WESTPORT — It is unusual but not unprecedented for freshmen to get playing time with the Darien boys lacrosse team, a decorated program with a national identity. But few have made the kind of immediate impact that Brady Pokorny has through the first third of this season.
One of Pokorny’s older brothers already possesses championship medals, another is a current teammate. Pokorny, a product of uncommon talent developed by hours with a stick in his hand, has seemed at ease since the season opener.
Tonight, in what turned out to be the Blue Wave’s most difficult test to date, Pokorny helped set a tone from the outset. He scored the first goal of the game and had a second by midway through the second quarter, adding three assists in helping to lead Darien to a 10-7 win over Staples, the state’s third-ranked team.
“My teammates have set me up to have a great season so far,” Pokorny said. “It’s definitely a confidence booster getting into games and scoring and getting assists from my teammates.
Darien improved to 5-0 with its third straight win over another conference contender, setting up Saturday’s highly anticipated non-league game against Brunswick, another nationally ranked team.
“This is what you need,” Darien coach Jeff Brameier said. “You need to be tested, you need to see some things that are different. Everybody has a little different chemistry. I thought we had our opportunities and so did they. Both goalies stood on their heads a lot. Both defenses, long poles in particular, played pretty well. Our offensive kids dodged well, got to shooting spots and then played catch with the goalie. We’ll get better.”
Finn Pokorny, a junior, and Matthew Minicus also scored two goals apiece. Seven different players recorded goals as the Blue Wave continue to get balanced scoring.
Brameier said nothing that Brady Pokorny has done so far has been surprising. He has taken advantage of playing time while Holt Mathies continues to recover from a hamstring injury.
“He’s very much a natural scorer,” Brameier said. “Quick hands and works his butt off. He’s been outside shooting with Finn since all last summer during COVID, just the two of them. And they carried it through the winter. It doesn’t happen just by natural ability.”
The Wreckers (5-1) never led but were competitive and stayed in the game until late in the third quarter. Charlie Howard scored three goals — all in the second half.
The game was tied at 2-2 after the first quarter. After an exchange of goals, Darien got three in a row to take a 6-3 halftime lead. Howard scored twice sandwiched around a goal by Minicus to make the score 7-5 before the Blue Wave went on another three-goal run. The Wreckers scored twice late.
Staples coach Will Koshansky was pleased his team was competitive with the state’s No. 1 team but was hoping to at least stay in the game longer.
“Obviously we felt we were good enough to win that game,” Koshansky said. “So disappointed that it didn’t go that way. We feel like we made a handful of errors throughout. A couple of their scripted looks on the offensive end, I probably should have had the guys better prepared for. Definitely disappointed in the result but encouraged that there was a handful of guys who really stepped up in big moments. Obviously, Darien is the class of the FCIAC now and for a while now. Having them as a target is a good thing. Love playing against those guys.”
One of them has been goaltender JP Kosakowski, who again made a number of acrobatic saves to keep the Wreckers close early. He finished with 13.
“JP is a phenomenal goalie,” Koshansky said. “We know we can rely on him to make big saves. I’ve said it a handful of times already, it’s those spectacular one on one saves where you really think the ball is guaranteed to go in and then he makes that stop that a lot of our team feeds off of.”
Next up for Darien is Brunswick on home Saturday afternoon. In the most recent Under Armour national rankings, Brunswick is third and Darien 18th. But the Bruins lost yesterday to Lawrenceville, 7-6.
“It’s another one of these, where we get a chance to play one of the top teams in the state and country,” Brameier said. “They’ll be chomping at the bit to make a statement but so will we.”