Darien is coming off one of the best seasons ever by a Connecticut high school sports team, ending up No. 1 in a national boys lacrosse poll. The good news for the opponents looking to unseat the Blue Wave — and you already know the cast — is that they were hit harder by graduation than in recent seasons. The bad news is the pipeline always turns out a strong class of players, and this spring is no different.
Darien. Where do the Blue Wave go from here? They have been locked in an internal battle of ‘Can you top this?’ soaring to new heights yet establishing higher ceilings to reach for. With a No. 1 national ranking last spring, the Blue Wave have landed at the maintenance stage now that climbing is no longer possible. And there is a lot to maintain: a 54-game winning streak, with five straight state and four successive league championships. The prospects look excellent again this year despite losing a stellar senior class. Logan McGovern is perhaps the state’s top scoring threat, flanked by Brian Minicus. Andrew Darby and Matt Gould anchor the defense, with Blake Sommi leading the way at midfield. Sean Collins takes over for Ryan Cornell in goal. There are many players in increased roles, and they will get tested right off the bat, with the opener tomorrow at Yorktown and a visit from California power Torrey Pines on Friday.
Wilton. The Warriors return a veteran group capable of trying to bring the current Darien dynasty down. Doing so is another matter, but Wilton has reason for confidence. With Connor Drake on attack, Joe Murtha at midfield and Andrew Calabrese in goal, the Warriors have talent all over the field. Ryan Schriber leads the defense and Joe Scarfi is excellent with the long pole. There is no questioning the team’s talent level — and certainly not its motivation.
Ridgefield. The Tigers were dealt a blow when star midfielder Greg Gatto suffered an injury that will keep him out for a while, but there is plenty of talent for the Tigers to contend. Stopping goals is the team’s focus, and with Dan Parson in goal and Noah Isaacson and Luke Gaydos leading the defense that will again be a strength. Wes Carpenter will play an even bigger role at midfield, while Reid Kagan is a dangerous scoring threat.
Greenwich. The Cardinals are an interesting mix of experience and youth and how soon they blend will dictate their fortunes. Luc Ayoub and JT Lawrence are defensive leaders and the midfield has depth, but the most fun will be watching Greenwich’s attack, which could be one of the most entertaining in the state. Matt Baugher and Jack Feda have experience, but watch out for super freshman Leo Johnson. Coach Bobby Lutz had been hoping to keep him a secret but word is already out around the league.
New Canaan. After dominating Class M, the Rams get the chance this year to jump up to L and face the top competition they will see during the conference season. Quintin O’Connell and Owen Shin will pace the offense, while midfield James Crovatto has few peers on faceoffs. Chase Strupp is the leader of the defensive unit, while there is a stable of goaltenders that will have the difficult task of taking over for Drew Morris.
Staples. The Wreckers will again be in the mix this season, with one of their deepest lineups. Evan Zinn and Dobson Cooper are strong at midfield, Matt Bidgood is an accomplished scorer and Matt Garber is solid in goal. Consistency will determine just how high the Wreckers can climb.
30 Players To Watch
Danbury: Goalie: Justin Tarsi; Defense: Solomon James, Ben Conrad, Marson James; Midfield: John Estevez, Logan Sarkisian, David Pina, Jack Pompea, Tyler Warren, Billy O’Rourke, Damian Pina, D.J. Donovan, Aiden Messuri; LSM: George Estevez, Connor Barrigas; Attack: Colin MacNevin, Joe Draper, Derek Rivers.
Darien: Goalie: Sean Collins; Defense: Andrew Darby, Matt Gould, Tyler Strub, Sam Cragin; LSM: Charlie Olsen, Connor Olson; Midfield: Blake Sommi, Jack Joyce, Henri Pfeifle, Jackson Peters, Ryan Darby, Tommy Hellman, Ryan O’Neil; FOGO: Tanner Strub; Attack: Logan McGovern, Brian Minicus, Hudson Pokorny, Ethan Dewbrey.
Fairfield Warde: Attack: Ted Orben, Blake Epstein, Jack McKenna; Midfield Charlie Digiacomo, Jack Murphy, Sam Palmer; SSDM: Devon Napol, Ryan Janz; LSM: Charlie Richard; Defense: Chris Montenegro, Jack Curtis, Cole Hessel; Goalie: Chris Gonzalez.
Greenwich: Attack: Matt Baugher, Jack Feda, Leo Johnson; Midfield: Lance Large, Jackson Trimmer, Matt Davey, Charlie Graves, Harlan Giordano; SSDM: Nick Veronis; LSM: JT Lawrence; Defense: Luc Ayoub, Tyler Dietrich, Sam Jenkins, Jack Ludington, Matt Bologna FOGO: Philip Ayoub, Luke Blaine; Goalie: Connor Santry.
Brien McMahon: Goalie: John Gatt; Defense: Corey Muldoon, Andrew Tajillio, Rocco Luppino; Midfield: Ian Campbell, Chris Druin, Bret Rodgers; Attack: Sebastian Cunningham, Jack Froelich, Jack Major.
New Canaan: Goalie: Carl Mazabras, Bennett Ong, Evan Reilly, Christian Parrott; Defense: Chase Strupp, Jackson Braden, George Dumbauld, Cole Kammerer, Seamus O’Hora; LSM: Walker Ker; FOGO: Nick Crovatto, Justin Weitfeldt; Attack: Quintin O’Connell, Owen Shin, Ben Conley, Mac Deane.
Norwalk: Attack: Simon Galeano, Michael Propersi, Chris Muralles, Dante Solano; Midfield: AJ Hall, Dale Donovan, Quint Bartush, David Lamb, Jose Mendez; Defense: Jalen Elliott, Victor Espinoza, Chase Larkin, Demetri Dassouras; Goalie: Patrick Ruther.
Ridgefield: Goalie: Dan Parson; Defense: Michael Dobson, Luke Gaydos, Jack Dowd; Midfield: Greg Gatto, Wes Carpenter, Noah Gels; LSM: Noah Isaacson; FOGO: Chris D’entrone; Attack: Reid Kagan, Dawson Muller, James Isaacson.
St. Joseph: Midfield: Jared Mallozzi, Matt Labash; Defense: Phil Pasmeg, Bryan Viglione; Goalie: Kyle Burbank.
Stamford: Goalie: Baylor Bridges; Midfield: Patrick Barboza, Krantz Medeus; FOGO: Steven Phelps.
Staples: Attack: Patrick Ciquera, Matt Bidgood, TJ Lynch; Midfield: Evan Zinn, Dobson Cooper, Max Lonergan; Defense: Donny Macaluso, Blake Runkle, James Ciquera, Ryan Fincher; Goalie: Matt Garber.
Trumbull: Attack: Luke Kammerman, Reese Remeika, Riley Usher; Midfield: Peter Raverta, Andrew Tinnesz, Max Bowen, Garret Lapham; Defense: Alec Neubauer, Michael Nevins, Harrison Bowen; LSM: Kyle Atherton; Goalie: Josh Vaughn.
Westhill: Attack: Ryan Lubowitz, Alex Edwards, Ryan Scarvey, Zach Rubin; Midfield: Jake Hansen, Dom Echaverria, AJ Laccona; LSM: Kevin Costello; SSDM: John Edwards, Sam Edouard; Defense: Danny Villacis, Luke Rossi, John Hicks, Bryan Verneus; Goalie: Jack Williamson.
Wilton: Goalie: Andrew Calabrese; Defense: Ryan Schriber, Tyler Previte; Midfield: Joe Murtha, Zach Zeyher, Nolan Quinn, Ryan Kaufman, Jack Kaufman, Reilly Sullivan; LSM: Joe Scarfi; Attack: Connor Drake, Brian Calabrese, Dean DiNanno; FOGO Chris Sweeney.
(Teams missing did not reply to requests for information.)