No. 1 Darien blitzes Wilton in first half to reclaim Class L championship, 5th title in six years
NORWALK — The more the Wilton Warriors wanted to prove their biggest win wasn’t a fluke, the more the team they’d beaten noticed.
A motivated Darien boys lacrosse team is a frightening thing. The Blue Wave proved it from the start Saturday at Jack Casagrande Field, beating Wilton 13-3 in the Class L final to win their 14th CIAC title since 1997.
Wilton wound up dealing Darien (17-5) its only loss to a CIAC team this season, a 4-3 game on May 21 in the FCIAC semifinals. The top-ranked, fifth-seeded Blue Wave got their revenge on the same field on the biggest stage.
“It was tough sitting at home on Thursday (for the FCIAC final) for the first time in my career. I’ve been there every other year,” Darien senior attackman Hudson Pokorny said.
“Them running all the way through the other side of the bracket saying they were trying to prove it wasn’t a fluke made it a little more personal.”
Pokorny set up Michael Minicus 43 seconds into the game. The Blue Wave led 4-0 after one quarter and 8-0 late in the second.
“There was a bit of nerves that, like, ‘Wilton won,’ but this is what we wanted. We wanted a rematch. They were saying the Darien game wasn’t a fluke,” Blue Wave junior defender Sam Cragin said.
“We’d seen the Instagram posts. Every win, they’d throw their helmet off, throw their (stuff) over there. We were like, no, that’s not how we roll. We wanted to show them what really winning a title looks like. We set out and did that, which was awesome.”
It was 9-2 at halftime, 13-2 after three.
“When this (Darien) team gets on a roll, they’re very difficult,” Darien coach Jeff Brameier said.
“The team speed and the depth: We used a lot of bodies. It was a hot day (in the 80s and sunny). I think we wore them down.”
In that FCIAC semifinal, the Warriors stifled Darien’s offense and slowed the Blue Wave in transition. Some adjustments turned that around Saturday.
“We got a little out of sorts on defense,” Wilton coach Steve Pearsall said. “Offensively, they were hamstringing us. We were having trouble finding the open guy and possessing the ball, which was obviously the plan, to slow it down.
“They’re a great transition team. That’s how they jump on teams. We didn’t do a good job slowing them down.”
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Sam Wilson, my, goodness, unassisted. 5-0 Blue Wave. Rut roh Wilton... #ctlax pic.twitter.com/wiq1vGEzFj
— Sean Patrick Bowley (@SPBowley) June 8, 2019
Hudson Pokorny made big plays and led Darien with three goals and two assists, but there were no shortage of candidates.
“Sam Wilson, stepping up, playing short-stick (defensive) middie) for our injured captain, Bruce Ferguson,” Brameier said. “He played a phenomenal game. He played a phenomenal game against Staples (in the semifinals).”
A brilliant goal of Wilson’s made it 5-0: Knocked down in front of the net, he shot and scored as he was about to hit the ground.
Ferguson was on crutches, both feet taped up: He said he’d needed 65 stitches when a glass stool he’d been standing on gave way. He’d been wearing the gold medals he won for Darien’s championships in his freshman and sophomore years.
The Wave have played in a CIAC title game six years in a row and won five of them, falling to Ridgefield last year after winning 76 games in a row.
Oh my ... Watch *This*
Sam Craigin launches a 3/4 field shot for a 9-2 Darien lead at halftime in the Class L chanpionship game v Wilton. Insanity #ctlax pic.twitter.com/CQbZLfNWfh
— Sean Patrick Bowley (@SPBowley) June 8, 2019
Wilton had cut the lead to 8-2 late in the first half. Warriors goalie Andrew Calabrese heaved a clear in the final seconds. Cragin picked it off and knew time was about to run out. He heaved it back. He scored.
“You like to huck it back, because it’s a fun thing to do,” Cragin said. “I didn’t realize the goal was open, and it kind of curved in.”
BUT NOT YOUR GOALIE?
The Blue Wave got at least one point from 10 players. They got seven goals from their attack, one from a top-line midfielder, two from other offensive middies, one from a defensive midfielder, one from a close defender and one from their faceoff man.
(Darien goalie Andy Demopoulos made seven saves.)
“I can’t say enough about this group of kids. I’m so proud of the way they battled. ... At 1-7, the kids did not really waver. That’s when I knew I had something special with this group.” —Wilton coach Steve Pearsall, whose 19th-seeded Warriors became the lowest seed ever to make a CIAC final
DARIEN 13, WILTON 3
WILTON 0 3 0 1— 3
DARIEN 4 5 4 0—13
Records: Wilton 14-10; Darien 17-5. Scoring: W—Andrew Luciano 2 goals, Niko Kouvaris 1g, Reilly Sullivan 1 assist, Dean DiNanno 1a; D—Hudson Pokorny 3g, 2a, Michael Minicus 2g, 1a, Henri Pfeifle 2g, Holt Matheis 1g, 1a, Colin Ruppenstein 1g, Sam Wilson 1g, Cooper Hancock 1g, Sam Cragin 1g, Matt Freeman 1g, Tommy Hellman 1a. Goalies: W—Andrew Calabrese (13 saves), Brandon Jonsson (0); D—Andy Demopoulos (7), Spencer Smith (1). Shots: W—23; D—38.