Have we seen Connecticut's best team ever?
Is Darien the best team we have seen in Connecticut high school lacrosse? When asked that very question Darien coach Jeff Brameier said, "We'll let the bloggers and the pollsters figure it out, but in my history book, they're going on top." Because I’d hate to disappoint the coach, let’s dive and blog away…. I would agree with Coach, this team was special if not the best certainly up there in the top two or three team ever in the state!
Darien was only the sixth team in Connecticut High School history to go undefeated, the last being the Darien 2005 team.
It might help to take a look at the other undefeated teams in state history
New Canaan 1982 Undefeated but not sure of record.
New Canaan 1990 18-0 No National Ranking Available
Wilton 1995 was 22-0 Ranked 2nd Nationally
New Canaan 2003 22-0. Ranked 18th Nationally
Darien 2005 23-0 Ranked 8th Nationally
So is Darien 2014 the better than the above undefeated teams? Let’s take a look.
According to Nike/Us Lacrosse Darien 2014 is ranked 1st in the Northeast Region, 5th Nationally behind Boys Latin, Culver Academy and Malvern Prep. And Georgetown Prep (Question being ranked behind 19-1 Georgetown Prep.) and won the FCIAC Championships as well as the Class M Championships.
They dominated the out of state teams like Yorktown (11th Nationally), St. Anthony’s (15th Nationally), Manhasset and Niskayuna all of which considered top teams nationally certainly backs up the premise that 2014 was the best team ever.
The Blue Wave defense was extraordinary giving up an average of 4.43 goals per game behind Evanchik, Hamernick, McCarthy and Hufford. Darien was no slouch on the offensive end averaging 14 goals per game in one of the stingiest leagues in the country behind players like Lindley, Cornell, Burgoyne, Reed, Minicus and Kniffen.
But, what impressed me most about this 2014 Darien Team was the way they played together – unselfish - disciplined and confident. The team was a “team” yes they had some terrific players but they didn’t have one or two standout players it all just worked as well oiled machine each player embraced their role. Darien’s confidence level was not that of a cocky one, it was calming and focused. They always felt as though they were in control and could win the game. Coach Brameier said, “this is a team that has a mission” which could be felt in each time they stepped on the field - never panicked and always comfortable in their game.
So back to my original question, is Darien best we have ever seen? I think they certainly have to be considered as one of the best, an argument can be made for Wilton’s 1995 team that ended the season 22-0 ranked #2 Nationally, but one could argue Darien is in a different pool than 1995 Wilton. In 1995 there were a hand full of teams in Connecticut that had real established programs - 2014 there 87 teams and growing, more FCIAC parity and greater out of state competition – so I would vote for 2014 Darien as the best team in CT Lax History, OK, 1995 Wilton was pretty good too.