WALLINGFORD — Brady Rossacci missed the last eight games of the regular season, but on Wednesday the Sheehan freshman was cleared to rejoin his lacrosse team for a Class S first-round state tournament contest against Canton at Riccitelli Field.
The freshman made a dramatic return with a team-high five goals in a 15-13 victory over the No. 9 Warriors.
No. 8 Sheehan (11-6) moves on to face top-seeded St. Joseph on Saturday in the quarterfinals in Trumbull.
Also advancing to Saturday’s quarterfinals was Cheshire (16-3). The top seed in Class M routed No. 16 Newington 25-4 at Alumni Field. The Rams will host No. 8 Joel Barlow on Saturday.
Falling from the fold was Southington. The Blue Knights, the No. 9 seed in Class L, lost 18-16 to No. 8 Simsbury and closed the season at 13-5.
Goals clearly were no obstacle in Wednesday’s first-round games.
Along with the five from Rossacci, Sheehan got four from John Gogliettino and three from Beau Rutkowski. Tanner Drobish (1 goal, 2 assists) and Lorenzo DeFilio (2 goals, 1 assist) had three-point games.
The Titans led 5-3 after the first quarter, then scored three times in the first 56 seconds of the second to go up 8-3.
Canton (8-7) rebounded to finish the first half on a 4-1 run and trailed 9-7 at the break.
At the end of three quarters, the squads were tied 12-12.
Rossacci and Gogliettino scored for Sheehan in the first three minutes of the fourth before Canton’s Ryan Weller connected with 4:49 left as the visitors closed to within 14-13.
Sheehan goalie Max Festa (14 saves) made a stop with 1:35 left in the game. The Titans eventually iced it with 14 seconds left off the stick of DeFilio.
Weller and Benjamin Cuniowski had five goals apiece for the Warriors.
“A win is a win, and it wasn’t the best win of the year for us. The guys persevered and did what they had to do, but this wasn’t our best game of the year,” Sheehan coach Steve Rossacci said.
“St. Joe’s is going to be a challenge for us; they are a very good lacrosse team,” Rossacci added. “But we have to go up there and play. I think we can be in a good game with them.”