Girls varsity field hockey to be first to play under new Darien High lights

The slideshow above is of the new fields and Monday night's light test at Darien High School. All photos are courtesy the Darien Athletic Foundation other than those indicated as submitted. 

It has been a long road towards stadium lights at Darien High School, with the first discussions happening nearly two decades ago and the project finally being approved over the course of the last year. In a testament to cooperation and compromise, the Darien Board of Education and administration worked together with other town officials, boards, and groups of concerned citizens to come up with the best possible way to implement stadium lighting and a quality sound system at DHS.

And this fall, the switch will be thrown for the first time for a night game at DHS.  

While “Friday night lights” is often seen as synonymous with football, it will actually be the varsity girls field hockey team that gets the distinction of being the first team to play under the new lights. On Friday Sept. 8, the girls will take on Fairfield Warde starting at 7 p.m.

All outdoor fall varsity teams will have their chance to play under the new lights.

• Facilities work continues across district

Football will host Brien McMahon on Sept. 15 at 6 p.m., which will be their first night game. The football team will also play under the lights on Nov. 3, when they host Wilton, also at 6 p.m.. While some around town have wondered whether games should start at  7 p.m., the agreement made regarding lights use makes 6 p.m. more practical, school administrators said. Athletic Director Chris Manfredonia clarified that the agreement in place says the lights must be off by 10 p.m.

Football games can go three hours or more on occasion, and if a game ever went to overtime, it is unlikely that there would be enough time to play the game to completion. “A 6 p.m. start gives us enough time to play the whole game and also get everyone out of the stadium and on their way home safely,” Manfredonia sad.

Greenwich starts their football home games at 6 p.m. with similar reasoning.

Girls soccer will own the next Friday night, Sept. 22, when the team plays Danbury at 7 p.m. Boys soccer will play their first night game on October 20, hosting St. Joseph at 7 p.m.

Only varsity teams will have the opportunity to play night games.

On Monday night, a test on the new field lights was held at Darien High School.

Following the test, Schools Superintendent Dan Brenner told The Darien Times “the lights test exceeded my expectations for both how well they lit the field as well as for how little light spillage occurred beyond the stadium field.”

“I am confident the community will be very pleased with the results,” he said.