By Eliot Schickler

For the first time in almost three years, the Weston boys lacrosse team got the best of Staples.

Host Weston defeated Staples 8-5 at home Thursday to raise its record to 6-2. The Wreckers lost their fifth straight game and dropped to 3-6. Before Thursday night, the last time the Trojans defeated Staples was a 14-6 verdict on May 2, 2008 at Weston's turf field.

"It's a big win for us," Trojans senior captain Lyle Mitchell said. "We also beat Staples in basketball [Mitchell was a center on the hardcourt], and I get to go out strong my senior year. It feels good to finally beat Staples. We prepared for this game, the offense played well, and it was our coming out party. The defense always plays well."

Weston jumped out to a fast start in taking a 3-0 lead on goals by senior captain Jack Scheufele, classmate Matt Brooks and junior Sean Fumai. Brooks scored the first goal of the game when the contest was only 38 seconds old, and the Trojans never looked back after that.

Wrecker senior Kyle Murray broke the shutout with 5:40 remaining in the first quarter off a feed from junior Joey Zelkowitz. However, Staples couldn't get closer the rest of the half because Weston scored the next three goals to take a 6-1 halftime lead. Only 24 seconds after Murray's goal, Scheufele (three goals, three ground balls) with a tally to restore the three-goal lead.

"It was big for us because we usually come out slow, but today, we came out strong, and it caught Staples off-guard," Mitchell said. "It was the best game I saw Jack play."

Although Scheufele scored clutch goals, he remained modest and deflected credit to his teammates.

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"It's not just me, it's the kids I'm playing with," Scheufele said. "I can't do it all by myself, and it's a matter of who's open. Our whole offense has great players. Some days, I get goals and on other days, I get assists. It depends on the day."

Fumai also finished the game with three goals. Trojan sophomore goalie Grant Limone had 10 saves.

"I knew our defense could stop them, and Grant was playing well in the cage," Fumai said. "[Weston head] Coach [John] Mathews was on us all week with our shot selection, and we practiced taking better shots. It worked."

Staples senior captain Jake Frimet scored the only goal of the third quarter to cut the deficit to 6-2. The Wreckers appeared to take the momentum into the fourth quarter and scored the first two goals to cut it to 6-4. Senior captain Peter Paul and Zelkowitz (two goals) scored for Staples, and the visitors had a chance to trim the deficit, but the Trojans stopped them, and scored on a counterattack to extend the lead back up to three, 7-4.

Weston had a chance to run out the clock, but Wrecker junior captain Quinn Mendelson (four ground balls) had other ideas. Mendelson broke up the play and led to the transition attack.

"I do in practice what I do in the game," Mendelson said. "The coach gets me ready."

Zelkowitz scored with 5:05 left in the game to make it 7-5. Staples had a chance to further cut the deficit, but the Trojan defense and Limone thwarted the Wreckers.

Seniors Peter Robbins and Zach Kraft each had three ground balls for Weston. Mitchell (one assist) scored with 1:51 to go, which secured the victory.

"It's a great win for the team in general," Scheufele said. "Staples is a good team, and it feels good to finally beat them. We came in excited and ready to play, which we have to do every game."

Wrecker senior captain Adam Levenson had three ground balls and sophomore goalie Cole Gendels made eight saves.

"We had a rough start," Mendelson said. "We played a good second half, but it wasn't good enough to get us out of the hole."

During Staples' losing streak, this is its third loss by three goals or less. The skid began with an 11-9 home loss to Ridgefield, and the Wreckers' next four losses were on the road. However, Mendelson doesn't attribute this loss as part of the downward momentum.

"It changes game by game," Mendelson said. "Every loss hurts. We have to look at every loss individually, and not clump the games together."

One variable that seems to make a difference for Staples is its struggles on the road. The Wreckers are now 0-5 away from Westport, 3-1 at home.

"We have to figure out a way to win on the road," Staples assistant coach Matt Johnson said.

Mendelson said, "It's [the team's road woes] something we have to focus on. Every game, from here on out, are must wins."