In a preseason clash of two FCIAC powerhouses Saturday, Staples patiently controlled tempo and awaited scoring opportunities against host Darien. Then, surging in the second half, the Wreckers dismantled the Blue Wave's attack and rolled over Darien 8-6.
Staples, which finished as the runner-up in the 2013 Class L state tournament, showed that once again it should stand as a force to be reckoned within Connecticut boys high school lacrosse.Yet, while the Wreckers did manage to outshoot the Wave 28-14 and win ground balls throughout the game, the scrimmage's first half belonged to Darien. The Blue Wave's Kyle Cornell, Peter Lindley, and John Reed all found the back of the net to give the Wave a 3-0 lead at intermission.
Lindley netted his second goal of the game early in the third quarter, but soon afterwards the tide turned, as both defenses looked to be in mid-season form. Next, four minutes into the same frame, Staples' Isaac Paparo struck gold for his team and permanently changed the complexion of the game.
"Once Isaac (Paparo) put that one in the net, we knew we could bounce back," said Staples co-captain Jack Greenwald. "We need to fix the little things and improve going forward, but we are lucky to scrimmage Darien. They are probably one of the best teams we will play all year."
Both teams deployed mostly second-string players at the end of the exhibition, but that didn't slow down Staples. The Wreckers put away five goals in the fourth quarter to put the game on ice. Reale, Connor Chamberlin, Ted Coogan, and Connor Adrian all registered goals for the visitors, as did Peter Burger.
"You're never as good as you think you are. You're never as bad as you think you are," said Darien coach Jeff Brameier. "We were in control early, and we let them sneak back into it with some penalties. Staples did a good job of possessing the ball and not forcing it."
The Blue Wave was whistled for six penalties compared to two for Staples. Additionally, the Wreckers recovered 28 ground balls compared to 14 for the Wave.
"We're still pretty soft on ground balls, and we still have a couple things to work on," Cornell said. "We've been playing pretty well throughout the preseason so this is just a little shake-up."
Brameier echoed his captain's sentiment.
"It's preseason so we are trying to gain some momentum, but we are also trying to play kids. So do you want to win a scrimmage or do you want to get the kids in the game that you want to see? I think we'll be in the hunt, we just need to be a little more effective with ground balls, and when we get the ball on offense we need to do more with it."
Darien 2 1--2 1 6
Staples 0 0--3 5 8