Mean in ’17: Lindley scores, Cornell saves as new crew gets its due
A fantastic fleet of seniors set sail from Wave waters with the Class of 2016, but the league and state champs remain shipshape.
“We’re pretty consistent,” said Wave coach Jeff Brameier. “When key players graduate, that doesn’t mean we’re going to drop off the charts. There’s a lot of kids like that in our program.”
Like always, we’re not lacking in bodies. Let’s put it that way.
— Jeff Brameier
Opportunity knocks for the knockout, nationally top-tier ranked program.
“This year we should be strong at all positions as we return valuable seniors, but look to many other great athletes who didn't get time last year, because of the past seniors, who will have their shot,” said senior captain Riley Stewart. “We should be strong on both sides of the ball.”
Darien loses its great eight from last year, Colin Minicus, Hudson Hamill, Jack Kniffin, Christian Trifone, Mark Evanchick among them, so the new blood, is indeed the theme this season, as emphasized by Brameier.
“There are guys who have been waiting in the lurch who are outstanding players and we just couldn’t find a spot for them on the field,” Brameier said.
Now they get their chance.
But some surefire old hands will be manning the decks for the cruise towards making it back to the county and state ships.
All-American three-year starter in goal Ryan Cornell; three-year midfield starters Stewart and Finlay Collins; defensive returner standout Jake Bieler; defender, highly touted senior private school transfer Arden Cohen; and a marquee premiere scorer in three-year starter, senior Kevin Lindley, make up the power-core of Wave 2017.
“I’d say that is a good base to start from,” said Brameier. “And we just have to add from there. Because we had such a successful season a lot of kids gained with being around that and competing with that (in 2016).”
The Wave went 24-0 last season.
“We are very excited coming into this season with yet another great win streak at hand,” said captain Cornell. “The intensity so far has been some of the best I've seen so early in the season. We are constantly pushing each other day in and day out.”
“I think overall our whole team is very excited for the season and we have a solid group coming back with experience at every position,” captain Collins said. “There have also been some new guys filling in nicely. Seniors like Arden Cohen, a transfer from the Gunnery School committed to Notre Dame, James Solberg, Nick Percarpio, Matt Meyjes, Ryan Quinn, Quinn Fay, and Charlie Christensen.
“There is also a really talented group of juniors headed by Matt Gould, Andrew Darby, Jack Joyce, Brian Minicus, Blake Sommi and Logan McGovern.”
McGovern played back-up attack last season. This season he moves up.
There are six or seven guys that I am comfortable with in front of me which is a huge plus.
— Ryan Cornell
“He saw time on our extra-man unit,” said Brameier. “He’ll step in to fill some big shoes of Jack Kniffin and Colin Minicus.”
Meyjes joins the top line attack.
“He’s a senior who biding his time has played middie most of the time,” Brameier said. “The first few sessions of the season, he’s doing very well.”
Darien fills in with size up front with senior Ryan Quinn, who is 6-4, senior lefty shooter Peter Hartigan 6-3.
Underclassmen in the mix include Ethan Dewbrey.
“He is very solid and on many other teams in the state he would be a starter,” Brameier said. “But for us right now, he is competing for that third spot. And he is doing some nice things.”
Hudson Pokorny slots in as sophomore attackman, with “nothing set in stone yet,” Brameier says, adding, "we are comfortable with that group.”
“I think a strength of this year's team is our depth,” said Collins. “With so many skilled players at almost every position on the field, we should be able to play at a fast pace knowing that we will always have subs in case anyone gets tired.”
Junior Minicus will deliver at midfield.
“He gives us a balance and is capable of playing attack as well,” Brameier said. “I think we’re going to keep him in midfield, for at least this year.”
Junior Jack Joyce, junior Blake Sommi, who missed half of last season, injured, senior Solberg who came in well prepared, are all in the middie stable.
Junior Tanner Strub and senior Jack Beatty are back taking face-offs, and can go on offense and defense.
Senior Morgan Kennedy has worked himself into consideration for playing time and sophomores Henri Pfeifle, Tommy Hellman help shore up the middie position.
“That’s a lot to choose from,” Brameier said.
I think both offensively and defensively we have great chemistry.
— Finlay Collins
Defensive middies boast Nick Green who backed up Christian Trifone last season with some valuable time as sophomore, and seniors Christensen and Matty Hathaway.
“Those are kids who are vying for time at short-stick D-middie,” Brameier said.
The state's top goalie in Cornell is backed up by two juniors, Sean Collins and Will Culliton.
“Defensively I think we are very deep this year,” said Cornell. “There are six or seven guys that I am comfortable with in front of me which is a huge plus.”
“I think both offensively and defensively we have great chemistry, this should help alleviate some of the growing pains that come early in the season,” Collins added. “We are progressing well and can't wait for our first game against Yorktown.”
“This defensive group is a very close-knit group with a couple great goals — 3.8 the average amount of goals we want to give up this year in order to become the best defense in the history of Darien — and ending the season perfect,” said Cornell. “We are constantly put to the test every day by the offense.”
Long pole is Bieler, and the plus of Cohen, will help to ease the losses of the great eight’s Rock Stewart and Evanchick on defense.
“I think he fills a void there very quickly,” said Brameier.
QB-killer Quinn Fay, in his fall persona, helps out with his physical abilities on defense this spring.
“He could have started last season, but we had some seniors ahead of him,” Brameier said. “He is a great athlete. We expect him picking up the slack of the seniors we lost.”
Junior defensemen Darby and Gould, sophomore Tyler Strub join the defensive corps.
Percarpio is looking to take hold of long-stick middie.
“He’s had a great year since last spring and has really improved,” Brameier said. “We have Arden, and Nick who can play there, and we have a very good junior, Charlie Olson.
“So, like always, we’re not lacking in bodies. Let’s put it that way.”
“There are kids who have been developing in the program these past couple of years and will get a chance to step up,” said Collins. “We are excited to see what they can do.”
4/1Yorktown, N.Y. Home 2:00 p.m.
4/4 Brien McMahon Home 4:00 p.m.
4/8 Niskayuna, N.Y. at Union College 6:30 p.m.
4/11 Fairfield Ludlowe Away 7:00 p.m.
4/15 Manhassett, N.Y. Away 1:00 p.m.
4/18 Fairfield Warde Away 7:00 p.m.
4/22 Wilton Away 7:00 p.m.
4/25 St. Joseph Home 4:00 p.m.
4/29 New Canaan Away 4:30 p.m.
5/2 Staples Away 5:30 p.m.
5/4 St. Anthonys 7:00 p.m.
5/6 Ridgefield Home 2:30 p.m.
5/9 Norwalk Home 4:00 p.m.
5/11 Trinity Catholic Away 4:00 p.m.
5/13 Greenwich Away 3:00 p.m.
5/16 Stamford Home 5:30 p.m.