Boys Lacrosse Preview: Darien, New Canaan Headline Usual Cast Of Contenders

Hudson Pokorny is back to lead the Darien offense. (Mark Conrad)

The FCIAC’s best-played sport, the boys lacrosse season opens with a lot of buzz, fresh off of last year’s surprising win by Ridgefield over Darien in the state final.

The Blue Wave are back, loaded and hungry. The same can be said of their biggest rival, New Canaan, which hopes to break a string of heartbreaking losses. Ridgefield and Wilton are two other contenders, while Greenwich and Staples maintain their status as sleepers.

We won’t have to wait long for our first big game: Darien hosts Ridgefield next Friday night.

The Favorite

Darien. The Blue Wave enter a new season for the first time in five years trying to get back on top rather than maintaining the top spot. A remarkable 76-game winning streak was ended by Ridgefield in the state final, despite a furious Blue Wave fourth-quarter comeback.

Darien has lost a number of starters but has a strong nucleus of veterans and promising younger players that have waited their turns, which can basically be said each spring.

Tyler Strub is a lockdown defender and Hudson Pokorny is the Blue Wave’s top returning scorer. Both again will be formidable. Henri Pfeifle is another dangerous player on the attack, while Jackson Peters and Tommy Hellman are midfield anchors.

Two of the leading newcomers are Michael Minicus on the attack and sophomore Andy Demopoulos, who is destined to become another in a long line of top Darien goaltenders.

Of note: Darien will be playing in the ESPN Geico Invitational Showcase on April 27-28, first against Seton Hall Prep and then on ESPNU against St. Anthony’s.

New Canaan’s Quintin O’Connell is the state’s most dangerous player at midfield. (Gregory Vasil)

The Contenders

New Canaan. The Rams went 15-5 a year ago, but three of those losses were to Darien, by a total of nine goals. It was a frustrating situation that will give a talented team extra motivation.

The Rams will be led by midfielder Quintin O’Connell, a North Carolina commit who is considered by almost everyone as the state’s best player. Justin Wietfeldt will be a dominant figure on draw controls, while Will Rechtermann is another leader at midfield. The defense features George Dumbuld and goaltender Carl Mazabras.

Depth is another of the Rams’ assets. They will be in the league and state title hunts.

Ridgefield will be counting on John Mathes for goal production. (Mark Conrad)

Ridgefield. The Tigers picked the last day of the school sports season to fire the shot heard around the FCIAC with their dramatic win over Darien. They played a slowdown style to get a big lead and then held on as the Blue Wave rallied in the final period and were unable to convert on the game’s final possession.

The Tigers have lost three of four starters on defense and two of three on attack but still have a formidable lineup to mount a title defense.

Leading the way are midfielders Wes Carpenter and Ray Dearth, John Mathes on attack and Dan Parson in goal. Jack Dowd will be a key on a defensive line that was a huge strength last season.

Wilton. Steve Pearsall takes over as the Warriors’ coach, and he inherits a number of strong pieces that should make his rookie season memorable. Andrew Calabrese is one of the state’s top goaltenders. Ryan Schriber is outstanding on what should be a very solid defensive unit. Dean DiNanno is Wilton’s top scoring threat.

Jack Feda has scored 132 career goals for Greenwich. (Mark Conrad)

The Sleeper

Greenwich. The Cardinals are always a threat and that will again be the case. The Cardinals have one of the most dangerous scorers in Jack Feda, who already has 132 career goals. Lance Large and Matt Davey will lead the midfield, while Teddy Bacon is back in goal. Coach Bobby Lutz has a solid group of seniors who have come up through the team with him the last three years.

20 Players To Watch

Andrew Calabrese, Wilton
Wes Carpenter, Ridgefield
Pat Ciquera, Staples
Matt Davey, Greenwich
Ray Dearth, Ridgefield
Dean DiNanno, Wilton
George Dumbauld, New Canaan
Jack Feda, Greenwich
Lance Large, Greenwich
John Mathes, Ridgefield
Quintin O’Connell, New Canaan
Phil Pasmeg, St. Joseph
Jackson Peters, Darien
Henri Pfeifle, Darien
Hudson Pokorny, Darien
Will Rechtermann, New Canaan
Blake Runkle, Staples
Ryan Schriber, Wilton
Tyler Strub, Darien
Justin Wietfeldt, New Canaan

The Lineups

Danbury: Goalie: Chris Giorgi; Defense: Marson James, Liam Jakobson; Midfield: Jack Pompea, Tyler Warren, D.J. Donovan, Aiden Messuri, Johan DeJesus; LSM: Connor Barrigas; Attack: Derek Rivers, Joe Draper.

Darien: Goalie: Andy Demopoulos, Spencer Smith, Sander Schuddeboom; Defense: Tyler Strub, Pierce Hoyda, Sam Cragin, Pete Graham, Sam Wilson, Sam Ericson, Reilly Warble; LSM: Connor Olson, Blake Cellar, Will Nelson; SSDM:  Bruce Ferguson, Ryan Darby, Jack Bogdan, Jamison Moore; FOGO: Matt Freeman, Noah Dewbrey; Midfield: Jackson Peters, Tommy Hellman, Colin Ruppenstein, Ryan Darby, Jack Bogdan, Cooper Hancock, Jamison Moore, Connor O’Malley, Carter Flanagan; Attack: Hudson Pokorney, Henri Pfeifle, Michael Minicus, Holt Matheis, Charlie Walsh.

Fairfield Warde: Goalie: Christopher Gonzalez; Defense: Charlie Richard, Al Donahue, Cole Hessel; Midfield: Charlie Digiacomo, Sam Palmer, RJ Ihlefeld, Zack Corsi, Witt Badger, JP Sell, Aiden Cronin, Forward: Jack McKennak, Blake Epstein; FOGO: Devin Napol.

Greenwich: Attack: Jack Feda, Charlie Graves, Owen Gwozdz; Midfield: Nate Allen, Matt Davey, Lance Large, Will Montesi; Defense: Chris Cataldo, Tyler Dietrich, junior Jack Ludington, Nic Pelletier, Jason Tautel; Goalie: Teddy Bacon, Padraig Colligan; FOGO: Luke Blaine, Miles Recchia.

Brien McMahon: Attack: Charlie Coale, Jack Major, Patrick Coulter; Midfield: Fin Bean, Bret Rodgers, Ian Campbell, James Greco, Sean Notley, Cooper Gibson;  Defense: Andrew Trujillo, Peter Young, Justin DiCostanzo, Danny Mccantohier; Goalie: John Gatt.

New Canaan: Attack: Harry Appelt, Grant Ciccarello, Liam Griffiths, Drew Guida, Teddy Manges, Luke Nolan, Nick Stiles, Callum Wood; Midfield: Ryan Caione, Chris Canet, Grant Ciccarello, Matt Cosco, Will Cosco, Oliver Crookenden, Rob Evans, Jack Johnson, Quintin O’Connell, Will Rechtermann, Kyle Russell, Jack Spain, Maddox Underwood; Defense: Charlie Bothwick, Jackson Braden, George Dumbuld, Jack Hagan, Nicholas Hoge, Steven Hoge, Ben Schneider, Charley Sihpol, Braden Sweeney, Andrew Symon, Tim Walsh;  Goalie: Hollis Kammerer, Carl Mazabras, Bennett Ong; FOGO: Ryan Dolphin, Tim Norton, Hayden Shin, Justin Wietfeldt; LSM: Jack Connors, Jack Finnigan, Walker Kerr, Christain Wolter; SSDM: Miles Baliotti, Dean Ciancio, Clark Grigsby, Theo Kammerer, Zach LaPolice, Jack O’Hare, Shane Pickering, Christain Sweeney.

Norwalk: Midfielder: David Lamb; Attack: Michael Propersi; Goalie: Patrick Ruther.

Ridgefield: Goalie: Dan Parson; Defense: Jack Dowd, Connor Riebling, Chris Hagele; Midfield: Wes Carpenter, James Isaacson, Noah Gels, Ray Dearth; Attack: John Mathes, Quinn Caviola; LSM: Kees Van Wees, Kai Prohaska; FOGO: Jake Lynne, Eliot Hynes; SSDM: Braeden McSpedon.

St. Joseph: Attack: Jack Carpenter, Declan McGinley, Ryan Daly; Midfield: Cole Dasilva, Sam Bracchi, Preston Kral, Mike Mulligan, Jack Coughlin; SSDM: Dan Tobin; LSM Chris Coughlin; Defense: Phil Pasmeg, Bryan Viglione, Jack Fearnley; Goalie: Kyle Burbank.

Stamford: Attack: Eric Kelly, Tom Connolly, Gavin Dolan, Dylan Friese, Quran Langston; Midfield: Philemon Mathai, Zach Appolon, Cameron Cahoon, Brayden Davis, Jack Dewing, Ben Duquene, Elliel Duquene, Elanai Dequene, Ryan Gover, Josh Labkoff, Tyler Tuccinardi, Isaiah Johnson; Defense: Cody Tromba, Shane Brady, Wayne James, Vlad Molchanov, David Marcizkiewicz, Mateo Rios; Goalie: Baylor Bridges, Matt Buzzeo.

Staples: Attack: Pat Ciquera, Kyle Hines, Jack Saltus, Bryce Wood, Charlie Howard; Midfield: TJ Lynch, Daniel Fleton, Max Eigen, Ryan Thompson, Will Stack; FOGO: Matt Rowan; LSM: Kevin Lynch; Defense: Blake Runkle, Donny Macaluso, Cam Lynch, Jack Dorsey; Goalie: Timmy Luciano, Ben Howard.

Trumbull: Attack: Reese Remeika, Julian Kammerman, Shea Grant; Midfield: Vincent DiLeo, Andrew Tinnesz, James OBrien; Defense: Harrison Bowen, Kyle Atherton, Hunter FitzGibbons; Goalie: Joshua Vaughn; SSDM: Aidan Clark, Jett Hughes.

Westhill: Attack: Zach Rubin, Alex Edwards , Ryan Scarvey, Jake Hansen, Harrison Lindvall, AJ Laccona; SSDM: Dan Brennan, Ryan Cooney; LSM: Jack Engel; Defense: John Hicks, Cole Bautista, Bryan Verneus; Goalie: Saif Mohammed.

Wilton: Attack: Dean DiNanno; Midfield: Liam Sullivan, Reilly Sullivan, Andrew Luciano, Dylan Kennedy, Matt Graham; Defense: Ryan Schriber, Tyler Previte, Drew Herlyn, Jack DiRocco; Goalie: Andrew Calabrese.

(Teams missing did not respond to repeated requests for information)

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