Holding a one-goal, second half lead against a Darien squad that is ranked No. 1 in Class L and sixth in the nation, Greenwich’s boys lacrosse team was on the cusp of producing a signature win before its home crowd under the lights on Tuesday night.
Instead, the Cardinals settled for being a part of a classic confrontation in a regular season finale that went to double overtime before the victor emerged.
With each possession becoming more crucial, Darien cashed in on an opportunity that sent it to victory, courtesy of Matthew Minicus.
A senior attack, Minicus scored with 2:01 remaining in the second overtime session, lifting Darien to a 9-8 win over Greenwich in a back-and-forth battle at crowded Cardinal Stadium.
“It was a tough way for the game to end for us, but we played great against one of the best teams in the country and the best team in the state,” said Cardinals senior goalie/captain Charlie Zola, who registered 11 saves for the game. “Holding a team like Darien to nine goals is a good accomplishment. Our defense has definitely continued to improve as we showed tonight.”
Senior midfielder/captain James Pilc recorded a team-high three goals to pace the Cardinals, who finished the regular season with a record of 11-5. Pilc sent the game into overtime by tallying with just 22 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, tying the scoring at 8-8. His equalizer came off a nifty dodge near the left wing area.
“I had the ball at the X, I saw my matchup, then I kind of looked to pass, but cut hard to the right, came around the crease and was able to score,” Pilc said of his game-tying goal. “For me, personally, it was one of the biggest goals I’ve ever scored and for the team it was big. We had our chances in overtime and there are no moral victories in a loss, but we still played a very good game and we have some momentum going into the FCIAC Tournament.”
The eight-team FCIAC Tournament begins Saturday, with the higher seeded squads hosting the quarterfinal-round matchups. The seeds will soon be announced.
Senior attack/captain Bryce Metalios, freshman attack Mike Brescia, senior midfielder/captain Flynn Milledge, junior attack Brian Collins and senior midfielder/captain Quinn Warwick scored one goal apiece for the Cardinals, who trailed 4-2 following the first quarter and 5-3 at halftime.
“We played really well in our last game against Wilton, their goalie just played lights out, so the score didn’t really reflect that and we carried that type of play into tonight’s game,” Greenwich coach Bobby Lutz said of the Cards’ 9-3 loss to Wilton this past Saturday. “We did not put a lot of pressure on ourselves coming into this game and I thought we played very well. Our zone was effective against them. They made some adjustments against our zone during the course of the game and we made adjustments.”
Trailing 5-3, GHS closed to within a goal of the Blue Wave when Warwick converted a perimeter shot from 10 yards out with 8:22 remaining in the third quarter. Milledge tallied from the right side, evening the score at 5-5 at the 5:17 mark of the third quarter.
“We were all playing for each other throughout the game and we left it all out on the field,” Milledge said. “During overtime, Zola made two really big stops and we had our chances to score, we just came up a little short.”
Collins gave Greenwich its first lead of the game, bouncing a shot past Darien senior goalie Cameron Weibel, putting the home team on top, 6-5, with 4:04 to go in the third frame. The Blue Wave responded with two straight goals, the second of which was tallied by sophomore attackman Wyatt Bowman, making it 7-6 with 11:22 remaining in the final quarter.
Creating a shooting angle for himself by escaping a defender, Pilc converted a shot from approximately 10 yards out, knotting the score at 7-7 with 4:02 left in the fourth quarter. Darien took a brief 8-7 edge with 52 seconds left to play, then Pilc forced overtime with a dramatic goal with 22 seconds showing on the clock in the final quarter.
“We played the way we should be playing,” said Warwick, who did a stellar job on faceoffs for the Cardinals. “Overall, we played well, with a lot of guys stepping up, like Brendan Frost and John Scarlata on defense.”
Both goalies were strong in goal for their respective squads. Weibel made six first half saves on his way to a solid night, while Zola made key stops throughout. Junior Matthew Trimmer, senior Brendan Frost, and senior John Scarlata helped pace the Cards’ zone defense.
“That was the most fun I’ve ever had playing in a lacrosse game,” Scarlata said. “Taking one of the best teams in the country to a double overtime shows that we can beat anyone and it gives us a lot to build on heading into the playoffs.”
Ranked No. 6 in the Inside Lacrosse Top 25 High School Power Rankings, Darien finished its regular season with an overall mark of 15-2 and a 10-1 record in the FCIAC.
Categories: Greenwich High, Spring sports
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