On Saturday, Connecticut was host to the rarest of rare events, when two state titles in two different sports were contested by the same two schools on the same day.
As covered by the Connecticut Post and other outlets, two Catholic schools -- St. Joseph (Conn.) High of Trumbull and Fairfield (Conn.) Prep -- faced off in both the state's Div. I hockey final and the Class LL boy's basketball championship on Saturday. Perhaps fittingly, the two schools split titles in the two different sports, with Fairfield Prep taking home the hockey title and St. Joseph's emerging with a state basketball title Saturday night.
According to Prep Rally's research, the two-title Saturday marked the first time in Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Association history that two schools had contested both a hockey and a boys or girls basketball state championship game in the same season. The fact that Fairfield Prep and St. Joseph played both on the same day made the coincidence all the more striking.
The two schools' festivities started at 2 p.m. on Saturday, when the opening puck for the hockey final was dropped at Yale University's Ingalls Rink. Fairfield Prep dominated that state face-off, with goalie John Galiani stonewalling St. Joseph throughout a 5-0 victory. Behind Galiani's 25 saves, the Jesuits earned the 14th state title in school history.
"It didn't even look like he was working that hard," Fairfield Prep hockey coach Matt Sather told the Post. "I assure you, he was.
"That was the best game of his life."
What followed the victory was essentially a mass caravan from New Haven to Uncasville, Conn., where the basketball state finals were held at the Mohegan Sun Arena, home to the WNBA's Connecticut Sun.
And just as Prep students, parents and fans had reasons to be jubilant leaving the hockey rink, it was the St. Joseph's community which celebrated during and after a basketball blowout, with the Cadets rolling to a 79-53 victory for the Class LL title. The win marked the school's first state title since 2001 and its 10th overall.
"The pain you feel knowing you had a chance to win a state championship and fell short ... you feel like you disappointed your coach," St. Joseph basketball player Oscar Assie told the Post, comments which referred to his team's state semifinals loss in 2010 but which could also have applied to the St. Joseph hockey team's loss earlier that day. "So this feels great for coach [Vito] Montelli and for all our fans."
The fact that both contests were blowouts may have slightly dampened what could be a budding potential rivalry between the two schools. While the Jesuits and Cadets compete in different conferences, they're size classification appears likely to remain on course in future years, making further state tournament face-offs a likelihood.
Whether those happen to come simultaneously in multiple state finals on the same day again is anyone's guess. Logic would dictate that they probably won't, which makes Saturday's festivities even more unique, both for fans and all the players and students from both schools involved.
Even if Fairfield Prep and St. Joseph -- or any other pair of Connecticut schools -- do meet in multiple sports on the same day again, they couldn't possibly face off on a more appropriate day on the Catholic calendar: Saturday was St. Joseph day.