North Branford came back with a run in the bottom half, but was unable to tie the game. Senior captain Carl Jacobson singled to lead off the inning and moved to third on a double by freshman Dom Scalia. Jacobson, who finished the game with two hits, scored on a sacrifice fly by Fee.

On May 1, North Branford lost to Haddam-Killingworth by a 4-0 score. Fee allowed just three hits, one earned run, and struck out 11 batters in the loss. North Branford scattered seven hits throughout the game and left 12 runners on base. Pollock and Scalia had two hits apiece, while Galluba, Mancini, and Baxter had the other hits for the T-Birds.

North Branford took on Cromwell on May 4 and prevailed by a 6-4 score. Sophomore Jadon Canelli got the start on the mound for the T-Birds, who saw Scalia grab the victory by pitching 2.2 innings in relief. The Thunderbirds jumped out to an early 2-0 lead as Mancini led off the game with a single, stole second, and scored on a base hit by Pollock. Junior Enrique Diaz had the other RBI in the inning when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.

Galluba, Jacobson, and Pollock had three-consecutive hits to make it 3-0 in the second inning, before Cromwell scored the game’s next four runs. In the bottom of the sixth, Jacobson came to plate with the three ducks on the pond and drove a one-hopper off the right-field fence to clear the bases and give North Branford the lead. North Branford finished the game with 11 hits. Jacobson had three hits to go with two runs scored and two RBI, Pollock also collected three hits, Fee added two hits, plus Mancini, Galluba, and Parillo had one hit apiece.

Golf

North Branford lost both of its matches last week and is now 0-8 for the season.

On April 30, the T-Birds traveled to Black Birch Golf Course and shot a 215 to take defeats against Haddam-Killingworth (186) and East Hampton (194). Freshman Dakota Cooper shot a 47 to lead North Branford. Freshman Ryan Monde shot a 55, junior Aiden Ferrucci scored a 56, and freshman Blake Pearson finished with a 57.

Two days later, North Branford lost to Coginchaug by the final score of 157-258 at Lyman Orchards Golf Club.

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