For the first time since 2013, Darien’s boys lacrosse program didn’t finish the season No. 1.
A 9-8 upset by FCIAC rival Ridgefield in last year’s Class L championship game ended Darien’s four-year run as state champions, not to mention a 76-game win streak.
Despite that loss, and despite losing a class of talented players to graduation, voters have once again placed their faith in the Blue Wave heading into the 2019 season.
Darien collected 13 first-place votes, making them the overwhelming favorites to return to the top of the Connecticut boys lacrosse landscape.
MORE 2019 BOYS LACROSSE: 25 PLAYERS TO WATCH | 10 GAMES TO WATCH
Ridgefield, last year’s Class L state champions, received one first-place vote and head into the season ranked No. 2. They’re followed by New Canaan at No. 3 and Wilton at No. 4, giving the FCIAC the four top spots in the 2019 preseason poll.
Overall, six FCIAC teams have spots in the top 10. The others are No. 8 Greenwich and No. 9 Staples.
The first non-FCIAC team is No. 5 Fairfield Prep, out of the SCC. They’re joined by conference rival Hand, which heads into the season ranked No. 10.
New Fairfield, last year’s Class M champion and only unbeaten team, takes its state-best win streak of 22 games into the season as the No. 6-ranked team.
Glastonbury, a surprise semifinalist last season which came within a Ridgefield comeback of reaching the state final, is the lone CCC entry at No. 8.
The 2019 Preseason Boys Lacrosse Top 10 Poll
|TEAM (1st place votes)||2018||PTS||LAST||CLASS|
|1. DARIEN (13)||22-1||139||2||L|
|Last season: Lost to Ridgefield in Class L final.
Bottom Line: They’ve won 76 of their past 77 games, after all. They are the favorites again.
|2. RIDGEFIELD (1)||16-5||121||1||L|
|Last season: Won Class L championship over Darien.
Bottom Line: The Tigers’ brilliant stall game won a championship and allowed them to finish as a non-unanimous No. 1.
|3. NEW CANAAN||15-5||107||4||L|
|Last season: Lost to Darien in Class L semifinals.
Bottom Line: Three losses to Darien, including one in the FCIAC final and one in the Class L semis, by a combined four goals. May be this year’s most talented team.
|Last season: Lost to Darien in Class L quarterfinals.
Bottom Line: Seen by some as a wild card, with some graduates and a new head coach, but there’s a good bit of talent there.
|5. FAIRFIELD PREP||14-7||78||7||L|
|Last season: Lost to New Canaan in Class L quarterfinals.
Bottom Line: Two-time defending SCC champions have a lot of talent returning.
|6. NEW FAIRFIELD||22-0||71||3||M|
|Last season: Won Class M championship over Hand.
Bottom Line: Class M and SWC champs have a mess of college-bound talent coming back and a chance to do it again.
|Last season: Lost to Ridgefield in Class L semifinals.
Bottom Line: They had a nice run to the Class L semis in what was supposed to be their rebuilding year: What can the Tomahawks do for an encore?
|Last season: Lost to Glastonbury in Class L first round.
Bottom Line: Lots of people think they’re a team to be reckoned with, and lots seem to think they’re a cut well below that.
|Last season: Lost to Fairfield Prep in Class L first round.
Bottom Line: Another wild card in the FCIAC, another team with a new coach, another team that might have a chance to surprise some people.
|Last season: Lost to New Fairfield in Class M final.
Bottom Line: The Tigers have been to four straight Class M championships, waiting for their first title.
| Dropped out: Newtown (9).
First-place votes in parentheses and points tabulated on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis.
|Others receiving votes (2018 records in parenthesis): Newtown (16-5) 12, Cheshire (12-9) 7, Hall (13-4) 5, Somers (18-3) 4, Simsbury (8-10) 3, Guilford (12-8) 2, Ellington (11-8) 1, Trumbull (12-6) 1, Weston (15-5) 1.|
|The following voted: Brian Adkins, Foran coach and Connecticut secondary schools assistant liaison to U.S. Lacrosse; George Baldassare, CHSLCA Executive Secretary Emeritus; Frank Barron, Emeritus U.S. Lacrosse Area Rep; Jeff Brameier, Darien coach; Scott Bulkley, Newtown coach; Chris Dehnel, Patch.com; Michael Fornabaio, Connecticut Post; Ned Griffen, The Day; Scott Hinchey, Glastonbury coach; Greg Lederer, Cheshire Herald; John Mathews, Greens Farms Academy coach; Dan Nowak, New Haven Register; Rich Pulisciano, Cheshire coach; Bob Russell, Intercollegiate Men’s Lacrosse Coaches Association Special Counsel and Hand assistant coach.|