DARIEN -- After experiencing an unsatisfactory season last year, the Darien High School boys lacrosse team entered its 2014 campaign more motivated than ever to re-establish itself as one of the best squads in the state.
So far, so good for the Blue Wave, as they have yet to lose 12 games into the season -- and they've knocked off some pretty powerful teams along the way.
In a seven-day span, Darien has defeated New Canaan, Yorktown (N.Y.) and rival Greenwich, which witnessed the Blue Wave's impressive execution on Saturday.
Senior attack John Reed and sophomore attackman Colin Minicus each recorded hat tricks for Darien, which remained undefeated with a convincing 10-4 win over visiting Greenwich in a key late-season FCIAC matchup.
With the victory, the Blue Wave (12-0, 9-0 FCIAC) are alone atop the conference standings. Blue Wave veteran coach Jeff Brameier said what transpired in 2013 (a 12-8 record) was a source of inspiration.
"Our program has a lot of tradition and pride, so we were motivated by what happened last season," Brameier said. "That was unacceptable and out of character. We hadn't had a record like that since the early 1990s, so we are happy to be back on track this season. But we still have a lot of work to do."
Senior goalie Phil Huffard made 12 saves for Darien, which received two goals and one assist from senior attack Peter Lindley and one goal and one assist from senior midfielder Harry Gillespie.
"Every time Darien plays Greenwich it's a big game, so it's great to come out with a win," Huffard said. "We knew coming into the season with all their senior talent they were going to be highly-ranked and we were kind of the underdog. If we came out with a lot of energy and focused on what we were doing we could get the job done. We definitely wanted to come out here today and make a statement."
Greenwich (11-2), which trailed just 4-3 at halftime, received two goals from senior attack Jamie Paradise.
"Their defense played really well and so did their goalie," said Cardinals coach Scott Bulkley a former assistant of Brameier whose squad entered the game among the top 10 teams in the nation in the Inside Lacrosse/Under Armour's poll. "You have to put good shots on him and we seemed to hit their sticks on the shots going in. I think we got tired in the second half and they played harder in the second half."
Senior midfielder Kyle Foote's goal with 8:11 left in the third quarter brought Greenwich to within 5-4, but Darien outscored the Cards 5-0 the rest of the way. Following a strong run from behind, Minicus put a low shot past GHS junior goalie Tommy Rogan, making it 6-4 at the 6:49 mark of the third quarter.
Minicus tallied again, this time off Hudson Hamill's feed from behind the net, giving the home team a 7-4 third-quarter edge. With Darien in a man-up situation, sophomore Jack Kniffin converted a perimeter shot, putting the Blue Wave on top, 8-4 heading into the final quarter.
"It wasn't our best day," Foote said. "They had a great game plan and executed it better than we did. "Their goalie made some big saves late in the game that stopped us from coming back."
The Blue Wave, who got fourth-quarter goals from Reed and Minicus, were paced defensively by sophomore Mark Evanchick and longpole midfielders Brad McCarthy and Daniel Traver. Read Full Article
"When you hold a team like Greenwich with all of those offensive weapons, to four goals you're doing a good job," Brameier said. "We were trying to take away Kyle (Foote) and Decker (Curran) because they have been giving people fits. Traver defended Kyle most of the day and McCarthy was on Decker most of the game and they did a great job."
Goals from Reed and Lindley gave Darien a 2-0 lead midway through the opening quarter. Paradise scored twice and Bobby Goggin tallied in the first half for the Cardinals, who entered the game winners of five straight. Gillespie's goal off a dodge with 3:12 to go in the second quarter gave Darien the lead for good at 4-3.
"For sure, we didn't play our best game today, but a lot of credit deserves to go to a very good Darien team," GHS senior defender Jack Harrington said. "They didn't see our best game defensively, we came out a little flat and didn't communicate."
Said Reed: "Greenwich is a great team, but we got the best of them today. Hopefully, we could keep it rolling. I think we were a little bit underrated coming into the season, but this year we're playing really well."
DARIEN 10, GREENWICH 4
GREENWICH 1 2 1 0 -- 4
DARIEN 2 3 3 2 -- 10
Records: Darien 12-0; Greenwich 11-2.
Scoring: G -- Jamie Paradise (2 g); Bobby Goggin (1 g); Kyle Foote (1 g); Decker Curran (2 a); D -- John Reed (3 g); Colin Minicus (3 g); Peter Lindley (2 g, 1 a); Jack Kniffin (1 g); Harry Gillespie (1 g, 1 a); Owen Koorbusch (1 a); Kyle Cornell (1 a); Hudson Hamill (1 a). Goalies: G -- Tommy Rogan (7 saves).