Darien laxmen past first test with ease, crush St. Joseph
Wednesday's season-opening game was supposed to be somewhat of a challenge for the Darien High School boys' lacrosse team. The Blue Wave, though, certainly made it look easy in an 18-4 thumping of visiting St. Joseph of Trumbull.
The Wave, winners of six straight state championships (one Division I title and five Class M triumphs), jumped out to a 5-0 first quarter lead and cruised to the win over last year's Class S finalists.
"We set the tone really early," said Richard Gregory, who had two goals in the win.
"I think we played an `A' game in our first game," Darien coach Jeff Brameier added. "We played very well on both sides of the ball. They were sharing the ball. They were hitting their shots."
Junior Case Matheis hit the net on four of his shots to lead the scoring barrage. Graham Maybell scored three times, and Gregory and Brandon Coley were the only other players with multiple goal efforts, each notching a pair of tallies. Ben Preston, Jon Magnusson, Sean Foley, Peter Lindley and Tony Britton also scored.
"We knew they would be a good test. It's good to have a formidable opponent in our first game," Matheis said. "I think they provided a good test. We just come out really intense. We were able to work on our offensive sets and defensive sets, and our riding. It's just great to get this game under our belts."
Brameier was pleased with his team's ball control which was made possible by domination on faceoffs and an ability to get to the loose balls. Coley and Clay Barker combined to win 17 of 24 faceoffs. Darien had a decisive 35-11 advantage in ground ball scoops, led by J.P. Walsh's five scoops and four apiece by Baylis Treen and Barker.
The lopsided score enabled Darien to unload its bench and players who might not see game action in tight contests had an opportunity to get some varsity experience late in the game against St. Joseph's starters.
"The hardest part is just getting your feet wet," Brameier said of the importance of the up-and-coming players getting the chance to play.
Despite the strong start, Gregory points out that the Blue Wave will have to improve to continue having success.
"We've got to work on some things. Today, our rides were great, our defense shut them down, we possessed the ball well. We've just got to finish a couple of our shots," Gregory said.
Darien will visit Greenwich on Saturday at 3 p.m. and return home to face Danbury on Tuesday at 4 p.m.