No. 1 Darien leads early, prevents another No. 6 Wilton comeback

DARIEN — Top-ranked Darien jumped out early, but this was not the week to count out Wilton in boys lacrosse.

No. 6 Wilton didn’t have another huge comeback Saturday, but it at least kept the No. 1 Blue Wave in sight in Darien’s 15-11 home FCIAC boys lacrosse win.

“They’re a talented team. They’ve had some big wins recently,” said Darien coach Jeff Brameier, whose team is 9-1, 8-0 in the league. “They’re playing well.”

The Warriors (6-4, 4-3) beat No. 3 Staples 13-10 a week ago. They trailed Fairfield Ludlowe by five midway through the third quarter on Thursday night but came back to win by one.

On Saturday, Darien led 6-2, but Wilton pushed back. The Blue Wave scored three goals in the first minute and a half of the second half; Wilton came back with three in the next two minutes.

“I thought we played hard,” Wilton coach Steve Pearsall said. “It’s the same thing: Darien kills you in transition, in unsettled situations. We’ve got to clean those things up, clean up our passing, our clearing.

“We were getting our opportunities. They have a great goalie. He made some good saves, but we were getting our looks on offense.”

Andy Demopoulos stopped 15 shots for Darien. But Colin Lenskold stopped 17 for Wilton.

Pearsall said the Warriors knew what they had in Lenskold, and they thought Spencer Liston would be solid at the faceoff X, but the sophomore faceoff guy is exceeding even those expectations.

Pearsall said Liston has held his own “and then some” against some of the FCIAC’s highly regarded FOGOs, and he held his own Saturday against Tighe Cummiskey, Darien’s fullback on faceoffs.

“He’s a really big kid, obviously a little stronger than me, but I think I adapted to him,” said Liston, who likes this season’s new faceoff rules that turn the draw into a bit more of a ground-ball feel.

EXPLOSIVE OFFENSE

Matt Minicus led the Blue Wave offense with five goals and three assists. Holt Matheis, back healthy, scored three goals and assisted on two more.

“(Having him back) helps our balance,” Brameier said. “It helps our matchups. They’re going to put their top kid on Minicus, then Holt’s going to have their (No.) 2 or 3, or vice-versa.”

The other attackman, Matt Stein, scored the first two goals of the second half. And freshman Brady Pokorny, who’d filled in for Matheis, scored two goals and two assists.

COMEBACK

The loss ended a four-game winning streak for Wilton, which needed a huge comeback to get that far: Ludlowe led the Warriors 8-3 in the third quarter on Thursday. Wilton then got eight goals from seven different players in the last 18:15 to win 11-10.

“We only had a quarter and a half of real good play,” Pearsall said.

“We finally kind of got it going, got our mojo going, and we were lucky enough to come back on them. They played a nice game, Ludlowe. We weren’t playing well, a little flat in the first half, but credit to Ludlowe. They played a good game.”

QUOTABLE

“I think we have the skills and the IQ. We just need to ramp up our intensity, really, just go hard for 48 minutes. That’s what we need to do.” —Wilton coach Steve Pearsall

DARIEN 15, WILTON 11

WILTON2 2 4 3—11

DARIEN3 4 6 2—15

Records: Wilton 6-4, 4-3 FCIAC; Darien 9-1, 8-0. Scoring: W—Ben Calabrese 3 goals; Will Hughes 3 assists; Jackson Kelly 2g; Grant Masterson 2g; Jack Rosen 1g, 1a; Josh White 1g, 1a; Caleb Rath 1g; Charlie Rath 1g; Peter Groves 1a; Jimmy McKiernan 1a; D—Matthew Minicus 5g, 3a; Holt Matheis 3g, 2a; Brady Pokorny 2g, 2a; Jamison Moore 1g, 2a; Matt Stein 2g; Connor O’Malley 1g; Joe Cesare 1g; Christian Alliegro 1a; Finn Pokorny 1a. Goalies: W—Colin Lenskold (17 saves); D—Andy Demopoulos (15).