Shaban helps Barlow into SWC semifinals

REDDING — There’s a back-and-forth in many coach-player relationships, and Joel Barlow Boys lacrosse coach John Distler had a laugh while discussing his with Danny Shaban.

Shaban describes himself primarily as a football player who loves lacrosse. Distler watches Shaban play lacrosse like a football player, but sees the lacrosse player he can be.

“It’s a little argument I have with Danny because Danny won’t give in to me,” Distler said. “I want to make him a lacrosse player and he fights me all the time. He’s so damn athletic, it’s unbelievable.”

Distler said the junior midfielder played his best lacrosse of the season in the Falcons’ 14-2 win over Newtown in the SWC Quarterfinals on Thursday.

“He’s always pushing me to get better,” Shaban said.

“He’s trying to push me to put the racquet in my free hand, work on shooting, work on passing, work on my lacrosse game a little bit more. So when we’re in situations like this, in big games like this, we know we can do it.”

Shaban was a second-team All-State midfielder in the M-class last spring. In the fall, he filled stat lines on both sides of the football, rushed for 1,300 yards and 24 touchdowns, posted eight sacks and earned a third-team spot in the New Haven Register All State.

When Barlow and Newtown met in the May 2 regular season, Shaban and attacker Griffin Ellis were out. The Falcons won 8-6.

On Thursday, Shaban helped Barlow dominate the faceoffs in the first quarter, scoring the opening eight goals in just over nine minutes. Shaban himself scored 3-7 goals, a five-goal run in just about five minutes. He added another goal in the fourth quarter as the Falcons improved to 12-5.

“He did a really good job,” said Distler. “He was difficult to cover. They had no one to cover for him. He took advantage of that.”

Distler wanted to make it clear that Shaban works hard, and he didn’t want to imply that either.

“But Danny is getting by with his athletics, so he’s not working on his skills, which he really needs to be in order to become the best lacrosse player he can be,” Distler said, “which is amazing when you put it all together. “

Shaban said he made progress with his shot; it’s still “shaky,” he said, but better than last season.

He wants to play Division I college football and explore all of his options.

“I hope they’ll take a look at me; hopefully some lacrosse schools will look at me,” said Shaban. “I just want to enjoy college and make the most of my experience.”


Barlow’s junior midfielder Danny Shaban scored six goals.


Second-placed Barlow hosts third-placed New Milford in the semi-finals at 7pm on Tuesday night. The Falcons won the regular season meeting on April 14 at home, 10-6.

What sets the Falcons apart from Shaban, he said, “is our tenacity because on both sides of the ball, on defense and offense, I think we’re impeccable, one of the best in the state. I think it’s our tenacity and perseverance that will get us through these games.”

Tyler Ramirez scored five goals for the Falcons.


It ended a tough year for Newtown (5-12), their first without a CIAC berth since 2007.

The Nighthawks struggled with injuries and illnesses throughout the season.

“That’s no excuse,” Newtown coach Scott Bulkley said.

All of this led to a degree of inexperience, and the team looked young in some places.

“Some guys, yes, but yes, for the most part, everyone played hard,” Bulkley said. “You get enough reps, you stop being young.”


“Danny and Zach (Herman) are football players turned lacrosse players. Both have played more football-style lacrosse in the past. Today Danny played lacrosse. He did a really good job.” – Barlow coach John Distler

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NEW TOWN0 1 0 1—2

BARLOW8 3 2 1-14

Records: Neustadt 5-12; Barlow 12-5. Rating: N—Sam Steare 1 goal, Kyle Ruddy 1g; B – Danny Shaban 6g, Tyler Ramirez 5g, Griffin Ellis 1g 2 assists, Nick Miceli 2a, Charlie Guidera 1g, Ian Lent 1g. Goalkeeper: N—Reilly Nydell (10 saves); B—Charlie Falowski (4), Cole Bonanno (2). shots: N-23; B—36.

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