Foran coach Brian Adkins was confident before the season that his team would be successful despite the Lions being a second-year varsity program.
The main reason was the leadership, experience and talent of his 14 seniors.
If the team’s first 10 games are any indication, Adkins’ preseason intuition was right on the money.
The Lions improved to 9-1 after Monday’s 17-4 Southern Connecticut Conference win over Wilbur Cross/Hillhouse/Career.
“I have been happy with the way we have played,” said Adkins, whose team missed qualifying for the Class M state tournament by one win last season. “Our No. 1 goal was to qualify for the state tournament, which we have accomplished. Now we are looking at trying to reach a couple of more additional goals.
“We would like to beat a Tier II team in the SCC. We would also like to try and get a home game in the state tournament. We have some tough games coming up. They are all very good Tier II teams in the SCC.”
Adkins said the strength of his team has been balanced scoring.
“Our attack of Alex Eager, Drew Perani and Jonathan DePascale, along with the first midfield line of Zach White, Will Vitelli, and Paul Mirmina, can all score,” Adkins said. “It’s tough for a defense to focus on just one of those guys when they all can score.
“We have only been held under 10 goals once this year and that was in our loss to Shelton. We’ve also been doing an outstanding job at faceoffs with Zach White and David McLenithan both around 78 percent.”
The Lions’ defense is led by Andrew Jones, Andy Khon, Ben Lavallee, Bob Notholt, Anthony Kopatch and goalie Josh Teller.
“We are hoping that this fast start can carry over to the states,” Adkins said. “We know the competition is going to be tough, but we have 14 seniors that will hopefully lead us.
No. 1 Darien keeps rollin’
By Darien standards, last season ended in frustrating fashion.
The FCIAC powerhouse lost 5-3 to New Canaan in the semifinals of the conference tournament. The Blue Wave then fell 7-6 to Wilton in the Class M quarterfinals to finish at 13-8.
This year’s team was focused on making amends. Mission accomplished so far, as the Blue Wave haven’t lost since that state tournament game against Wilton. Darien improved to 12-0 with a 10-4 win over No. 2 Greenwich on Saturday.
The difference between last season and this season? Leadership, according to Darien coach Jeff Brameier.
“Every year I tell my players that if they play as a team, if they buy into that concept, the wins will take care of themselves,” Brameier said after the Greenwich win. “They have done a good job of that this season. But what has also contributed to the success we’ve had this season is our seniors have set the tone for us with their leadership.
“They’ve done it all season, leading by example. They help our younger players understand the way we do things here and that helps with our team chemistry.”
Brameier is happy with the effort from all of his players. But he said the team still has work to do to accomplish the same postseason goals the Blue Wave have every season; win the FCIAC and capture the Class M state title.