SOUTH HUNTINGTON, N.Y. — Jake Bonomi scored five goals and Andrew McAdorey scored the unassisted winner off a rebound with 3:43 remaining to deliver St. Anthony’s (N.Y.) an eventual 11-9 victory over Darien in the fourth game of the Geico High School Lacrosse Showcase at Cy Donnelly Field Sunday morning.
The win completed a sweep of Connecticut competition for St. Anthony’s, the No. 5-ranked team in the Under Armour/Inside Lacrosse Top 25.
The Friars defeated New Fairfield and New Canaan earlier this month, by 10 and eight goals, respectively.
Darien, the No. 1-ranked team in the GameTimeCT Top 10 poll and ranked 21st in the UA/IL poll, didn’t go down as quietly.
The Blue Wave, after all, came in having won three straight over St. Anthony’s, including an 11-10 thriller last year.
“We play Darien for a reason,” St. Anthony’s 20-year veteran coach Keith Wieczorek said. “I think (Darien coach) Jeff (Brameier) runs one of the best programs in the country, year-in and year-out and they’ve had our number here for awhile. I think they’re the only Connecticut team that’s had our number. We knew what we were going to get today out of them.”
Led by four goals and an assist by junior attackman Michael Minicus, Darien took an early two-goal lead and fought back after St. Anthony’s reclaimed it with a four-goal run in the second quarter. After a see-saw third, Darien grabbed a 9-8 lead, its first since early in the second quarter, on Minicus’ unassisted goal with 8:24 remaining.
But Bonomi scored to tie the game with 7:08 left. After McAdorey’s go-ahead score, Bonomi added an insurance goal with 2:57 remaining.
Despite the loss, Darien’s second in its two Classic games and the first time Darien has lost back-to-back games since the 2015 season, it was a coming out party for Darien’s first-year starting goaltender Andy Demopolous.
The sophomore thrilled the crowd and the ESPN broadcasters with a series of clutch saves, often at point-blank range. He finished with 13 saves, virtually standing on his head, while Darien faced an onslaught of 40 shots.
“I think we hit him in the head a couple of times, too,” Wieczorek said. “Yea, he played exceptional and I wasn’t quite expecting him to be as outstanding as he was. He got in our heads a little bit when we were in close.
“I think if we finished early, it might have been bit of a different game. But they were able to get their legs underneath them and were able to compete all the way through.”
Darien’s defense chipped in by forcing 12 turnovers.
“It was a tough loss yesterday,” Demopolous said, referring to Darien’s 12-11 overtime loss to Seton Hall Prep (N.J.) in its first game of the Classic on Saturday. “So we came out aggressive on defense and offense, just couldn’t pull through in the end.”
Perhaps his best moment was with the game tied 9-9 and under six minutes remaining. Demopoulous stopped two point-blank shots as St. Anthony’s tried to score quickly on a fast break. First he quashed at shot by Brennan O’Neill, the junior All-American attackman committed to Duke, on a feed to his left side. He quickly recovered to stop a snipe from Philip Polo’s rocket on the rebound.
“I was determined, but I’ve got to give credit to my defense. They really played well,” Demopolous said. “(Sam) Cragin nearly locked off O’Neill, it was good for him, and (Tyler) Strub and (Pierce) Hoyda and all my short sticks played well.”
Ultimately, Darien’s downfall was faceoffs. The Blue Wave only won four of 24 against St. Anthony’s fogo Jake Naso, a junior committed to Virginia. The Friars also won 34 groundballs to Darien’s 24. The game was tied six times and saw seven lead changes.
“We’ve still got some improving to do,” Darien coach Jeff Brameier said. “Past the halfway mark of the season, I’d like to be making fewer mistakes. But, for certain, we played tough against some of the top teams in the country.
“There’s no moral victories playing St. Anthony’s and Seton Hall Prep. We play these games to get better and, hopefully, by June, we’re playing our best lacrosse.”
Henri Pfeifle finished with two goals and an assist while Colin Ruppenstein added two goals for the Blue Wave. McAdorey finished with three goals and Aidan D’Anenza had a goal and two assists.
The Blue Wave return to Connecticut this week to face Trumbull and Greenwich.