Darien boys lacrosse romps past Wilton and into FCIAC final vs. New Canaan
At the end of the first quarter, the Darien Blue Wave was gliding along with a 1-0 lead in its FCIAC boys lacrosse semifinal match-up against the Wilton Warriors on Wednesday.
In the second quarter, the Wave revved up the engines and left the Warriors in the proverbial cloud of dust.
Darien scored six unanswered goals to open the second frame and romped to a 17-5 win over Wilton at Brien McMahon’s Jack Casagrande Field, advancing to the FCIAC championship game for the fifth consecutive season.
Top-seeded Darien (18-0), which is seeking a fifth straight league title, will square off with No. 2 New Canaan (14-4) in the FCIAC final at 4 p.m., Friday, back at Brien McMahon. The Rams defeated Ridgefield 10-6 in Wednesday’s early semifinal. The game will be carried live by the HAN Network.
The Wave had beaten Wilton 12-6 during the regular season and used the experience from that game to their advantage.
“Our coach says one of the hardest things to do is beat a team a second time, so we focus on the advantages of it,” senior co-captain Logan McGovern said. “We know what they run, we have a feel for the speed of their game, and we know what their strengths and weaknesses are. I think it helped more than it hurt for the FCIACs.”
“The kids came to play,” head coach Jeff Brameier said. “They didn’t rest on anything, we played better than we did last time against them.”
The game was a tour de force for Darien, which had nine players score goals, received a fantastic faceoff performance from Tanner Strub (15-of-22) and Matt Freeman (4-for-4), and featured a suffocating defense led by goalie Sean Collins (11 saves) and defensemen Andrew Darby, Matt Gould, Tyler Strub, Charlie Olsen, Connor Olson, Blake Sommi, Jack Joyce, Ryan Darby, and Bruce Ferguson.
“Our defense played great,” Brameier said. “We had match-ups that we liked and we took away their key guys. We’ve got (Andrew) Darby and he’s the best defensive guy in the area, I think. He may not be as well known as some but he certainly has shut down everybody I’ve locked him on.”
McGovern and Brian Minicus led the offensive attack with seven points each — McGovern on five goals and two assists, and Minicus on three goals and four assists. Hudson Pokorny and Henri Pfeifle had two goals apiece, and Blake Sommi, Jackson Peters, Tommy Hellman, Strub, and defenseman Gould scored one goal each.
“We were moving really well off-ball, which is usually the key to our offense,” McGovern said. “We have great one-on-one guys, so if we move off-ball and get the slide confused, we can take advantage of it like Brian did, like Blake, like Jack, like Hudson, like Henri — they all got in on the scoring. We’re all pretty lethal and even Jackson Peters, Ryan Darby on the second line — we’re all great dodgers and we all got on the scoring sheet.”
McGovern scored the only goal of the first period — an unassisted tally 2:37 after the faceoff.
Then, the Wave scored six consecutive goals in the first eight minutes of the second quarter. Those goals came from five different players, as Minicus scored twice, and Sommi, Pokorny, McGovern and Gould added one goal each.
Wilton got on the scoreboard with consecutive goals from Dean DiNanno and Zach Zeyher, but McGovern scored twice in the final minute for a 9-2 lead at halftime.
Darien then outscored the Warriors 8-2 in the second half, even sending the game to running time when it gained a 12-goal lead with 5:28 remaining.
With their second meeting of the season against rival New Canaan on deck, the Wave is ready for a battle. They defeated the Rams 9-7 on April 28, and that is the closest game Darien had against a fellow Connecticut team this season.
“I just expect a hard-fought game as always,” McGovern said. “They’re going to give us their best shot and we’re going to give them ours. I’m glad we’re back out there.”
“It’s a rivalry game and they played us close last time,” Brameier said. “They have three faceoff guys that are good and we have two that are good, so you just have to win the little battles and get your match-ups. It’s great to be here at this time of the year and great to play in that kind of game.”
FCIAC Boys Lacrosse Semifinals - Darien 17, Wilton 5
Wed., May 23, at Brien McMahon HS
Wilton 0-2-1-2 5
Darien 1-8-4-4 17
Wilton: Dean DiNanno 1g, 1a; Zach Zeyher 1g; Tyler Previte 1g; Brian Calabrese 1g; Ryan McDermott 1g
Darien: Logan McGovern 5g, 2a; Brian Minicus 3g, 4a; Hudson Pokorny 2g; Henri Pfeifle 2g; Blake Sommi 1g; Jackson Peters 1g; Tommy Hellman 1g; Tanner Strub 1g; Matt Gould 1g
W – Andrew Calabrese 7 saves
D – Sean Collins 11 saves