No. 1 Darien routs Wilton to claim coach Jeff Brameier’s 600th career victory
Jeff Brameier has had a multitude of memorable victories as the head coach of the Darien boys lacrosse team.
So how was he going to celebrate hitting the 600-win milestone Thursday night in Wilton?
“Go home and take a nap,” Brameier said with a smile.
It’ll certainly be a well-earned rest.
The Blue Wave delivered a masterpiece performance as they rolled out to an eight-goal lead in the first half and dismantled the Wilton Warriors, 18-6, at Fujitani Field.
The score was tied 2-2 midway through the first quarter when Darien went on a run of nine unanswered goals to make it a rout. The game even moved to running time late in the fourth quarter with the Wave up by 12.
At that point, it was all over but the celebrating, as the Darien players donned t-shirts commemorating Coach B’s 600th career victory.
Brameier, who has coached the Wave since 1984, has a record of 600-134 for a winning percentage of .817. He became Connecticut's all-time winningest boys lacrosse coach in 2017 when he passed New Canaan's Howard Benedict, who had 551 victories.
“It’s been a great run,” Brameier said. “The program started from nothing in 1984 and there’s been a lot of people who’ve contributed, athletes and the town’s youth program, which got us to where we are. This is certainly an award for the program more than it is just me.”
“It means a lot,” said Darien senior co-captain Hudson Pokorny. “We’re so fortunate to be in a town like this with such a great coach. He started the program from nothing to where it is today — a lot of FCIACs and State championships. It’s awesome to be a part of.”
Darien (6-1), the No. 1 team in the GameTimeCT poll was battling back from its first loss of the season, 10-5 to Manhasset on Saturday, and dominating the Warriors put the Wave back on track. They did it wearing the same black uniforms they wore in that road loss.
“The last time we wore the black uniforms, we lost to Manhasset,” Pokorny said. “So we wanted to get back in our groove and make a statement win.”
Pokorny had the hot hand for Darien, racking up six goals and two assists. After Wilton had scored two straight to tie it at 2-2 in the first period, Pokorny answered with a goal just 10 seconds later, igniting a 9-0 run.
The long pole Sam Cragin then went top shelf in transition, and when Colin Ruppenstein scored off a feed from Pokorny, the Wave had a 5-2 lead and was off to the races.
“It was just to trust our shooting,” Pokorny said. “We were kind of off with our shooting against Manhasset so we wanted to make sure that we stuck our shots and we were able to do that.”
Darien also had two goals apiece from Jackson Peters, Holt Matheis, Michael Minicus and Matthew Minicus.
For Wilton (1-7), which was led by Dean DiNanno’s two goals, the loss was the seventh straight, many against top-notch programs.
“We just went through a stretch of games that I’ve never seen before in the 11 years I’ve been coaching at the high school,” Wilton head coach Steve Pearsall said. “It was a tough stretch and we’ve got some guys banged up. So we need to heal and we need to come back and fight. And take them one game at a time.”
Brameier gave a lot of the credit for Darien’s success to the depth of the program, both at the high school and in the youth leagues.
“They’re a lot of kids who are sitting behind good players and they’re just waiting for their turn,” Brameier said. “This is a group that was doing that and they’re doing fine. We’re 6-1 and there’s a lot of games to be played.”
And while the coach rests, the players will get a weekend break as well.
“It’s great — the kids will get Saturday and Sunday off for the first time in a long in a while,” Brameier said. “We’ll practice light tomorrow and next week we have a big run of four games, so it’ll be a long week.”
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Hudson Pokorny, Darien. Pokorny racked up six goals, including five during a run of nine unanswered goals when the Blue Wave took control. He also helped design the Coach B 600th win T-shirts which the team wore after the milestone victory.
“Every year it’s a new group of kids, it’s not the same, we get some returners, but we just try to move the puzzle around, find the pieces and put them all together and make sure they’re competitive when we get to tournament time. We have a great feeder system and there’s always a good class coming in.” — Darien head coach Jeff Brameier
DARIEN 18, WILTON 6
Darien 5 5 2 6 - 18
WILTON 2 0 2 2 - 6
Darien: Hudson Pokorny 6g, 2a; Holt Matheis 2g, 1a; Matthew Minicus 2g, 1a; Jackson Peters 2g, 1a; Michael Minicus 2g, 1a; Henri Pfeifle 1a; Colin Ruppenstein 1g, 1a; Sam Cragin 1g; Jack Bogdan 1g; Charlie Walsh 1g; Bruce Ferguson 1a; Tommy Hellman 1a; Ryan Darby 1a
Wilton: Dean DiNanno 2g; Andrew Luciano 1g; Liam Sullivan 1g; Zach Rossi 1g; Will Hughes 1g; Liam McGovern 1a
Goalies: D - Andy Demopoulos 9 saves, Spencer Smith 3 saves; W - Andrew Calabrese 13 saves, Jake Zeyher 2 saves
Records: Darien (6-1 overall, 4-0 FCIAC); Wilton (1-7, 1-2)