FCIAC

Softball 2016: Can Anyone Slow St. Joseph’s Run At 3-Peat?

When we last left it, the St. Joseph softball team was adding to the program’s resume with a second straight FCIAC title and trip to the state final. The Cadets enter this spring in very similar form to the past two years: key players have graduated but there is a solid nucleus that still has a huge upside.

Can anyone derail the Cadets? The strongest candidates hail from the same city, where defending runner-up Stamford and Westhill remain strong but have a few question marks to iron out.

St. Joseph walked through the league unbeaten last season. It has the potential to do so again, but there is a dangerous minefield to navigate.

Baseball

Baseball 2016: Staples The Favorite In A Deep And Pitching-Rich League

To call the FCIAC loaded with baseball talent this spring is to call Donald Trump….OK, you get the point. The league has been deep for several seasons, bucking the trend as a number of talented athletes have been headed to the lacrosse fields.

Staples, Norwalk and Fairfield Warde right now appear to be top 10 teams in the state. The Wreckers are coming off a 22-win season and appearances in both the league and state finals. The roster resembles an All-Star team. The Bears caught fire in the state tournament, reaching the semifinals, and should experience carryover. The Mustangs are bristling from what they believe was a year where they underachieved. Interestingly, the teams worth keeping an eye on all failed to qualify for the league playoffs a year ago.

FCIAC

Video: The Ruden Report FCIAC Girls Lacrosse Preview Show

The Darien girls lacrosse team three-repeated as FCIAC and state champion last season, while New Canaan won a state title. The Blue Wave and the Rams are again the league favorites, but Wilton and Greenwich are among the teams looking to disrupt their title hopes.
The Ruden Report hosted its third annual FCIAC Lacrosse Media Day Monday at BlueStreak Sports Training in Stamford and filmed this girls preview show. Featured are Darien’s Kaeliegh Morrill, New Canaan’s Catherine Granito, Greenwich’s Katie Harford and Wilton’s Campbell Gulbin.

Boys Lacrosse

Video: The Ruden Report FCIAC Boys Lacrosse Preview Show

The Darien boys lacrosse team repeated as FCIAC and state champion last season, while New Canaan won a state title for the first time in 12 years. Meanwhile, Ridgefield and Greenwich were right in the mix.

This season? Need we say the league is going to be loaded again?

The Ruden Report hosted its third annual FCIAC Lacrosse Media Day Monday at BlueStreak Sports Training in Stamford and filmed this boys preview show. Featured are Darien’s Mark Evanchick, New Canaan’s Kyle Smith, Staples’ Mike Reale and Greenwich’s Will Perry.

Boys Basketball

The Ruden Report Boys Basketball All-FCIAC Team And Postseason Awards

I just went back to look at my preseason predictions, which in the preview I admitted were made with the least amount of confidence ever because of all the uncertainty. Not surprisingly, I only went five for eight in league playoff picks. Like most everyone, I didn’t see the rise of Stamford or Ridgefield, two teams that relied a great deal on defense in an offensively challenged landscape. I also struck out on Wilton, a program that under Joel Geriak for four years proves that fundamentals still matter.

Given all the question marks, it made sense that a team from the middle of the pack emerged as FCIAC champion. Danbury had the best resources, but not that much better than the rest. The Hatters did advance to the final, and the lottery winner of hottest team over the final week went to Westhill. The Vikings were not a Syracuse-surprise, but rather a team that was fortunate to have the slump almost everyone went through at some point earlier than most.

FCIAC

Stamford Summons Championship Spirit To Bring Home First State Title With Win Over Greenwich

UNCASVILLE — Fairfield Warde girls basketball coach Dave Danko was well familiar with the finalists in Sunday’s Class LL girls basketball championship. After playing both during the regular season, he lost to Stamford in the FCIAC title game and Greenwich in the state quarterfinals.

His pregame analysis of Sunday’s game seemed reasonable: “If Stamford shoots well, they will win.”