The senior class of 1987 is considered one of the best senior classes in the history of NCHS lacrosse. The team had 10 all state players and 4 players who had received All American honors. Towers, Silietto, Arrix and Luciano. It is rumored that many of the seniors traveled to the North South All-star game in Siletto’s old Falcon, wearing their helmets singing Karma Chameleon by Boy George. Kevin Arrix was named the game’s MVP. Two of the stars from the 1987 class, Andy Towers (Brown) and Mike Murphy (Duke) are both currently head coaches at Ivy League schools (Towers-Dartmouth, Murphy-Penn). Murphy was joined at Duke by teammates Joe Siletto, a two-time All-American defenseman at NCHS and Kevin Arrix, All-American selection. Steve Luciano, another All-American, went on to be a two-time honorable mention All-American at Rutgers. Luciano is well embedded in the Rutgers record book, ranking fourth in career assists (111) and fourth in career points (196). In total, six seniors were invited to tryout for the U-19 (1988) Team USA (Andy Towers being selected).
Andy Towers, an All-American as a senior, is still considered the greatest face-off midfielder in the history of New Canaan Lacrosse, and considered by many to be the best player ever to wear a NC Lacrosse uniform. Andy set a single season scoring record at NCHS with 98 points (later to be broken by Dave Curry). His faceoff win percentage was 92%. He was a three-time All-American at Brown and played numerous years professionally in the NLL & MLL. He still holds the records for most goals in a season (59) at Brown. He was the first player ever inducted into the CT Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2011 and during his induction speech, cited Coach Benedict as a key factor for his success as a player. His brother Tom gave his introduction speech.
The battle against Wilton continued in 1988 as New Canaan won the FCIAC Championship 8-7, but fell to them in the State Championship 4-7. New Canaan’s Peter Deane was named All-American and went on to play at Delaware. Other notable players from that squad were Ian Hobbs (Hopkins), Scott and Chris Overbeck, and Terry Wise (Middlebury).
1989 was a very special year in NCHS Boys Athletics as many sports teams were on top in CT state rankings. The hockey team in 1989 won the FCIAC championship game 10-1 behind arguably the greatest senior forward line in the history of NCHS (Ives, Assah, Findley). The boys basketball team lead by Chris Overbeck, made it all the way to the state championship game, but lost to powerhouse Danbury. The lacrosse team was made up of many of these two or three sport athletes which helped the team be extremely competitive. During the lacrosse season, the team played in both the FCIAC and State Championship games, but lost to Wilton in each game. The team was led by All-State players, Kevin Harrison (New Hampshire), Cam McDonald, and Chris Overbeck.
In 1990, New Canaan went undefeated at 18-0. The team captured both the FCIAC and State Championship over Wilton. They defeated out of state powerhouses Lawrenceville, Longmeadow and Yorktown. Dave Cochran (Yale) and Dan Hoak earned All American honors, while Scott Harrison (Duke) was an offensive standout. Dave Cochran became the first NCHS player to play Division I Ice hockey & lacrosse in college. In Dave's last game for NCHS, the 1990 State Championship, he scored 6 goals to help the rams complete the perfect season.
Although the 1991 team, would face the challenge of replacing many talented seniors to graduation the year before, the team continued the growing traditions of NCHS Lacrosse and returned to the FCIAC championship. In a close game, the team lost to Wilton. The team was led by seniors, Ed Curry (Hampton Sydney) and two-time All-American Scott Harrison (Duke).
In 1992, the Team was led by All-Americans, Scott Harrison (Duke) and Adam Buttorworth (Washington & Lee). Another star player for NC that year, was Derek Vanderwalker (who later would win two national championships at Hobart). The team lost to heavily favored Darien team in overtime of state semis (marking the first time ever Darien would play in a state championship game). For his outstanding play, Harrison earned CT Player of the year in 1992.
In 1993, NC defeated Darien 9-4 in the FCIAC Championship. Key performances in the Championship game came from Brooke Farrell class of 94’ (Gettysburg) and Mike Johnson class of 95’ (Williams College). Unfortunately, the Rams fell to Wilton 9-10 in the State Semi-Finals. The 1993 team is most remember by its two star players who lead the team all season long - David Curry at attack and Tyler Hardy on defense. Both were named All-American and both had stellar collegiate careers. Dave Curry originally went to Gettysburg, but transferred to UVA where he was a two-time All-American midfielder. He would later be a member of the TEAM USA and an MLL All-Star. Tyler Hardy was the CT Lacrosse Player of the Year his senior year at NCHS. At Duke, Hardy was co-rookie of the year, and a three time All-American, in addition to being NCAA Defensive Player of the Year. Arguably the most memorable game from 1993 was the NC vs Darien regular season match-up at Darien HS. In front of a packed stadium, Dave Curry, scored 6 goals and have two assists to beat Darien 8-6. It is arguably one of the greatest individual performances in NC Lacrosse History!
1994 was possibly the youngest team to ever play for Howard Benedict, with 4 sophomore starters, 4 junior starters, and only 2 senior starters. In total, the team had only a handful of seniors on the team. It was a senior class most remembered for football (one of the greatest NCHS football team of all-time! Winning the FCIAC and State Championship in the fall of 1993 – lead by legendary running back Chris Silvestri, who played baseball in the spring). Senior leaders in 1993 were Tim Jandovitz (BC/UVA) and Brooke Farrell (Gettysburg).
That young talent from 1994 would grow up very fast. Especially after attending Benedict’s All-American summer lacrosse camp after the ‘94 season – featuring Alumni like Andy Towers, Mike Murphy, Dave Curry, Tyler Hardy, Mike Jepsen, and other non-NC players asked to come coach at the camp – such as college All-Americans Kevin Lowe (Princeton), Doug Knight (UVA). After working hard on their skills in the off-season, the 1995 team, arguably became one of the strongest teams in NC Lacrosse history with every starter eventually playing college lacrosse – 8 of 10 playing Division 1. 20 total players going on to play college lacrosse (14 of 20 Division 1). Unfortunately, the ‘95 team lost in the FCIAC and State Finals to Wilton (a team ranked #2 nationally, with an undefeated 22-0 record – considered by many to be Wilton’s greatest team ever). The NC senior class was led by Chris Amen (Duke), Mark Amen (Duke), Brett Wilderman (Cornell), Brendan Hall (Cornell), Brad Fetchet (Bucknell), and Mike Johnson (Williams).
In 1996, despite losing by one goal in the FCIAC Championship, the team rallied and beat Wilton in the state finals, ending a 5 year drought and becoming the 6th NC Team to win a State Championship and ending the year ranked 11th Nationally (17-3 record - the team lost three 1 goal games to top rated teams in the country - Yorktown, Wilton, and Taft). The 96’ team was led by another great group of seniors, with four seniors earning All-America honors - Chip Buzzeo, Don Gerne, Craig Schubert and Dave Campbell. Campbell was named CT Lacrosse Player of the Year and went on to play / become 2x All-America Goalie for Middlebury College where he helped lead the team to two Division III National Championships. Campbell is now currently the head coach of Middlebury College. Buzzeo was a member of two National Championship Teams and four Ivy League Championship Teams at Princeton, and was captain of the 2001 team that won the National Championship. Buzzeo became the new Head Coach of the Boys Lacrosse Program at New Canaan High School in 2013. Gerne was a 2x-honorable mention All-American at Yale, 1st team All-Ivy Selection in 00’, and Captain of Yale in 2000. Schubert played at Duke University (playing in 3 ACC Championships and 1 Final Four). Other members of the '96 class who went on to play college lacrosse include Brian Jepsen (Loyola), Jeremy Klatell (Wesleyan), Tim Boyd (Conn. College) and Scott Leach (Middlebury), Marco Rodiger (Herkimer), Tori Fredricks (Merchant Marine Academy) and Jason Kaumeyer (LSU - Club). Coach Benedict was named the CHSCA Outstanding Coach of the Year, only the second lacrosse coach at the time to earn the honor. During the summer of 1996, Coach Benedict was the first ever coach of the Connecticut “Super Juniors” team.
In 1997, Dave Cochran Sr. was named CT Lacrosse Man of the Year.
As for the NCHS team, 1997 Team was led by Mike Adair (BC), Drew Rowley (Lehigh), and John Saunders (St. Lawrence).
In 1998, Coach Benedict was assisted by Mike Murphy ('87). New Canaan was runner-up in both the FCIAC and State Championships. Senior Austin Garrison went on to become a two-time Honorable Mention All-American midfielder at UNC before he played professionally in the MLL. Attackman Doug McCann went on to play at Johns Hopkins. Devon Farrell went on to play at the University of Denver.
The 1999 was led by defeneman, Brant Greshaman who was awarded All-American honors and was two-time honorable mention All-American at Georgetown. Other star players were Dan Geiger (Penn State, Hamilton) and Matt Twombly (Gettyburg).
The 2000 season was one of ups and downs. Assisting Benedict were former players Paul Burke (’84) and Steve Schmitz (’80). An early season overtime win at Wilton was encouraging, as were big wins against Darien and Yorktown. But after reaching the national “Top 10,” New Canaan fell to Darien in the FCIAC Championship and Wilton in the State semi-finals in overtime. The 2000 team was led by Paul Jepson, named CT Lacrosse Player of the Year who went on to play at Duke. Freshman Brooke Scholl (Harvard) set a CT state freshman scoring record. David Leach (Middlebury), John West (Middlebury) and Mike Drexler also stood out for the Rams.
In 2001, New Canaan reclaimed the state championship with one of the greatest games in Connecticut lacrosse history, a triple-overtime win over Fairfield Prep. That summer, Coach Benedict and Andy Towers were honored at halftime of the first ever MLL All-Star game, which was held in Bridgeport. The MLL honored the coaches and players whose contributions have brought Connecticut lacrosse to where it is today. "The sport of lacrosse has a very rich history, especially here in the great state of Connecticut," said MLL founder, Jake Steinfeld, CEO of Body by Jake enterprises. "Recognizing individuals like Guy Whitten, Howard Benedict and Jeff Brameier who have had a positive impact on the development of lacrosse enhances that rich tradition, not only for today, but for the future of the sport in Connecticut." The 2001 team was led by Blake Evans (Colorado), Dan Gross (Loyola), and Matt Simon (F&M).
Coach Benedict’s 30th season at NCHS, 2003, was one for the record books. New Canaan went 22-0, defeating Darien in the regular season, FCIAC Finals and the State Semi-Finals. This team had a suffocating defense led by Scott Wexler (Yale) and a quick strike attack led by Tom Harris (Hartford). Other great players that year included, Ian Chambers (Hamilton) Rob Dubas (Georgetown), Drew Garrison (UVA), Chris Hofmann (Amherst), Rob Oram (Union) and Tyler Rose (Dickinson) were also strong contributors. Following a victory against Norwalk in the state tournament, Norwalk coach Randy McCue best described the 2003 team, “New Canaan is such a well-balanced team. They have a solid defense, a good goaltender: and they move the ball around really well. Plus Howard knows the game better than anybody.”
In 2004, New Canaan upset Darien in the State semi-finals, but fell to Wilton at home in the State finals. Reed Deluca (Brown) was named an All-American. While at Brown he was an All-Ivy defenseman. Gordie Cohen, who was an All-FCIAC goalie, went onto to be an 2x All-American at Washington College.
In 2005, despite not having any players selected to the All-American or All-State teams, the rams were able reach the FCIAC finals. Unfortunately, at this point in time, Darien was dominating every team in the state of Connecticut.
Darien's dominance continued in 2006, beating NC for the second straight year in the FCIAC finals. The team was lead by All-State Players, Chris Fetchet (Bucknell), Jamie Mauk (Fairfield/Colorado College) , Peter Campbell, and Kevin Gildea.
In 2007, The Rams snapped Darien’s 54-game win streak in the FCIAC semi-finals with a 5-4 defeat. Coach Benedict said after the historic win “It's about will, it's about pride and it's about their relationships with each other. They really believe in themselves and each other. That's why what happened, happened. It could have gone either way. It's nothing against Darien. They played tough."
Unfortunately, after the amazing win, NC lost to Greenwich in the FCIAC Finals 8-12. Greenwich won their first FCIAC title, coached by New Canaan alumnus Paul Burke. The 2007 team featured a strong senior class which had a program high seven captains. Captain David Hawley originally went to Williams College, but transferred to Brown where he earned All-Ivy honors and was drafted to the MLL. Captain Charlie Streep earned All-American honors at NCHS and at Bucknell University as he too was drafted to the MLL after completing a fifth year at UVA. Captain Alex Drexler went to the University of Denver, where he was a captain and led the Pioneers to their first Final Four appearance under legendary coach Bill Tierney. Captain Chris Healy went on to be a four-year starter and captain at Colby. Benedict was assisted in 2007 by alumni Bobby Lutz ('91) and Steve Schmitz ('80).
2007 would prove to be Benedict’s last year with the program. He ended his tenure at New Canaan with a combined 18 FCIAC and State Championships. He was inducted into the CT Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2011, the first year he was eligible. His introduction speech was given by Andy Towers, Paul McNulty (coach at Wilton/Staples) and Chris Smalkais (coach at Fairfield Prep).
In February 2008, NCHS Lacrosse was taken over by Alex Whitten, son of former Wilton coach, Guy Whitten. Whitten graduated from Wilton in 1993 and Duke University in 1997. He came to New Canaan after having been the JV coach at Wilton in 2004 and the head coach at Weston High School for three seasons, winning the CT Class “S” Championship in 2007.
The 2008 team was led by senior captains Fergus Campbell (Dartmouth), Teddy Citrin (Wesleyan), Paul Dubas (Syracuse) and Chip Murray (Dickinson). After defeating Wilton 4-3 in the regular season, the Rams fell to the Warriors 8-15 at home in the FCIAC quarterfinalsThe Rams went on to the state championship where they lost to Darien.
In 2008, Coach Benedict was named US Lacrosse CT “Man of the Year” at the conclusion of the season.
2009 - Although the team had only six seniors on the roster, the team took #1 ranked Ridgefield into OT in the FCIAC Semi-Finals. Lead by senior captains Brian Faughnan (St. Lawrence) and Oliver Dennis (Wagner College).
2010 was another year lead by a strong senior class. 9 seniors received All-FCIAC honors - Kevin Campbell (Wesleyan), Ian Knechtle (Gordon), Cody Newton, Todd Bratches (Middlebury), Henry Eshricht, Oliver Norton (Trinity), Bobby Femia (Providence), Mike Freyre, Sam Stanton (Wesleyan). 7 of them received All-FCIAC honors. In addition, to the seniors, junior standout, Joe Costigan (UNC) received All-American, All-State, and All-FCIAC honors. Unfortunately, despite the depth in personal, the team lost in the FCIAC finals to Greenwich and lost an epic battle in 2OTs in the state-semis vs arch rival Darien which ended the team's season.
In 2011, Coach Howard Benedict and Andrew Towers (NCHS, 1987), both were inducted into the CT Lacrosse Hall of Fame.
The 2011 team was lead by seniors Jimmy-Joe Granito (Loyola), Joe Costigan a two-time All-American who went on to UNC. The team made it to the state finals, but lost to Wilton.
After 7 seasons without a Championship, the 2012 team won the FCIAC championship. The championship game featured a dramatic come-from-behind 2nd half victory over a very talented Ridgefield team. The team's never quit attitude was formulated by one of the deepest senior classes in NCHS History, Peter Kraus (Michigan), Tom Carey (OSU), Mike Bossidy (F&M), Matt Blasco (St. Joseph), Kevin McDonough (UPENN), John Branaird (UMASS), Wesley Rhudy (F&M), Jake Miller (Richmond), Jack Bratches (Colby), Bobby Distler (Lynchburg), and Hunter Budd (Alabama). 2 Rams would earn All-American honors - Carey, and junior defenseman Eric Persky. 7 players would earn All -State & All-FCIAC honors - Blasco, Carey, Kraus, Persky, Bossidy, Distler, McDonough. Unfortunately, the team played another tough opponent in Darien during the CIAC playoffs and lost in the State Championship game.
On December 15, 2013 Chip Buzzeo (1996 NCHS Alumnus) was hired to be the new Head Boys Lacrosse Coach at New Canaan High School. Buzzeo became just the third coach in the program's 39 year history.
After losing 7 starters and many core players to graduation the year before, the 2013 senior class did not want to be remembered as a "rebuilding year". Instead, behind strong leadership of 20 seniors, the team repeated as FCIAC champions and finished the season with a 19-3 record. In doing so, they beat their arch rival Darien twice (something the program hadn't done in 5 years). The team would post the lowest goals against average in the history of the program (4.34 GA) - allowing only one team to score more than 8 goals in 22 games. 2 Rams earned All-American honors, Eric Persky (UPENN) and Puck Richardson (Union). 7 players earned All-State & All-FCIAC honors - Seniors: Persky, Richardson, Duke Repko (Bucknell), John Rhudy (Army) - Juniors: Ted Bossidy (F&M), Seth Neeleman (Undecided), Harry Stanton (Wesleyn). The team ended the season with a heart breaker of a loss in 2OT to Joel Barlow in the State-Semi Finals.
In 2014, the team would finish the year ranked 41st nationaly (laxpower ranking) and 3rd in the state of Connecticut. New Canaan would finish the year 17-5, with three of the team's five loses to rival Darien who completed a 23-0 undefeated season and finished the year ranked 4th in the Nation (laxpower ranking). Of all the teams who played Darien, New Canaan would play them the toughest, having two of the three games be decided in Overtime (regular season and FCIAC Semi-Finals). The last defeat to Darien came in the State Semi-Finals 10-8. The 2014 Team was lead by Captains, Harry Stanton (All-American, Wesleyan), Seth Neelman (All-State, Loyola 2020), Ted Bossidey (All-State, F&M), and Trent Nader (Trinity-Pawling). Other seniors who played key roles during the season, All-State Midfielder, Cole Turpin (Wesleyan), and defensive midfielders Jack Gilio and Grahman Wagner.
After 10 years of coming very close, the rams would return as winners of the State Championship. The season was full of highlights. The first starting with New Canaan ending the 34-game winning streak of Darien in front of the largest regular season lacrosse game crowd at Dunning Stadium (3,000+). The team was lead by two All-American attack, Michael Kraus (UVA), and Justin Meichner (Georgetown). Both Attackman racked up massive numbers in goals and assists. Kraus ended the season breaking David Curry's (Class of 1993) all-time points record with 108 points. Another strength of the team was on defense, lead by seniors Frank Cognett (Richmond), Logan Hart (Skidmore), Sterling O'Hara (OWU), and Liam Harris (Union). Probably the unsung hereos of the team was the depth at Midfield. 2x-All-American Kyle Smith (Denver) led all middies in points, while playing with Peter Swindell (Loyola), Ryan O'Connell (UNC), Owen Toland (F&M), and Max Begoon (Denver). Together the team competed at an extremely high level all year and completed the season with a 10-5 victory in the State Championship over Daniel Hand. The Team would finish ranked 25th in the National Polls.
In 2016, the Rams would repeat at State Champions with antoher win over Daniel Hand. The Rams would finish the season ranked 17th National (Inside Lacrosse Yr-End National Poll). During the year, the team would win some big out-of-conference games, including wins over Maryland Powerhouse Loyola-Blakefield and nearby rival Brunswick. The team was lead by one of the strongest mid-field lines in NCHS Boys Lacrosse History of Kyle Smith (Denver), Peter Swindell (Loyola), Ryan O'Connell (UNC), Jack Hoelzer (Middlebury), Graham Braden (Denison), and Jono Betack. At Attack, Clayton Burt (Syracuse) had an MVP year, leading all offensive players in goals and overall points. Also contributing at Attack was Jackson Appelt (UVA). Although the offense received a lot of attention, the defense was just as dominate. Lead by All-American Goalie Drew Morris (Maryland), and Defesemen David Strupp (Harvard), James Crovatto (Amherst), Andrew Bauersfeld (UVM), Nick Femia, James Freyre (Denison), and Chase Strupp. The unsung hero of the team was Nick Crovatto (Bucknell), who emerged as one of the best Face-off specialists in CT.
2017...The Rams renturn 31 Varsity players - 6 of 10 starters. The Team will compete in one of the hardest Out-of-Conference Schedules in CT history, while playing in an FCIAC Conference loaded with some of the nations best players. Good luck to the Team!!