RIDGEFIELD — If the difference tonight between the FCIAC’s two top boys lacrosse teams is indicative of what’s ahead for the next seven weeks, there is a chasm separating Darien from the rest of the pack.
Playing its first big game in 22 months, with a few of the same faces, the Blue Wave picked up in lockstep where they left off after defeating Wilton for the Class L title. Darien used a run of four unanswered goals starting late in the first half and another of five in the second half for a convincing 14-7 win over Ridgefield.
At its best, watching the Blue Wave’s attack and transition game was like trying to view a movie at fast-forward speed. Perhaps most telling was the return of boyish enthusiasm on the faces of players like Darien midfielder Jamison Moore after completing the process of getting hyped for a big game and then rising to the moment when it arrived.
“There were some nerves in the beginning,” admitted Moore, who scored two goals. “Some turnovers in the first quarter. Once we got the pregame jitters out we were ready to go. It felt good. It has been awhile. It has been a long time since we had the jitters.”
Brady Pokorny, who was in 7th grade when his brother Hudson was putting up three goals and two assists in the 2019 state final, offered a familial version of next-man-up with four goals, the last two on assists from Moore. Christian Alliegro, Matt Minicus and Matt Stein each scored two goals.
“We played a very solid game across the board,” Darien coach Jeff Brameier said. “The defense held a very strong offense to seven goals. I thought we could have done better on offensive possessions at times but their goalie made some great saves. I think we had some pregame jitters, which is to be expected from kids that hadn’t been in a battle in a while. They responded.”
David Evanchick and Sam Erickson did a superb job containing the Tigers’ attack in front of goaltender Andy Demopoulos, who started for the Blue Wave two years ago. He stopped 14 shots. And Tighe Cummiskey won 20 of 25 draw controls to help control time of possession.
“Obviously the big advantage today was Tighe,” Brameier said. “It wasn’t coaching at this point it was kids performing.”
The Blue Wave improved to 3-0 heading into Saturday’s game against rival New Canaan.
Ridgefield (3-1), playing a top opponent for the third time in five days, seemed a step slow, though that could just be how Darien is going to make teams look this spring.
“Between the faceoffs and the turnovers I want to say we gave them the ball 30 more times than we had it,” Ridgefield coach Roy Colsey said. “We can’t survive that. We can’t survive that against teams in the middle of the pack. You certainly can’t survive it against Darien. I have a lot of respect for those guys and that program.”
Ryan Colsey, shadowed by Evanchick for most of the night, led the Tigers with three goals. Luke Winkler added a pair. Their best player was goaltender Matthew Shepard, who had 16 saves, many of them outstanding, to keep his team in the game for two and a half quarters.
Ridgefield’s lone lead was off Kyle Colsey’s game-opening goal. Minicus ignited a four-goal run that gave Darien an 8-3 lead after Pokorny scored to start the second half.
Ryan Colsey scored twice to get the Tigers within 8-5. That momentum swing lasted six seconds, the time it took for Cummiskey to win a draw and get the ball to Stein for what was the first of five straight goals that broke the game open.
“You’re always afraid of a run and they’ve proven that they can go on a run,” Brameier said. “Because they have the firepower. The difference was they can’t go on a roll if they can’t win the faceoffs.”
Roy Colsey said he was looking forward to getting back to the classroom — three days off until hosting Wilton.
“For us this was the right game at the right time,” he said. “We needed this to understand where our weaknesses are and hopefully now to get back out to practice.”
Moore could not resist a smile when it was suggested that if the Blue Wave play its game, it will be difficult to beat.
“That’s what we like to think,” he said. “We have a good group of guys this year and the best coach in the country, so that helps.”