By Hayley Tafuro
DARIEN — Title defense is in the works for the Darien boys lacrosse team, as it cruised to a 17-6 victory over Staples in Friday’s FCIAC quarterfinals, led by a five-goal performance from junior Colin Minicus.
Minicus added two assists. Jack Book finished with four goals and one assist for the Blue Wave.
After a scoreless eight minutes, the Blue Wave got things going with a goal from junior Christian Trifone. The goal sparked a quick 3-0 lead on the Wreckers to end the first period.
Momentum for Darien continued within seconds of the second period, but Staples answered quickly to cut the lead to 4-1 and remind everyone that it was still in this game.
The Blue Wave continued their hot scoring streak and dominated the possession time for the rest of the half. They headed into halftime with an 8-3 lead after a goal from junior Jack Kniffin.
“Our offense was just moving the ball a lot, in and out, off-ball, getting good shots, and there were some new changes on the offensive side which was definitely helping,” sophomore goalie Ryan Cornell said.
Staples controlled the faceoff to start the second half and got a play going, but could not capitalize on its shots as Darien continued to go on a scoring rampage. The Blue Wave opened the second half with three consecutive goals.
“We told each other no let-ups, don’t let them get back in the game and just keep playing hard,” Cornell said.
Suddenly it was an 11-3 Blue Wave lead, and Staples, despite its quickness in getting down the field on fast breaks, could only cut the lead to 11-4 by the end of the third period.
“There were a lot of different scorers. We did a little change up on offense. Everybody got in the mix,” Darien coach Jeff Brameier said.
Junior Michael Reale led the Wreckers down the stretch, with two goals coming in the fourth period, but it would not be enough to quell the strong Darien offense.
“It’s huge, it’s a big win for us against a good team like this,” Cornell said. “We definitely have a good confidence now going into Tuesday night.”
Darien (14-3), the No. 2 seed, will play third-seeded New Canaan in what will surely be a hard-fought, rivalry matchup after their previous meeting in the regular season, in which the Rams came away with a 9-8 win.
“It will be a huge game in the semis,” Brameier said. “You take what comes next and we’re glad to be moving on and still playing and get a chance to keep defending our title.”