Last season New Canaan became the first team to win back to back FCIAC boys lacrosse titles since Darien three-peated eight years ago.
In the three seasons prior to 2012, three different schools won championships.
The days when Wilton and New Canaan had a stranglehold on the sport, and then Darien was the primary power, now seem like the Stone Age of lacrosse.
The rise of youth programs in all communities has led to an increasing balance, with more haves and a closing chasm with the have-nots.
As for this year, the usual suspects are lined up to form a roadblock and prevent the Rams from their run at joining Wilton and Darien as three-peat card-carrying holders.
Greenwich, the runner up a year ago, seems to be getting the most preseason talk, while Darien, which failed to play in a championship game of any kind, is not lacking for motivation.
Throw Wilton and Ridgefield into the mix and you have a customary view up top.
Greenwich. Cardinals coach Scott Bulkley would prefer the league arrows were pointed elsewhere, especially because he feels this group still has something to prove. But the fact remains Greenwich is loaded all over the field, led by Jack Harrington on defense and midfielder Kyle Foote. It is a long journey from April favorite to June trophy-holder, but the Cardinals are positioned for the feat.
New Canaan. Don’t expect the Rams to go walking quietly into the night. This is the 40th anniversary of the New Canaan program, and coach Chip Buzzeo has a team with the potential to improve upon last year. The starting roster looks like an All-Star team, with Harry Stanton on the attack, Seth Neeleman and Teddy Bossidy at midfield and Frank Cognetta on defense. A good portion of this veteran lineup is coming off winning a state title in football and would like to add to the collection.
Darien. Coach Jeff Brameier talks about “the pile,” the celebration that ensues following a championship win. The Blue Wave are coming off the rare pile-less year and are poised to change that. Peter Lindley is a dangerous scorer and Phil Huffard is among the state’s top goaltenders. John Reed is another threat around the goal, while the defense will again be stingy.
Wilton. The Warriors opened last season 1-4 — all the losses coming against top teams — and were 8-9 before making a run that culminated in a state championship. Brendan Devane is back at midfield, while a familiar local name in the sport, Ryan Brameier, the son of the Darien coach, will be an offensive spark. Coach John Wiseman has Jameson Hill and Josh Worley for a 1-2 goaltending punch that will be the envy of opposing coaches.
Ridgefield. Maryland-bound midfielder Will Bonaparte will attempt to help lead the Tigers to their third FCIAC final in four years and fifth in seven.
Jack Harrington, Greenwich. One of the state’s premier defenders, Harrington is headed next season to Duke.
Will Bonaparte, Ridgefield. Bonaparte is a dual threat at midfield and the player every opposing coach game plans against — often with little success.
Peter Lindley, Darien. The Blue Wave’s top returning scorer and skilled playmaker finishes up a stellar scholastic career before heading to the University of Massachusetts.
Kyle Foote, Greenwich. Foote is dangerous in transition and integral to the Cardinals’ hopes. His next stop is Loyola.
Harry Stanton, New Canaan. On a team that should be one of the most explosive in the state, Stanton is the go-to guy for big goals.
Phil Huffard, Darien. A three-year starter in goal, Huffard is headed to Yale.
Brendan Devane, Wilton. Devane was a big reason for the Warriors’ late-season run a year ago.
Josh Miller, Brien McMahon. Miller is an All-American goaltender who is headed to Towson.
Players To Watch
Danbury: MF Kevin Keiser, D Noah Greger, MF Nico Treglia.
Darien: G Phil Huffard, G Rob Juterbock, G Jamie Swiggett, D Sam Meyjes, D Kyle Gifford, D Mark Evanchick, D Jack Feeley, D Carter Watt, D Luke Sheridan, M Brad McCarthy, Dan Traver, M Will Hamernick, M Nick Tuzinkiewicz, F Andrew Pugliese, F Griffin Ross, M Kyle Cornell, M Harry Gillespie, M Ian Burgoyne, M Owen Koorbusch, M Tim Lochtefeld, M Hudson Hamill, M Jack Book, M John Sommi, A Peter Lindley, A John Reed, A Jack Kniffin, A Colin Minicus, A Goose Bolton, A Matt Vossler, A Christian Trifone.
Fairfield Ludlowe: G John Carey, D Ryan Vitale, D Matt White, M Lorin Tobey, A Riley Larson, M Blake Davis, A Graham Browne, M Bryan Pacewicz.
Fairfield Warde: G Jason Nerreau, D Brian Kerrigan, D Greg Adams, D Conner Scharlop, D Jake Fuss, M Jake Dougherty, M Dan Reale, M Mike Adams, M Brendan King, M David Andrews, A Kyle Scheetz, A Kevin Robinson, A Austin Armas, A Jack Potenza, A Gareth Gacetta.
Greenwich: A Jamie Paradise, A Luke Finneran, A Bobby Goggin, M Kyle Foote, M Ryan Flippin, M Decker Curran, M Fogo Michael Sullivan, M Cole Perry, D Jack Harrington, D Jack Nail, D Griffin Tiedy, G Tommy Rogan.
Brien McMahon: G Josh Miller, A Justin MacIntyre, D Channing Thomas, D Matt Hargrove.
New Canaan: G Trent Nader, D Frank Cognetta, D David Strupp, D Carson Armstrong, D Logan Hart, M Seth Neeleman, M Ted Bossidy, M Cole Turpin, M Max Begoon, M Kyle Smith, A Harry Stanton, A Michael Kraus, A Justin Meichner.
Norwalk: A Zach Grimm, D Justin Burke, D Cliff Joseph, D Christian McKinnon, M Alex Velasquez.
Ridgefield: M Will Bonaparte.
St. Joseph: G Mike Braddick, D Jorge Yoguez, MF Ryan Coran, A Jeff Marcantonio, A Josiah Wilson, A Pete Bashar.
Stamford: G Devin Camlin, A Mikey Gaizler, D Matt McGoldrick, A Kaden Bouldin.
Staples: A Michael Reale, A Ross Goldberg, A Jon Pacilio, A Matt Johnson, A Connor Chamberlin, M Tucker Bobrow, M Pete Blevins, M Pat Lesch, M Will Johnson, M Eric Zurmuehle, M Josh Willis, M Jack Greenwald, M Teddy Coogan, D Isaac Paparo, D Lucas Jackson, D Max Fuld, D Nick Moro, D Henri Rizack, G Cole Gendels, G Sean Driscoll.
Trinity Catholic: G Nico D’Elia, D Joe Carizzo, D Pat Maloney, D Dan Kolenberg, M Justin Przypeck, M Justin Green, M Liam Shanahan, A Justin Sebanski, A Drew Scanlan, A Kyle Richter.
Trumbull: G, D Mike Cullen, D Matt Kappel, D Liam Garrity, M Steve Kelley, M Jacob Howes, M Mike DeVito, A Tom Schutz, A Sam Watson, A Jake Crowe, M Jimmy McEwan.
Westhill: A Ryan Silk, A Matt Winters, A Zachary Estrella, M Mike Rybl, M Shawn DiPietro, M Sam Jelliffe, M Tom Andrianos, M Evan Skoparantzos, D Brendan Ronan, D Jacob Scarvey, D John Costello, G Tom Thibault.
Wilton: A Ryan Brameier, A Dan Baird, A Brendan Devane, M Will Garbis, M Harrison Bardwell, Sr., M Christian Hansson, G Josh Worley, G Jameson Hill.