Darien was about as low as the state’s most dominant boys lacrosse program could be just a few weeks ago.
That took us to Tuesday’s FCIAC boys lacrosse semifinals and Darien, despite an overwhelming victory in the quarterfinals, were unofficially looking like the league’s third-best team.
But tournament time always seems to bring out the wacky. The best suddenly stop being the best while the overlooked or — in Darien’s case — shellshocked seem to break free from whatever malaise they’d been afflicted during the regular season.
Or maybe it’s just you can’t keep a good program down for long.
Regardless, Darien didn’t waste time in its anticipated — and final — rematch with New Canaan this season. Behind Colin Minicus’ four goals, goaltender Ryan Cornell made 14 saves and the third-seeded Blue Wave built a massive lead and cruised to a 13-7 victory over New Canaan in the FCIAC semifinals at McMahon.
“We were waiting for this kind of performance,” coach Jeff Brameier told The Ruden Report. “I think we’re clicking all cylinders now.”
“We were fired up, especially after the last time when we didn’t come out as hot as we did today,” Minicus said.
The defending-champion Blue Wave, who led New Canaan 13-5 early in the fourth quarter, will play for their 14th league championship.
Then, just to prove you can literally set records ablaze come tourney time, on the other side of the bracket No. 4-seeded Ridgefield hammered suddenly suspect top-seeded and No. 1-ranked Greenwich, 13-6.
Ryan Dunn scored five goals for the Tigers, who have been close but hadn’t found a way to beat one of the big three all season. They lost to both Greenwich and Darien by one goal each. They didn’t play New Canaan.
“It feels good to get this win against (Greenwich), especially for our seniors,” Dunn told the Greenwich Time. “We lost some close games to them the past two years. Tonight we showed how many guys we have that can step up.”
And so Ridgefield, not Greenwich, will attempt to knock Darien off its perch as defending league champions. The Tigers last (and only) FCIAC championship was in 2009 over Darien.
Greenwich v. Ridgefield was boss on both the FCIAC and state stage just a few years ago. But the rivalry, from Ridgefield’s side at least, had lost its luster since then.
“We needed this win to bring this back to a rivalry again,” Ridgefield coach Roy Cosley told The Time. “They have beaten us several times in a row. What I’m most proud with our team is how they didn’t take the foot off the gas and how hard they kept playing until the end.”
Darien 6 3 2 2–13
New Canaan 2 2 1 2–7
Scoring: D–Colin Minicus 5 g, 1 a; Kevin Lindley 1 g; Jack Kniffin 1 g; Hudson Hamill 2 g, 3 a; Jason Book 2 g, 1 a; Finlay Collins 1 g; Timothy Lochtefeld 1 g, 1 a; Ian Burgoyne 1 a; NC–Justin Meichner 2 g; Peter Swindell 1 g; Kyle Smith 1 g; Maxwell Begoon 1 g; Michael Kraus 1 g; Kyle Smith 1 g, 1 a; Clayton Burt 1 a; Goalies: D–Ryan Cornell (14 saves); NC–Drew Morris (10 saves).
Ridgefield 3 4 2 4–13
Greenwich 3 2 1 0–6
Scoring: R–Ryan Dunn 5 g, Peter Dearth 4 g, 1 a, Simon Mathias 2 g, 3 a; Chris Bova 1 g; Ryan Philbin 1 g, 1 a Harrison Levesque 1 a; G–Decker Curran 3 g, 1 a, Will Perry 2 g, 1 a, Scooter Harrington 1 g; Montana Larson 1 a; Goalies: G–Tommy Rogan (9 saves); R–Brendan Winne (11 saves).
FCIAC lacrosse tournament
Quarterfinals at Higher Seeds
- New Canaan 10, Wilton 9
- Darien 17, Staples 6
- Ridgefield 15, Ludlowe 3
- Greenwich 7, St. Joseph 5
Tuesday, May 26
Semifinals at Brien McMahon
- Darien 13, New Canaan 7
- Ridgefield 13, Greenwich 6
Thursday, May 28
- Final at Brien McMahon HS, 7 p.m.