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Sophomore Tyler DiNapoli and the North Branford boys’ lacrosse squad notched a 9-8 win against Old Lyme to reach the Shoreline Conference final for the first time in the team’s history. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Sound | Buy This Photo)
Senior captain Jessie Kilburn had seven goals and two assists when the T-Birds claimed an 18-6 victory versus Morgan in the semifinals of the Shoreline Conference Tournament on May 21. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Sound | Buy This Photo)
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The North Branford boys’ lacrosse team advanced to the Shoreline Conference Tournament championship game for the first time in program history by earning a one-goal win versus Old Lyme in the semifinal round last week. The 2nd-seeded Thunderbirds hosted No. 3 Old Lyme on May 21 and posted a 9-8 victory to make the final, while improving to 11-6 on the season.
North Branford faced No. 1 seed Morgan in the Shoreline Conference title game at the Indian River Complex in Clinton on May 23 (after press time). After Shorelines, North Branford will kick off play in the Class S State Tournament this week.
Sophomore Tyler DiNapoli led the way with three goals and three assists when the T-Birds beat Old Lyme in the Shoreline semis. Senior Nick Barrett and junior Peter Ablondi-Taylor scored two goals apiece. Senior Dylan Martinik scored one goal and added a pair of assists, while junior Colin Nugent also scored a goal. Junior captain Xavior Cognata made nine saves in net for North Branford.
The Thunderbirds reached the final of the Shoreline Conference Tournament for the second-straight year after winning its semifinal game in convincing fashion. Top-seeded North Branford hosted No. 4 Morgan in the Shoreline semifinals and claimed an 18-6 win on May 21. North Branford moved to 14-3 overall with the victory.
The defending champion Thunderbirds played No. 2 seed Old Saybrook in the conference final at the Indian River Complex on May 23 (after press time). North Branford will open play in the Class S State Tournament this week.
The T-Birds jumped out to an 8-3 advantage over Morgan at halftime and increased their lead throughout the second half. Senior captain Jessie Kilburn had a big game by scoring seven goals to go with two assists in the victory. Juniors Ali Barrett and Avonlea LeBeau scored three goals each and both had an assist. Freshman Olivia Toto scored a pair of goals, while freshman Braeden LeBeau and sophomore Aly Kendrick both finished with a goal and an assist. Junior Gabby Gibilisco scored one goal, and junior Bianca D’Onofrio added an assist for North Branford.
North Branford gutted out a victory versus Valley Regional in the Shoreline Conference Tournament quarterfinals, before losing against Haddam-Killingworth in the semifinals last week. North Branford, which has a record of 14-8, is playing in this week’s Class S State Tournament.
In the Shoreline quarterfinals, No. 3 seed North Branford saw junior pitcher Bret Fee toss a one-hitter with six strikeouts to lead the Thunderbirds to a 2-1 victory over Valley Regional on May 20. With the Warriors threating in the bottom of the seventh, Fee struck out the final batter of the game with the tying run on third base to secure the win.
The Thunderbirds jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second inning when junior Enrique Diaz singled and scored on a single by senior captain Steve Galluba. In the fifth, Galluba singled and scored on an RBI single by fellow senior captain Carl Jacobson. Valley answered with a run to make it 2-1 in the sixth, but Fee slammed the door to seal the win and send the T-Birds to the conference semifinals. Galluba and Jacobson had two hits and one RBI apiece, while senior captain Nick Mancini, Diaz, and freshman Dom Scalia had North Branford’s other hits.
On May 22, North Branford took a 4-2 loss to No. 2 seed Haddam-Killingworth in the semis. Junior John Pollock pitched a complete game for the T-Birds, allowing just four hits. H-K scored a pair of runs in the first inning and then added two more in the fifth to make it 4-0. North Branford came back with two runs in the sixth when Galluba and senior Gio Parillo scored on a two-out double by Jacobson. However, H-K was able to hang on for the victory and advance to the final.
The Thunderbirds took a 5-2 loss at Coginchaug in their regular-season finale on May 20. North Branford, which went 12-8 for the regular season, opened play in the Shoreline Conference Tournament last week and has the Class M State Tournament this week.
North Branford and Coginchaug were tied 2-2 entering the bottom of the sixth inning, when the Blue Devils scored three runs to pull ahead. Senior Angelina Ramada had a hit with a run scored, sophomore Erica Piercey also got a hit, and fellow sophomore Jada Miconi scored a run for North Branford.
Girls’ Outdoor Track
Junior Mackenzie Glenn claimed first place in the long jump and took third place in the 400 at the Shoreline Conference Championship last week. Glenn’s performance helped the North Branford girls’ outdoor track team finish in seventh place with 33 points at Coginchaug High School on May 22.
Glenn came into the meet after having finishing second in the long jump at Shorelines last spring and first during the indoor season. Her winning leap this time around was a new personal-record of 17 feet-3 inches that scored 10 points for the T-Birds. Glenn edged out Angela Mercaldi of East Hampton by two inches to claim the crown. Glenn also set a new personal-best mark in the 400. She clocked in with a time 1:01.67 to finish in third place and score six points.
Sophomore Nadia Becker finished third in the 100-meter dash with a personal-best time of 13.18 seconds in the final heat. She had placed sixth in the preliminary heat at 13.48. In the 200, Becker finished fifth at 27.87 seconds to score 10 points between the two events.
Sophomore Riley Kendall placed sixth in the 800 with a personal-record time of 2:35.01 to score three points. North Branford’s 4x400 relay of Becker, Glenn, sophomore Onna Gott, and senior Gillian Pena placed fifth at 4:22.43 to score four points.
Also competing for the T-Birds were Pena in the 400 (11th, 1:06.13), Gott in the 400 (13th, 1:07.29), and sophomore Ashlee Amendola in the 300 hurdles (12th, 54.12). All three of these times marked personal records.
Boys’ Outdoor Track
North Branford was represented by three athletes at last week’s Shoreline Conference Championship. The T-Birds finished in 10th place with two points scored at the meet.
Senior Alvin Chan scored two points for North Branford when he finished seventh in the 800 with a personal-best time of 2:12.18. Junior Freddie Little set a personal-record mark in the 300 intermediate hurdles by finishing 11th at 46.60 seconds. Sophomore Robert Didiano placed 13th in the 1,600 by timing in with a 4:57.96.
The T-Birds sent several athletes to compete at the Shoreline Conference Championship that took place May 20 and 21. Junior singles player Sofia Cavalier and senior captain singles player Sydney Constantinidi both earned All-Shoreline First Team honors for their efforts at the meet, which took place at Old Saybrook, Morgan, and Westbrook.
In the No. 1-2 Singles Tournament, Cavalier and Constantinidi both reached the semifinals following solid first days at the championship. Cavalier won her semifinal matchup versus Kayla DellaIacono of East Hampton by the score of 7-5, 6-3 to advance to the final. This marked the first time that Cavalier had defeated DellaIacono in their three meetings this season. Constantinidi took a 6-3, 6-2 loss to Sara Farnoli of Westbrook in her semifinal match. In the final, Farnoli earned a 6-0, 6-1 win versus Cavalier.
In the No. 3-4 Singles Tournament, senior captain Jordan Caplan reached the semifinal round, where she lost a 6-3, 6-1 decision against Julia Farnoli of Westbrook. Caplan garnered All-Shoreline Second Team recognition, as did the doubles tandem of juniors Ava Galdenzi and Briana Dautaj. Junior Janessa Pompano, who competed in the 3-4 singles bracket, earned All-Shoreline Honorable Mention.
The Thunderbirds have an overall record of 15-5 as they get ready to compete in this week’s Class M State Tournament.
The Thunderbirds completed their regular season last week and then finished in 11th place at the Shoreline Conference Championship that was held at Stanley Golf Course on May 22.
On May 20, North Branford took a 174-251 loss to Old Lyme at Indian Springs Golf Club. Freshman Blake Pearson shot a 57, senior Nick DeNegre scored a 62, freshman Ryan Monde finished with a 64, and freshman Jalen Rossicone shot a 68 in the match.
The next day, North Branford lost to East Haven by a 201-204 final at Alling Memorial Golf Club. Pearson (47), Monde (52), Rossicone (52), DeNegre (53), and junior Aiden Ferrucci (53) competed for the T-Birds (0-15) on the afternoon.
At the Shoreline Conference Championship, North Branford placed 11th by shooting a score of 581 as a team for the 18-hole round. Freshman Dakota Cooper led North Branford with a scored of 96 and was followed by Pearson (120), Rossicone (120), DeNegre (121), and Monde (124).
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