Perfect Wave finishes No. 1 in state, No. 2 in nation in boys lacrosse

It was a three-peat three ways this spring for the undefeated Darien High School boys’ lacrosse team and then, for good measure, the Blue Wave was ranked the No. 2 high school team in the nation to support the argument that this was perhaps the greatest team in school history of this true dynasty coach Jeff Brameier has wrought.

Darien won its third consecutive FCIAC boys lacrosse championship and its third straight state championship to cap off its undefeated 23-0 season. Consequently, Darien was unanimously ranked No. 1 in the final 2016 GameTimeCT/Register Top 10 Boys Lacrosse Poll for the third straight year.

Darien led the way for the conference’s dominance in that final Top 10 state poll as the FCIAC had the top three ranked teams and six of the top eight.

The Blue Wave was ranked second in the final MaxPreps Xcellent 25 National Boys Lacrosse Rankings behind top-ranked Victor (N.Y.), the Class A state champion which maintained its No. 1 ranking for most of the season, finished 22-0 this year and will take a 44-game winning streak into next season. There were no other teams from Connecticut in the national top 25 rankings.

New Canaan (18-4), which won the state Class M championship with a 13-2 victory over Daniel Hand, was ranked second in the final state Top 10 poll. The defending champion Rams won four straight games in the Class M tournament, outscoring their opposition by a 51-18 margin, since a 9-5 loss to Darien in the FCIAC championship on May 26.

Ridgefield (16-4), which was beaten, 10-7, by New Canaan in the FCIAC semifinals and later beaten by Darien, 10-6, in the Class L state tournament semifinals, was ranked No. 3.

Simsbury (20-2) was No. 4 while Staples (16-4) was the fourth FCIAC team among the top five.

FCIAC member Wilton (13-6) was tied with Fairfield Prep (17-4) for No. 7 and Greenwich (11-8) was the sixth FCIAC team ranked among the top eight.

Glastonbury (15-3) and Somers (18-3) were ranked ninth and 10th, respectively to complete the final state Top 10 poll.

Kevin Lindley and Jack Kniffin each fired in three goals to help lead top-seeded Darien to a convincing 18-3 victory over a very good Simsbury team in the championship game of the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference Boys Class L Lacrosse Tournament. The Blue Wave outscored its four state tournament foes by a dominant 65-13 margin.

Darien has now won a dozen state championships since its first one in 1997, including 10 since 2005. Darien, which won its first FCIAC championship in 1992, has the record of 15 conference championships, having won 13 of them in the last 20 years. Wilton is second with 12 FCIAC titles and New Canaan is third with nine.

Darien senior defenseman Mark Evanchick was named the Connecticut State Player of the Year by U.S. Lacrosse, the national governing body for high school lacrosse. The organization also named 16 players from the state as All-Americans, including 12 from the FCIAC and a conference-high five from Darien. Evanchick, Kniffin (a senior attack), junior goalie Ryan Cornell, senior midfielder Hudson Hamill and senior attack Colin Minicus were Darien’s five All-Americans.

The other seven All-Americans from the FCIAC included: junior goalie Drew Morris, senior midfielder Kyle Smith and senior defender David Strupp of New Canaan, senior midfielder Peter Dearth and senior defender Chase Lavesque of Ridgefield, senior midfielder Will Perry of Greenwich and senior midfielder R.J. Romeo of Wilton.

Greenwich seniors Vijay Kadiyala and Scooter Harrington, and Darien senior Rock Stewart were among the 16 players from the state named Academic All-Americans by U.S. Lacrosse.

Darien was also voted No. 1 in the final MSG Varsity Tri-State Boys Lacrosse Top 20.

Delbarton (N.J.) was ranked second behind Darien and followed by four teams from Long Island – St. Anthony’s, Warde Melville, Cold Spring Harbor and Connetquot – and seventh-ranked New Canaan.

There were 13 teams from New York, four from Connecticut and three from New Jersey in that tri-state Top 20 poll. Also from the FCIAC, Ridgefield was ranked 11th. The Brunswick School from Greenwich was ranked ninth.

Darien beat two teams from New York ranked in the final MSG Varsity Top 20 poll. Darien won an 8-7 thriller at home over St. Anthony’s on May 5, and prior to that the Blue Wave posted a 12-3 victory at 14th-ranked Yorktown.

Evanchick was the Player of the Year on the 2016 MSG Varsity All-Metro Boys Lacrosse First Team. Minicus (a team-high 119 points with 52 goals and a school single-season record 67 assists) and Perry (52 goals and 31 assists) were the other FCIAC players on the 14-player All-Metro team.

Darien Blue Wave players celebrate a goal during the FCIAC boys lacrosse final at Brien McMahon’s Jack Casagrande Field. — Dave Stewart/HAN Network photo