Darien boys lacrosse reigns in the rain against St. Anthony’s

During a fourth-quarter timeout in a barn-burner of a boys lacrosse game between Darien and St. Anthony’s, dark clouds rolled over Darien High School, the wind started whipping debris through the air, and a drenching rain soaked the players and fans.

No, it wasn’t a ominous sign of the end of the Blue Wave’s win streak. It was just another memorable moment for the Darien lacrosse program.

With strong performances all over the field, the Wave held off the St. Anthony’s Friars for an 11-10 victory Thursday at Darien’s center oval field. Logan McGovern and Brian Minicus each ad a hat trick, and goalie Sean Collins amassed 15 saves as Darien’s win streak is now at 66.

The team was soaked at they celebrated, as the final 3:32 was played in the pouring rain, but it was all good as far as the Blue Wave was concerned.

“I’m checking out the weather days before to see what the games going to be like,” Minicus said with a smile. “For Thursday I saw clouds and I thought we’d luck out, but we got most of the game in with good weather. It was awesome playing in that when the rain started to pick up and the sky opened — I don’t think I’ve ever been a part of a game like that.”

The game was a match-up of team’s ranked in the Nike/US Lacrosse National Top 25, as Darien (12-0 overall, 8-0) is No. 2 and St. Anthony’s (11-3) is No. 8. They’re also ranked No. 1 and 3, respectively, in the Northeast.

Given some of the common opponents and results in those games this season, the Friars were a huge challenge for Darien.

“It was to be expected,” Wave head coach Jeff Brameier said. “ It’s two of the best programs in the country going head to head. They’ve been a roll, winning 11 straight games, and they beat Chaminade, one of the top programs, they beat Manhasset, they beat Prep 11-4 and beat New Canaan soundly. So we know what they’re made of — a class program with great athletes and a great coaching staff.”

The two teams didn’t disappoint, as the scoring seesawed for the entire game. The Blue Wave trailed just once when the Friars had a 2-1 lead late in the first quarter. The largest lead for either team was three, as Darien led 6-3 early in the second quarter but the Friars responded with three straight goals to tie the game.

Defensively, the Wave featured Collins with an outstanding game in the net, and senior co-captain Andrew Darby who was tasked with shutting down St. Anthony’s sophomore star Brennan O’Neill. O’Neill had a hat trick, but was shut out in the second half.

“One guy who played outstanding was Andrew Darby,” Minicus said. “(O’Neill) is going to be an awesome player, he’s only a sophomore, so he’s got years two more years to go, but the way pur defense talks and the way Sean (Collins) plays, it’s pretty tough to score on us.”

“We had our captain on their big stud and he kind of shut him down in the second half,” Brameier said. “He went to school on us a little bit in the first half, but we also had our one-two tandem of Minicus and Logan. It was pretty special for (McGovern) coming back off an ankle injury to do what he did today, and Brian continued his electric scoring binge.”

The Darien defensive effort also featured Matt Gould, Tyler Strub, Charlie Olsen, Connor Olson and midfielders Blake Sommi, Ryan Darby, Bruce Ferguson, Jackson Peters and Jack Joyce.

McGovern, who had missed the past few games, made his presence known as he scored the Wave’s first two goals. Minicus and Hudson Pokorny also hit the net in the first frame, as Darien led 4-3.

“It definitely helps having 4 back,” Minicus said, referring to McGovern’s jersey number. “He’s the glue that keeps our offense together. When we didn’t have him, I wanted to say we didn’t skip a beat, but it was obvious today that wasn’t the case and he brings a whole new element to the offense that really gets the ball in the back of the net.”

Darien scored two stirring goals in the first two minutes of the second period. On the first, Friars’ goalie Andrew Pacienza made a save and the rebound ended up in a scrum in front of the net. McGovern got his stick on the ball and whipped it off the ground and into the goal for a 5-3 lead.

Thirty seconds later, long pole Olson carried the ball through the midfield, charged the net and scored top shelf for a 6-3 advantage.

The Friars responded, however, as Andrew McAdorey, O’Neill and Jake Bonomi scored consecutive goals to tie the score at 6-6. From there no team led by more than two goals at any time.

The score was knotted at 8-8 when Minicus and Pokorny scored back-to-back goals for a 10-8 advantage going to the fourth quarter.

St. Anthony’s Bonomi scored to make it 10-9 and the Friars then gained possession and called timeout with 3:32 on the clock when the rain and wind took over the field.

Darien regained the ball and Joyce charged through the middle of the defense for a goal to make it 11-9, but St. Anthony’s Joe Duchnowski responded to close the gap to one with 1:23 remaining. Tanner Strub won the ensuing faceoff, and Minicus and the Wave offense ran out the clock for the victory.

“We knew it was going to be a battle,” Brameier said. “We made mistakes but the level of play forces it sometimes. We’re playing good lacrosse on both sides of the ball. I think our defense, holding that offense down the way we did in the second half, was tremendous. And on offense, we took advantage of a lot of our opportunities.”

Darien 11, St. Anthony’s 10

Thursday, May 3, at Darien HS

St. Anthony’s 3-4-1-2 10

Darien 4-3-3-1 11

St. Anthony’s: Brennan O’Neill 3g; Andrew McAdorey 3g; Jake Bonomi 2g, 1a; Joe Duchnowski 1g, 1a; Joe Naso 1g

Darien: Logan McGovern 3g, 2a; Brian Minicus 3g, 1a; Hudson Pokorny 2g; Connor Olson 1g; Jack Joyce 1g; Tommy Hellman 1g

Goalies

SA – Andrew Pacienza 3 saves, and Ryan Lopiano 10 saves

D – Sean Collins 15 saves

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Darien’s Jack Joyce (left) and Charlie Olsen get out in front of a pair of St. Anthony’s players in a battle for a ground ball. — Dave Stewart photo

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