(It Seems To Me… is a new opinion column that will appear regularly in which I share random thoughts about what is happening with FCIAC sports, and sometimes beyond)
1. It seems to me that we are looking at another big Darien-New Canaan sporting event on Saturday, and that is always a good thing. It will take place on a football field, but in this instance it will be between two nationally ranked boys lacrosse teams. I am a cynic when it comes to national polls in high school sports — who exactly sees all these teams and makes the comparisons? Still, suffice it to say that Darien and New Canaan have two of the best teams in the country, which makes this one of the biggest meetings ever between the schools, in any sport, in terms of overall talent.
2. It seems to me this game is going to come down to a battle of Darien’s explosive offense against New Canaan’s sturdy defense. The Blue Wave is averaging just over 17 goals per game, while the Rams are allowing just over five per game. Darien’s attack, led by Colin Minicus, Kevin Lindley and Jack Kniffin, is unstoppable, which means the onus will be on the Rams to possess the ball and dictate tempo. Led by Kyle Smith, Ryan O’Connell and Peter Swindell, the Rams have one of the best midfields in state history. The game within the game will be the play of the team’s goaltenders, Darien’s Ryan Cornell and New Canaan’s Drew Morris. We are looking at two teams without exploitable weaknesses. Execution will be the key.
3. It seems to me, speaking of Morris, the save he made point-blank on Staples’ Tanner Wood on Tuesday night, with 4:40 left and the Rams leading, 7-4, was as outstanding as any you will ever see.
4. It seems to me… The policy here, except for unique circumstances, is not to write stories about fundraising that goes on during games. This may seem counterintuitive, but there are now so many teams raising money for so many good causes, singling one over another would risk being accused of favoritism. Still, praise has to go out to both the Darien and New Canaan programs, which on Saturday will “Unite for the Fight Against Cystic Fibrosis.” Proceeds from a variety of efforts on Saturday will go to the Boomer Esiason Foundation. Darien has a player on the team who has battled the disease and the school’s field hockey coach, Mo Minicus, has been active in the effort. Darien coach Jeff Brameier thought the New Canaan game would be the right platform to help raise awareness. It is another example of where the sports world comes together for a cause that transcends sports.
5. It seems to me, on a personal note, this may be one of the few times I wish I could watch a high school game from the stands and be a fan. My father played lacrosse in college and has made a remarkable recovery after suffering a stroke last September. I’m taking him to the game on Saturday: what better way to get introduced to the Darien-New Canaan rivalry? I’ll be interested to hear his thoughts: I’m not sure he realizes what he is in for, especially the atmosphere. It is too bad I won’t be able to enjoy the game with him, but I am sure that opportunity will happen soon before the season ends.
6. It seems to me this doesn’t really have anything to do with the game, but congratulations to New Canaan boys golf coach Bill Brown on his 250th career win. He is one of the unsung heroes of the school’s athletic department.