Darien advances to FCIAC semifinals with win over rival Wilton

DARIEN -- Even before the opening faceoff, it was evident a legitimate FCIAC title contender would be eliminated in the quarterfinals.

No strangers to one another, the Darien and Wilton boys lacrosse teams met for the second time this season, and for the second time it was the Blue Wave walking away winners -- this time by a 9-6 margin -- advancing to Tuesday's FCIAC semifinals against the winner of Saturday night's meeting between No. 2 New Canaan and No. 7 St. Joseph.

Darien led from the moment Ian Burgoyne opened the scoring in the first quarter, but the Wave were far from finished, building a 4-0 lead by quarter's end.

The second and fourth goals were scored by senior captain Kevin Seiler, with Peter Lindley assisting on both.

"I think we kind of showed how much we've improved this season," Seiler said. "(The fast start) is huge, especially in the FCIAC tournament when it's one-and-done. I think it's vital for our success to come out of the gates ready to play, and I think we did that today."

Darien's third goal was scored by Lindley after crips passing by John Reed and Kyle Cornell.

Wilton rallied to score two goals in 18 seconds midway through the second quarter. Reid Melillo found Ryder Farmakis to put the Warriors on the board, and Tommy Hayes brought them to within 4-2.

Darien, however, went on a three-goal run to close out the half. Reed scored 59 seconds after Wilton had made it 4-2, and the Blue Wave scored twice in the final three minutes on goals by Cornell and Reed again for the 7-2 lead.

Wilton actually outshot Darien 34-23 on the afternoon, but Wilton coach John Wiseman believed the Blue Wave had more quality shots.

"We didn't shoot that well to be frank," Wiseman said. "Obviously, (Phil) Huffard's a very good goalie. We need to put more shots on cage and give ourselves a chance. That was, I think, part of the issue."

Darien padded its lead to 8-2 early in the third when Lindley shot and scored while being knocked to the ground and took a commanding 9-2 advantage when Seiler assisted Cornell with 8:39 remaining in the third.

"Momentum is a huge factor in this thing. John Reed got us going with some pretty athletic moves and speed," Darien coach Jeff Brameier said. "We played great team defense and threw a zone at them. I don't think they were really ready for us to play zone; we haven't played a lot of zone against them in years past."

Returning from a minor injury that caused him to miss the previous game, Huffard was back between the pipes for the Blue Wave, making 15 saves.

After more than seven minutes of scoreless play, Wilton's Brendan Devane ended his team's drought and shrank the Warriors' deficit to 9-3 going into the fourth.

Wilton needed only 28 seconds of fourth quarter play to get back into the game when Isaac Sellhausen set up Devane to make it 9-4.

Consecutive goals with 6:03 and 5:20 remaining by Brameier's son Ryan, cut the Wilton deficit to 9-6.

"We got a little unsettled in the fourth quarter, but that's a credit to (Wilton). They always fight, and they made a comeback," Jeff Brameier said. "Sometimes you begin to sit on it too soon, and I think we did that. Today was a good team effort."

Darien controlled possession for most of the final four minutes and successfully ran out the clock.

"We obviously spotted them too many goals too early," Wiseman said. "We were a little sloppy defensively on some of those. You've got to play four quarters, not one or maybe one-and-a-half."

jchik@bcnnew.com; Twitter: @jchik17

Darien 9, Wilton 6

WILTON 0 2 1 3--6

DARIEN 4 3 2 0--9

Records: Wilton 8-9, 7-4 FCIAC; Darien 11-6, 11-1 FCIAC. Scoring: W--Ryan Brameier 2g, Brendan Devane 2g, Ryder Farmakis 1g, Tommy Hayes 1g, Reid Melillo 1a, Luke Reyes Guerra Dunn 1a, Henry Lee 1a; D--Kevin Seiler 2g, 1a, John Reed 2g, Peter Lindley 2g, 1a, Kyle Cornell 2g, 1a, Ian Burgoyne 1g. Goalies: W--Conor Johnson (9 saves); D--Phil Huffard (15). Shots: W--34; D--23.