The players on the Darien boys lacrosse team understand their position in their sport. They are a team everyone is aiming for — the team everyone wants to beat. Heck, opponents are traveling nearly 3,000 miles for the chance to face the Blue Wave.
Darien, to this point, hasn’t faltered.
Playing their first game under their home field lights, the Wave answered an early deficit with eight unanswered goals and rolled to a resounding 14-4 victory over Torrey Pines of California on Friday night.
Darien seemed calm and confident throughout, as they controlled the Nationally-ranked Falcons.
“We have a big target on our back and we understand that,” said junior Hudson Pokorny. “So we’re going to push ourselves every game — it doesn’t matter who the opponent is. We definitely have a lot of faith in the people that we have. We expect to win every game and we definitely showed that today.”
“We didn’t really know what to expect (from Torrey Pines); we just knew we had to play our game,” senior goalie Sean Collins said. “And if we played 100 percent the whole time, we had a good feeling things would go our way.”
Darien is now 3-0 for the young season and has stretched its win streak to 57 games. Friday’s win in the battle of East vs. West was a thunderous statement, as Torrey Pines (8-1) was ranked No. 1 in California and No. 17 in the country, and the Wave simply dominated.
Darien’s offense featured scoring from seven players, with Pokorny scoring four goals and dishing out two assists, and senior co-captain Brian Minicus scoring four goals and one assist.
Senior co-captain Logan McGovern scored twice and had four assists, and senior co-captain Blake Sommi, Tanner Strub, Henri Pfeifle and Jackson Peters each found the net once.
“We can put up points in a hurry, and even against a very good goalie,” head coach Jeff Brameier said. “Their goalie made some great saves and their defense was solid, but we had answers. We’re not fine-tuned, but we’re clicking pretty good for this early.”
Collins had a remarkable game with eight saves and has looked strong between the pipes since taking over as the starter this season.
“The more he gets in games like this, the more confident he’s going to be,” head coach Jeff Brameier said. “He’s been working hard. He’s technically very sound, and I felt like it’s just a matter of getting confidence and believing in himself and what he can do.”
Defensively, senior co-captain Andrew Darby, Tyler Strub, Matt Gould and Connor Olson helped lock down the Falcons’ offense, pitching a shutout for a span of nearly 27 and a half minutes from the first through third quarters. That turned a 2-1 deficit into a 9-2 Wave lead.
“In the first quarter, they scored those two quick goals and we just had the attitude that we had to shake it off,” Collins said. “We had to look towards the rest of the game. Lacrosse games are 48 minutes long and there was so much more lacrosse to be played. We put it past us, kept a good mentality the whole time, and put in 100 percent.”
Trailing 2-1, Darien put up three goals in the final 1:34 of the first quarter. Pokorny started the rally off a feed from Minicus, and Tanner Strub won the ensuing faceoff, carried it in himself and scored low to the corner for a 3-2 lead.
Strub was one of the keys to the game, as he won 17-of-22 faceoffs and helped Darien gain the advantage in possession.
“He played amazing,” Pokorny said. “Without him, we would’ve had a lot less possessions and we wouldn’t have scored as many goal. Big credit to him.”
“He dominated and gave us those extra possessions that you need to have in this kind of game,” Brameier said.
Minicus finished the first-quarter scoring when he ripped in a goal with an assist from Pokorny in the final minute.
The Wave scored three times in the second quarter, as Peters, Pfeifle and Pokorny netted goals for a 7-2 halftime lead.
Minicus and McGovern then opened the second half with goals to extend the lead to 9-2. Torrey Pines finally broke the slide when Shayne Grant scored with 2:20 remaining in the third quarter, but Darien outscored the Falcons 5-1 in the fourth to end the game with a double digit lead.
With that, the Blue Wave remained unbeaten, sent a loud message, and scored a victory in their first game under the lights at DHS.
“This was an awesome experience,” Collins said. “I remember watching the football game in the fall under the lights for the first time and that was just so cool. To be able to play here tonight is just an amazing experience.”
Darien 14, Torrey Pines 4
Friday, April 5, at DHS
Torrey Pines 2-0-1-1 4
Darien 4-3-2-5 14
Torrey Pines: Marco Napolitano 1g; Dewey Egan 1g; Shayne Grant 1g; Spencer Grant 1g
Darien: Hudson Pokorny 4g, 2a; Brian Minicus 4g, 1a; Logan McGovern 2g, 4a; Blake Sommi 1g; Tanner Strub 1g; Jackson Peters 1g; Henri Pfeifle 1g
TP – Makail Fraboni 8 saves
D – Sean Collins 8 saves