Greenwich gave boys lacrosse rival Darien all it could handle during the season’s first two meetings between the longtime FCIAC foes.
The Blue Wave edged the Cardinals in double overtime at Cardinal Stadium on May 17, then posted a gritty three-goal win in the FCIAC semifinals at Brien McMahon May 24. Holding a one-goal lead following the first quarter of today’s CIAC Class L Tournament quarterfinals against the host Blue Wave, the Cardinals seemed primed to be right in it until the end again, but then the second quarter commenced.
Trailing by a goal, top-seeded Darien scored seven times during the second quarter, then added six more goals in the third quarter. All of that coupled with rock-solid defensive play, resulted in a trip to the Class L Tournament semifinals for the Blue Wave.
Senior attack Matt Minicus showcased his dynamic playmaking ability, recording three goals and eight assists, sophomore attack Brady Pokorny scored a game-high six goals and senior midfielder Joe Cesare had a hat trick with an assist to power No. 1 Darien past eighth-seeded Greenwich, 16-4, in the Class L quarterfinals.
The Blue Wave (19-2) advanced to Wednesday’s ClAC Class L Tournament semifinals, where they will face fifth-seeded Fairfield Prep at a site yet to be determined. Fairfield Prep moved on by rolling to a 22-5 quarterfinal-round win over fourth-seeded New Milford.
Last season saw Prep defeat Darien in the state tournament quarterfinals, 14-10.
“We’re probably going to see Prep and we’ve got a little bitter taste in our mouth from losing to them here in the quarterfinals last year,” said Darien senior midfielder Finn Pokorny, who also paced the offense, tallying two goals and one assist. “We have to hand it to Greenwich, it’s hard to beat a team three times. That second quarter we got things going and just got our shots down. We’re not going to take any team lightly going forward.”
Senior attack/captain Bryce Metalios registered two goals and two assists, while senior midfielder/captain Flynn Milledge had one goal and one assist for the Cardinals, who finished their 2022 campaign with a record of 13-7.
“It was awesome, we always call each other a family, because of how close we are,” Metalios said of his senior season. “It’s sad it’s all over, you can see the emotion on everyone’s faces.”
The Cardinals were hampered by the fact senior FOGO/midfielder Quinn Warwick could not take faceoffs due to an injured thumb. Warwick tore a ligament in his thumb during Greenwich’s 15-2 Class L opening-round win against ninth-seeded Amity and though he played in today’s matchup, he was limited.
“He’s one of the better FOGO’s in the state and we had guys step up,” Greenwich coach Bobby Lutz said. “We just didn’t have the ball enough today. “The first quarter was great, absolutely great. We were able to match them, then it starts getting away and it’s hard to come back when you don’t have the ball.”
Senior Tighe Cummiskey was outstanding on faceoffs for the Blue Wave, winning 15 for the game.
“Their faceoff crew was hurt by not having Quinn,” said Darien coach Jeff Brameier, whose squad has won nine straight games. “Taking nothing about from Tighe, he had a good game and dominated out there. For a while, it was make, it take it.”
Both goalies – Darien senior Cam Weibel and Greenwich senior Charlie Zola – made impressive saves during a defensive-minded first quarter. The Cards took a 1-0 lead with a goal just before time expired in the opening quarter.
Minicus scored Darien’s first goal off a dodge 43 seconds into the second quarter, knotting the score at 1-1. At the 8:26 mark of the second quarter, Brady Pokorny gathered a ground ball near the crease and snapped a shot past Zola, making it 3-1.
After Metalios tallied on a low shot with 7:02 remaining in the second stanza, bringing Greenwich to within 3-2, Darien scored the final four goals of the quarter, with Finn Porkorny netting a pair and Minicus converting a perimeter shot.
“The first quarter we had to get the jitters out,” Finn Pokorny said. “There were a couple of dropped passes, a couple of turnovers, I think we had four turnovers in the first quarter. The second quarter, we relaxed a little bit and got the confidence up.”
Said Minicus, who enabled the offense to jell: “We practice those plays all the time and I’m very happy they worked today. That’s a great zone defense and I’m happy we put up 16 goals on them.”
Unlike the FCIAC semifinals, when Greenwich limited Darien to one-second half goal, the Blue Wave added on to its advantage with a six-goal third quarter.
“The second quarter has been a struggle for us a lot this year and they kind of found that sweet spot in our defense and they kept running that over and over and they hammered that down,” Greenwich junior defensive midfielder Matthew Trimmer said. “At halftime we had a good feeling, we were in the same position at FCIAC semis, it was 7-2. When they got those couple of goals to start it off they started rolling.”
Indeed, Darien has been a laser-focused team on a mission since falling to Fairfield Prep in last seasons’ state tournament quarterfinals.
“It feels great, I’m grateful for everything,” Pokorny said of the team’s win. “It’s my last time on this field, I’m glad we went out with an exclamation point. We’re probably going to see Prep and we’ve got a little bitter taste in our mouth from losing to them here in the quarterfinals.”
“We lost in the quarters last year, but we are trying to win it all,” added Minicus.
Today’s game marked the final one for Greenwich’s 19 seniors.
“I love all my teammates, all my coaches,” GHS senior midfielder/captain James Pilc said. “We had so much fun and I always looked forward to practice every day. All the games were so much fun, we had such a good group of guys and we were pretty successful.”
“We pushed the culture forward, which was a goal of ours,” Pilc continued. “Obviously, we didn’t win FCIACs or states, but I think still we had a very successful season. When I look back and I hope my teammates know me for being a great friend and great leader and great captain for both basketball and lacrosse. I hope I left my imprint at GHS.”
Said Trimmer: “It’s tough to see 19 seniors to walk away but we have some young guys in the program and we have a lot to look forward to, but it’s tough to say goodbye to all those seniors.”
“This was one of the best teams I’ve ever had,” Lutz said. “It was not just about them playing well. They all believed in each other throughout the season.”
Categories: Greenwich High, Spring sports
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