The Darien Blue Wave and Ridgefield Tigers will battle for the CIAC Class L boys lacrosse championship at 3 p.m., Saturday, June 9, at Brien McMahon High School in Norwalk.
Darien is looking for its fifth consecutive and 14th overall CIAC championship, while the Tigers are seeking their first state title since 2011.
Here’s a look at both teams:
No. 1 Darien Blue Wave (22-0)
Head Coach: Jeff Brameier (35 years)
CIAC Championships: 13 (1997, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017)
CIAC Finals Appearances: 15
Road to the Final
First Round: Darien 23, Xavier 4
Quarterfinals: Darien 11, Wilton 10
Semifinals: Darien 8, New Canaan 7
Captains: A Logan McGovern, A Brian Minicus, DMF Blake Sommi, and D Andrew Darby
Players to Watch: GK Sean Collins, D Matt Gould, Hudson Pokorny, Jack Joyce, D Tyler Strub, FO/MF Tanner Strub
Darien is one victory away from a third consecutive 23-0 season — a remarkable feat given the strong schedule the Blue Wave plays year-in and year-out. Those unbeaten marks are part of a streak of 76 consecutive victories stretching back to the final eight games of the 2015 season.
The Wave’s 8-7 victory over rival New Canaan in Wednesday’s semifinals was Darien’s fifth one-goal win this season. They previously defeated Manhasset 7-6, St. Anthony’s 11-10, New Canaan 13-12 in the FCIAC final, and Wilton 11-10 in the Class L quarters. Darien also has a pair of two-goal victories: 13-11 at Yorktown on opening night, and 9-7 over New Canaan during the regular season.
The 17 seniors on the Darien roster never lost a game on their home field. The last win was an 11-10 thriller against the Wilton Warriors in the Class L quarterfinals last Saturday, but the Wave nailed the door shut in the final minutes to advance.
The Blue Wave’s offense has a ton of weapons, and senior co-captain Logan McGovern is typically at the center of the action. McGovern had a hat trick and two assists in Darien’s win over Wilton in the quarterfinals, and added two goals and one assist against New Canaan in the semis. And it was his goal with 2:31 remaining, off a quick feed from Hudson Pokorny in transition, which put Darien ahead for good.
The ‘D’ in Darien
The Blue Wave defense was on point against New Canaan, as goalie Sean Collins delivered an MVP performance with 12 saves, and long poles Andrew Darby, Matt Gould, Tyler Strub and Charlie Olsen helped limit a talented Ram attack to just seven goals. It was Gould and Olsen causing a turnover in the defensive zone which started the series that led to Darien’s go-ahead goal in the closing minutes.
No. 6 Ridgefield Tigers (15-5)
Head Coach: Roy Colsey (10th year)
CIAC Championships: 2 (2001, 2011)
CIAC Finals Appearances: 6
Road to the Final
First Round: Ridgefield 18, Trumbull 6
Quarterfinals: Ridgefield 14, Hall 2
Semifinals: Ridgefield 6, Glastonbury 5
Captains: A Dawson Muller, D/MF Luke Gaydos, and MF Greg Gatto
Players to Watch: GK Dan Parson, D/MF Ray Dearth, MF Wes Carpenter, FO/MF Chris D’Entrone
The Tigers were trailing the Glastonbury Tomahawks 5-0 in the semifinals when Weston Carpenter scored Ridgefield’s first goal with 2:37 remaining in the third quarter. That ignited a run of six unanswered tallies for the Tigers which led to the dramatic win.
First in a While
Ridgefield has appeared in the CIAC finals five previous times, but hasn’t won a state championship since 2011 when it knocked off Fairfield Prep 11-10 in the Class L title game. The Tigers lost in the finals to Prep 8-6 in 2012, and Darien 6-5 in 2015.
The Tigers boasted several weapons on offense, but became even better with the return of All-American senior Greg Gatto from an injury late in the season. Gatto delivered a hat trick in Ridgefield’s 14-2 rout of Hall in the Class L quarterfinals, and then scored the game-winner with 1:30 remaining in the semifinals.
Darien and Ridgefield clashed less than a month ago, when Darien took a 10-6 decision at Tiger Hollow on May 12. Ridgefield led that game 5-4 after one quarter, but the Wave took over after that, outscoring the Tigers 7-1 the rest of the way.