‘History and Prestige’: NCHS Girls, Boys Lacrosse Eye Championships in 50th Year of Program 


Nineteen seventy-three. The first year that club lacrosse was played at New Canaan High School, making this the 50th anniversary season. Fifty years of growth, perseverance and victory.

New Canaan girls lacrosse team. Credit: Chris Harrison

Seven out of 12. The recent streak of seasons in which the girls lacrosse team has been crowned state champion.

Eleven and 11. The number of FCIAC and CIAC championships that the boys lacrosse team has accumulated.

Yet they still play as if they have something to prove. They play as if winning another state title isn’t just a goal but a necessity. Every day these athletes, clothed in red and black to represent the Rams, walk out onto the turf and leave everything that they have on the field. 

New Canaan boys lacrosse team. Credit: Chris Harrison

For senior defenseman Teddy Rosen, this pride and tradition of winning means everything. 

“I know that every time I put on my jersey, I’m not only playing for myself but for all of my teammates,” he said. “I’m playing for everyone around me that works every day to get better. I’m playing for my school. I’m playing for my town.” Rosen, along with senior goalie Holden Busby, are key leaders within the boy’s defensive unit that has already stifled some of the best teams in the state.

The girls team has an equally school-proud mindset.

“Since most of us have played New Canaan lacrosse for over a decade, we are well aware of the pride associated with the name,” senior captain Caroline Underwood said. “I remember being in awe of the varsity girls when I was younger, thinking of them as role models and inspirations. Now, as high school players, we are able to give back and connect to the same lacrosse community we grew up in.”

New Canaan boys lacrosse team. Credit: Chris Harrison

Although some might see the added pressure of maintaining this image of champions as a hindrance, girls coach Kristin Woods sees it as the opposite. Because of the pressure, “a lot of kids in the past have made a huge impact on our program and have been positive influences on the team,” she said. 

“The players know of the opportunities and successes that could become available to them, and the senior classes have taken leadership and shown the team the right way to go about doing things,” Woods said.

This leadership does not only occur on the lacrosse field. Building a championship-caliber team takes more than just hard work and dedication, Underwood said. Having a close-knit team “helps build trust and a supportive family that can be seen through the success on the field.”

“We believe in each other and believe that we can win the FCIAC and CIAC championships again,” Underwood said. “A practice doesn’t go by without us reminding each other what all of this hard work is for.”

The team has put itself in position to go out and reach its goals. The girls team is currently 7-1 and ranks as the fourth-best team in the nation, according to USA Lacrosse National Top 25. Their lone loss of the season thus far is to rival Darien, which ranks number one in that same poll. New Canaan and Darien girls lacrosse have seen monumental matches on the game’s biggest stage in recent years, including last season’s state championship, where the Rams outlasted the Blue Wave 14-13. Every game between the two giants is a must-watch event, and a potential matchup in this year’s postseason would be no different. 

As the final stretch of the year begins and the truly unforgettable moments start to unfold, this girls lacrosse team is looking to defend their state title and repeat for the third consecutive season as FCIAC champion.

The boys team also had high hopes going into the season. 

“We wanted to win the FCIAC and CIAC championships, and we still believe that that is well within our ability,” Rosen said. 

The boys team started out fast with an 8-0 record that, according to the USA Lacrosse National Top 25, had them ranked within the top 25 teams in the nation. However, the team has faced some recent struggles. A combination of injuries and playing the top teams in the country has seen them lose four of their last five games, leaving them with a record of 9-4. The boys will look to bounce back and regain some of the momentum they had earlier this season, beginning with Fairfield Warde on May 9.

As both teams look to add yet another trophy to their mantles in celebration of 50 years of the sport at New Canaan High School, they are propelled forward by a mutual respect for and encouragement of one another. 

“We all love seeing the success of the girls team,” Rosen said. “We love supporting them and appreciate the support that they give us. This community is a great one—it’s an honor to be able to compete on behalf of a town that has as much history and prestige as New Canaan.”

5 thoughts on “‘History and Prestige’: NCHS Girls, Boys Lacrosse Eye Championships in 50th Year of Program 

  1. The impetus for introducing boy’s lacrosse came in 1972 from a group of fathers. The high school principal at the time hired Howard Benedict to teach English and start the lax program in 1973. The rest is history!

    • Thanks Alan. Never played lacrosse myself, though there were several standout players in my class at NCHS and Mr. Benedict absolutely was a legend at the school. Was lucky to take his “Rebel in Literature” English class my senior year and still remember it very well and warmly. Fond memories of him and Barbara from (gulp) 30 years ago.

  2. Thanks for writing article. As one of the oldest alumni in town (1980) and 4 time Asst coach to Coach Benedict, I have a good idea where NC lacrosse has come from and where its gone. As a 7th grader I watched Matt Diserio’s last second goal in the 1st win over Wilton in 76-77, watched decades of winning teams and great college players, beat Darien 5-4 in the FCIACs in 2008 with players I had coached as youths, fought HB being run out of town unfairly by the AD, and finally watched my son play well in 2022. 50 years goes by fast.

    Still producing great D1 players and winning, a great program by any measure and a testament to Howard Benedict’s vision and love of lacrosse.

  3. I was amused to read Mr. Schmitz’s comment about the origin of New Canaan’s lacrosse program. It isn’t that he’s old enough to remember, it’s that he’s young enough! There are still several of us antediluvian NCHS alumni still kicking around who can remember when lacrosse had not yet made its appearance.

  4. I am very proud of the New Canaan Lacrosse teams. I am especially proud of the efforts of my grandson, Teddy Rosen to support his school and the Town of New Canaan. I congratulate Teddy and his team and wish them much success in their future.

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