Boys Lacrosse

In The Cage: The Continued Rise Of FCIAC Lacrosse; Ridgefield Boys Ride Roller Coaster

Ridgefield's Peter Dearth fires a shot against Garden City on Saturday.

Ridgefield’s Peter Dearth fires a shot against Garden City on Saturday.

The Battle of the Sound turned into the Case for Connecticut.

In a tripleheader at Darien High School Saturday featuring FCIAC schools against Long Island powers, it was a conference sweep as the Darien girls team edged Farmindgale, 11-10; the Darien boys team defeated Manhasset, 7-4; and the Ridgefield boys team toppled Garden City, 7-5.

The day served as a microcosm for the continued rise of FCIAC lacrosse.

“The FCIAC this year has the most parity since I started here in 2009,” said Ridgefield boys coach Roy Colsey. “This is going to be the most challenging year to win the FCIAC title. I think the FCIAC at the top half is as deep as what you’ve seen in Long Island, Hudson Valley and Section 1,” added Colsey, referring to the area that includes his alma mater, Yorktown.

In The Cage 450

Schools like Darien, New Canaan and Wilton have been playing top New York schools for decades. But because of the growth of the sport locally, more FCIAC teams are now getting a chance to add them to their non-league schedules, and having greater success.

Colsey had to drop Somers, another strong program, in order to face Garden City.

“We felt really, really lucky to have an opportunity to play them,” Colsey said. “You don’t just call and ask for a game, you have to earn it. We are doing a pretty good job playing challenging teams outside the area when we get a chance to.”

Mike Quick of MSG Varsity, one of the tri-state area’s leading lacrosse experts, said one reason FCIAC lacrosse teams are having greater success is “the other regions have gotten weaker. So many people are playing that it has leveled the playing field.”

Quick said in MSG’s latest top 20 poll revealed Tuesday, there were four Connecticut teams for the first time.

Ridgefield's Matt Philbin maneuvers around a Garden City defender.

Ridgefield’s Matt Philbin maneuvers around a Garden City defender.

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Quick — like everyone else — is extremely high on Greenwich, which has a big game on Thursday at Fairfield Prep. He likes the Cardinals’ wide-open style of play, which emphasizes pressuring opponents with a barrage of shots.

In one of the most anticipated games of the lacrosse season, Greenwich will be hosting Chaminade on May 3.

“That’s a pivotal game,” Quick said. “If Greenwich can beat Chaminade, then Connecticut lacrosse is all that.”

The proliferation of inter-region games has made comparisons less speculative.

“It is the only sport where you have a true evaluation of who the top team is because they play each other, and that’s a cool thing.” Quick said.

Ridgefield’s Busy Week

The win over Garden City concluded an action-packed, roller-coaster week for the Tigers, which included a victory over Fairfield Warde and started with a wild 8-7 loss to Greenwich in quadruple overtime.

“That was really fun,” Colsey said. “We were one shot away from being elated in that game. To go four overtimes proved how good both teams are. It was a great game. Greenwich is a very good team.”

Ridgefield coach Roy Colsey confers with Nick Esemplare.

Ridgefield coach Roy Colsey confers with Nick Esemplare.

The outcomes affirmed that the Tigers are very much in the league and state championship hunts, along with Greenwich, New Canaan and Darien.

“We had a nice week,” Colsey said. “Greenwich’s defense is as good as we’ve seen so far this year, and that includes Garden City’s defense. For us to play good lacrosse this season — we want to win the FCIAC and state titles — we have to get better every day. Against Garden City, the group that we have this year looked at it as an opportunity, not as a team we couldn’t beat. They wanted to go out and show their stuff and show where we are at Ridgefield.”