Before last year, Greens Farms Academy boys lacrosse program had never won an FAA championship. Just a year later and they're keeping their championship streak alive.
Though they shared the regular-season title with King, after losing to them in the final game of the regular season, the Dragons proved themselves as the best team in the Fairchester Athletic Association this spring by winning the league tournament title on Thursday, May 19.
Liam Kuryla scored five goals while the stingy Dragons' defense refused to let King in. GFA defeated the Vikings by an 11–5 score on King’s home field to claim the title.
“Every championship is unique, but this one is special because it’s the first one for the school,” said GFA coach John Mathews. “I love these kids so much, so this is for them and the alumni, and the guys I’m still in touch with. It’s special.”
Alex Cichella added two goals while Kyle Haas (2 assists), Thomas Edwards (2 assists), Justin Halky (1 assist), and Luke Laferriere had single goals.
Jason Rubinstein, who forced himself to watch King celebrate on his home field during the Dragons 8-7 Senior Day loss to the Vikings, made 13 saves—eight in the second half—as the Dragons defense simply stymied the King offense.
“I think it means a lot to my team,” Rubinstein said. “It means everything to them and I couldn’t do it without my team. It’s amazing.”
Tied at 4–4 with 5:49 left in the first half, and coming out of a GFA time-out, Laferriere—who had left his long pole on the sideline and switched to a shorter stick — scored off a Haas set-up to give the Dragons the lead for good.
Cichella then netted his first goal of the FAA final to make it a 6-4 game with three minutes to play in the first half.
It took nearly four minutes for the first goal of the second half, but it was Halky who found the back of the net for a 7-4 advantage and King had no momentum the rest of the game.
“It was just a lot of teamwork,” Kuryla said. “We came out to play. We were mad about what happened last time we played them, and we came out strong like we knew we had to.”
Another difference-maker in the game was freshman face-off specialist Alex Barbagallo, who was ready for King and took control of the X.
“After the first King game, I practiced on my own a lot,” Barbagallo said. “You just have to always want to get the ball. No matter what, you have to get that ball.”
Mathews said Barbagallo built his confidence in the FAA semifinal win over Greenwich Country Day School, and that confidence carried over to the final.
“We don’t work a ton on face-offs, but King’s guy really beat us up the first time around,” Mathews said. “We just asked Alex to jam him so our wings could come into play. I think he got a lot of confidence from our semifinal and that led him to say, ‘You know what? I can do this.’”
That's an attitude that the entire team shared on Thursday — and now the Dragons are FAA champions once again.