It’s extremely tough to just pick out the top five boys lacrosse players in the state with so many elite players statewide. With due respect to all the top players in northern Connecticut, here are some of my choices for players to keep an eye on during the CIAC state tournaments.
• Mark Evanchick, Darien: This list has to start with arguably the best boys lacrosse player in the state. The 2015 All-American defender is exceptional at his position and was selected the Connecticut High School Lacrosse Coaches Association and MSG Varsity Player of the Year last season. He scored the game-winning goal in Darien’s 6-5 win over Ridgefield in the 2015 CIAC Class L final and was named the 2015 Gatorade Football Player of the Year. We can expect similar accolades this season. He will play lacrosse at Pennsylvania.
• Nick Franchuk, Fairfield Prep: Another top defender, Franchuk has been one of the top players in the Southern Connecticut Conference this season. He is one reason the Jesuits have limited opponents to seven goals or less in 13 of 17 games this season. A standout running back on the football team, he has committed to play lacrosse at the U.S. Naval Academy.
• Jack Kniffin, Darien: One of many prolific scorers for the Blue Wave, the attackman showcased his knack for the net in a recent 13-12 overtime come-back win over FCIAC rival Greenwich. He scored five goals, including the game-tying goal and game-winning goal. He has committed to play lacrosse at Brown.
• Drew Morris, New Canaan: Like the Blue Wave, the Rams are one of the most exceptional teams in the state. While they excel at both ends of the field, defense is a strength and one reason why is elite goalie Morris. Communication, experience, excellent field vision and directing the defense in front of him are his strengths. His quickness usually has him in position to make a save. The Rams were tested by Wilton in the FCIAC quarterfinals and Morris had 12 saves in a 7-6 win. He has committed to play at Maryland.
• Kyle Smith, New Canaan: The Rams strength on defense gets a boost from an extremely strong group of midfielders. Defense, ball possession and a strong transition is why defending CIAC Class M champ New Canaan is favored to win another title. Smith’s quickness allows him to excel in transition. He is a scorer, but his field vision allows him to quickly spot an open player. He has committed to play at the University of Denver.