Boys Lacrosse

Boys Lacrosse 2015: Darien’s Title Paths Again Guarded By New Canaan, Greenwich, Ridgefield

Jack Kinffin is one of the top returning players for Darien, which went 23-0 a year ago. (Photo: Mark Conrad)

Jack Kinffin is one of the top returning players for Darien, which went 23-0 a year ago. (Photo: Mark Conrad)

There is no way to prove this, but it is hard to believe more teams have ever played at such a high level simultaneously in one sport as Darien, Greenwich, New Canaan and Ridgefield did in boys lacrosse last year. All four were of championship stock.

A case can be made that the Blue Wave, given their conference and non-league schedule, with a 23-0 mark for the second time in school history enjoyed the best year ever by an FCIAC team in any sport.

Greenwich, Darien and St. Joseph swept state titles, and this year should be even more fun with the Blue Wave making the leap to Class L.

The Favorite

Darien: If we are going to designate a team to beat, go with the theory that you have to knock out the defending champion. Even in a top-heavy league, that won’t be easy. Asking the Blue Wave to duplicate last season may be too tall a task, but they will again be outstanding. Jack Kniffin and Colin Minicus are two outstanding finishers, while Mark Evanchick is arguably the state’s top defender. Darien’s most underrated player a year ago may have been faceoff specialist Andrew Pugliese. Depth abounds. How new goaltenders Ryan Cornell and Phil Rech step up may be the lone uncertainty at this point.

Justin Meichner will again be prominent on the attack for New Canaan. (Photo: Mark Conrad)

Justin Meichner will again be prominent on the attack for New Canaan. (Photo: Mark Conrad)

The Contenders

Greenwich. The Cardinals are coming off their first state title, and the goal this year is a repeat with a conference championship on the side. They are attainable goals. Decker Curran leads a strong midfield unit that includes Will Perry and Scooter Harrington. Tommy Rogan is back in goal and he will be aided by a rebuilt defensive unit. There should be some carryover from last year’s postseason success, but inevitably, as with all the top teams, the Cardinals’ fortunes will rest with winning the close games.

New Canaan. The Rams will not be lacking for incentive a year after a great season was offset by three heartbreaking losses to Darien, including one in the state final and a defeat in overtime in the FCIAC semifinals. New Canaan is loaded at all spots, with Justin Meichner and Michael Kraus leading the attack, Kyle Smith providing versatility at midfield and a defense anchored by Frank Cognetta and David Strupp. Teddy Dumbauld is an accomplished faceoff specialist. There is plenty of reason for optimism in New Canaan.

Ridgefield. The Tigers were the odd team out in postseason finals last year, perhaps the most talented team in league history not to play for a championship. Led by Simon Mathias and Ryan Dunn on attack, Peter Dearth and Brad Alexander at midfield and Paul Volante on defense, they will again be a factor in both races.

Staples. Paul McNulty has done an outstanding job taking the Wreckers to the next level, including reaching the Class L final for the second straight year. There are seven returning players, led by Isaac Paparo, Teddy Coogan and Lucas Jackson on defense, Tanner Wood at midfield and Ross Goldberg on attack.

Returning goaltender Tommy Rogan will try and help Greenwich defend its state title. (Photo: Mark Conrad)

Returning goaltender Tommy Rogan will try and help Greenwich defend its state title. (Photo: Mark Conrad)

20 Players To Watch

Ian Burgoyne, Darien

James Campbell, McMahon

Frank Cognetta, New Canaan

Decker Curran, Greenwich

Peter Dearth, Ridgefield

Ryan Dunn, Ridgefield

Mark Evanchick, Darien

Christian Hansson, Wilton

Jack Kniffin, Darien

Michael Kraus, New Canaan

Simon Mathias, Ridgefield

Justin Meichner, New Canaan

Colin Minicus, Darien

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Isaac Paparo, Staples

Will Perry, Greenwich

Andrew Pugliese, Darien

Michael Sands, Greenwich

Kyle Smith, New Canaan

David Strupp, New Canaan

Paul Volante, Ridgefield

Michael Reale is one of the offensive leaders for Staples, which reached the state final for the second straight year. (Photo: Mark Conrad)

Michael Reale is one of the offensive leaders for Staples, which reached the state final for the second straight year. (Photo: Mark Conrad)

The Lineups

Danbury: G Nick Rhode, D Corey Cherney, M Eric Henry, A Justin Warren, M Connor Warren, M Jordan Osuch, M Tommy O’Rouke, M Robbie Swenson, M Colton Cherney, D Nick Maloney, A Tyler Disarro, M Evan Bennett, M Andrew Diehl, D Brian Conlon, D Aaron Moniz.

Darien: A Jack Kniffin, A Colin Minicus, A Kevin Lindley, A Christian Trifone, M Ian Burgoyne, M Hudson Hamill, M Tim Lochtefeld, M Finlay Collins, M Riley Stewart, M Jack Book, M Jake Kirby, M Tyler Payne, M John Sommi, M Bobby Trifone, M Geoff Parnon, M Rock Stewart, FO Andrew Pugliese, D Mark Evanchick, D Daniel Traver, D Peter Doering, D Robby Arrix, D Jack Feeley, D Will Simpson, G Ryan Cornell, G Phil Rech.

Fairfield Warde: A Jack Potenza, A Gareth Gacetta, M Brendan King, M Ryan Brown, FO RJ Bebey, D Dan Reale, D Jake Dougherty, D Jake Fuss, G Matt Cappola.

Greenwich: A Michael Sands, A Matt Bauger, A Montana Larson, M Will Perry, M Decker Curran, M Scooter Harrington, M John Tooher, M Kevin Moriarty, M Jack O’Connor, FOGO Michael Sullivan, FOGO Bailey Savio, D Alec Oropall, D Dan Ozizmir, D Griffin Tiedy, D Ed Larkin, D Cal Smith, D Danny Colligan, D Holden Tiedy, G Tommy Rogan.

McMahon: M Chris Gatt, D Finn Maloney, A Mitch Bartolo, M Zach Wilson, A Lars Hammer, FO/M James Campbell, G Luke King.

New Canaan: G Drew Morris, A Justin Meichner, A Michael Kraus, A Clayton Burt, M Kyle Smith, M Ryan O’Connell, M Owen Toland, D Frank Cognetta, D David Strupp, D Logan Hart, M Sterling O’Hara, FO Teddy Dumbauld.

Norwalk: A Harrison Hefferan, D AJ Ibarrondo, M Justin Schneider, M Zach White, M Dakari Eason, M Zach Grimm, D Teague Whalen, G Peter Stacom, G Brian Quick, A Duncan Campbell, A Evan Cybart, D Brendan Brown, D Camilo Builes, D Matt Gola, M Vinny Romano, A Aaron Post, M Eric Cohens, A Nick Arcario, D Nick LaFranco, M AJ Morrisey, M Joey Laracca, M Cody Mastropietro, D Paul Powers, D Griffin Weiss, D Frank Gurnari.

Ridgefield: A Simon Mathias, A Schuyler Blair, A Ryan Dunn, M Peter Dearth, M Brad Alexander, M Chris Bova, M Chase Levesque, FOGO Harrison Levesque, D Paul Volante, D Brian MaGuire, D Zach Bova, G Brendan Winne.

Stamford: A Luke Stone, A Tomasz Majdak, A Scott Moreau, M Tyeqaun Bonaparte, M Andrew Kydes, M Sam Berkrot, D Ryan Czelada, D Omar Fortt, D Stefan Jones, D Jusuf Music, G Nick Smart.

Staples: A Michael Reale, A Connor Chamberlin, A Ross Goldberg, M Tanner Wood, M Matt Johnson, M Evan Zinn, M Ethan Burger, M Tucker Bobrow, M Connor Adrian, M Teddy Coogan, D Isaac Paparo, D Lucus Jackson, D Sam Ahlgrim, G Peter Burger.

Trumbull: M Jacob Howes, A Sam Watson, G Danny Forren, A Tom Schutz, A Jake Crowe, M Mike Devito, D Mike Cullen,D Liam Garrity, D Matt Kappel.

Westhill: A Ozbyn Sandoval, A Christian Sottosanti, A Zachary Estrella, M Sam Jelliffe, M Connor Metheny, M Matt Winters, D Brendan Ronan, D John Costello, D Jacob Scarvey, D Eugene Robles, M Joe Schlessinger, M Steve Fleurisaint, M Jack Cebo, G Tom Thibault.

Wilton: G Jameson Hill, M Mike Brown, M Harrison Bardwell, M Reid Melillo, M Christian Hansson, A Mike Lynch, A Harrison Koch, FOGO RJ Romeo, A Charlie McGovern. D AJ Hoffman, A Brian Calabrese, M John Maudsley.

(Teams missing did not reply to requests for information.)