NORWALK — Darien — surprise, surprise — is once again on top of the FCIAC boys lacrosse world.
Jack Kniffin scored a first-half hat trick while Mark Evanchick and Darien’s defense held Ridgefield scoreless in the fourth quarter as the Blue Wave won their second-consecutive FCIAC Championship and 14th overall with a 9-5 victory at McMahon High School.
It helped that Darien’s Andrew Pugliese was dominant on faceoffs all evening. The senior won 14 of 18 faceoffs and was named the game’s MVP.
“We played great defense. It was just a great defensive game,” Darien coach Jeff Brameier told The Ruden Report. “We did just enough on the scoring side.”
Kniffin, who recently came back from a knee injury suffered in the first week of the season, scored all three of his goals in the first half to help the Blue Wave erase an early, 2-0 deficit, and take a 6-4 lead at halftime.
“I was just happy I could be out here,” Kniffin said. “I think my teammates put me in a great position to score today. It means a lot.
Ridgefield pulled to within one on a goal by Ryan Dunn late in the third quarter, but Christian Trifone and Colin Minicus scored back-to-back goals in the final 12 seconds of the third quarter to put the Blue Wave ahead 8-5.
From there, it was all defense. The Blue Wave didn’t allow a goal the rest of the game. Evanchick, an all-state junior defenseman, held Ridgefield’s Simon Mathias scoreless. Hudson Hamill tacked on an insurance goal in the fourth quarter and Darien ran out the clock.
Dunn and teammate Schuyler Blair scored two goals apiece to lead Ridgefield. Hamill finished with two goals for Darien.
Ridgefield 2-2-1-0 — 5
Darien 1-5-2-1 — 9
Goals: R– Ryan Dunn 2, Schuyler Blair 2, Kevin Lindley. D–Jack Kniffin 3, Hudson Hamill 2, Kevin Lindley, Ian Burgoyne, Christian Trifone, Colin Minicus.
Assists: R–Dunn, Harrison Levesque; D–Kniffin, Burgoyne.
Saves: R–Brendan Winne 13 saves; D–Ryan Cornell 8.