The Darien Blue Wave will be starting the season in a familiar place as the preseason No. 1 team in Connecticut and a Top 25 team nationally,
Dariens surge as a program has been engineered by Jeff Brameier, who is in his 24th year as coach.
Brameier, who was named Connecticut coach of the year in 1988, 92, 97 and 99), has led the Blue Wave to four straight state titles and five overall in his tenure. During that time, hes had 49 all-America players.
We caught up with Brameier today.
If you had to pinpoint a few keys, how has Darien grown into a national power the last few years?
I think the strength of our program lies in the consistent relationship between the youth program and the high school program. There is a distinct bond to the success of lacrosse throughout the town, and the community support is tremendous. We have had a consistency in winning and competing for both league and state titles having won 11 league titles since our first one in 1992 and have been to the state semifinals every year since 1988. So you can use the old adage that success breeds success.
Could you describe your system on both offense and defense? And overall, what areas of the game do you stress with your players?
Offensively and defensively, we like to consider ourselves multi-dimensional, meaning we do not like to allow our opponents to be comfortable in knowing exactly what they will face when they compete against us.
Offensively, we like to be very up-tempo and believe that it is important to get your shots. We like to have scoring balance and usually have four or five guys every year that hit the 80-point mark.
Defensively, we are quick and aggressive, but rely a lot on our athleticism and great goaltending. Again, we run a complex offensive and defensive scheme which makes it more difficult to prepare to play us.
How does this year’s team look? What do you think something strengths will be? What players will have leadership roles?
Coming off four straight state championships, we believe that this team has all the tools to continue the tradition and we will work very hard in our Drive for Five.
We have great defensive quickness and skill with leaders coming from Corey Caputo (captain, Hofstra), Matt Gorski (Ohio State), Ryan Mulligan (Gettysburg) and outstanding goaltending from junior Andrew West and/or senior Mike Klein.
Offensively, we return a number of key players. Tyler Foley (captain, Loyola) can plays both attack and midfield and will be a major threat at all times. Nikki Dysenchuk (captain, Dartmouth) is a great athlete and quarterback of the offense from his attack position, while John Bolton (Lafayette), Kevin Green (Endicott) and Chas Brickman (Denison) should help continue the usual offensive balance.
How do you view the race this year in the FCIAC? What teams will be your biggest challengers?
The FCIAC is the toughest league in the state bar none. Top teams this year will be Ridgefield, which returns a great offensive unit; Wilton, which has a great tradition and a good nucleus returning; Greenwich, which has lots of great athletes; New Canaan, our archrival and a team that’s always in the hunt; and Brien McMahon, which is very fast and athletic.
How important are regional rivalries in preparing your team for the postseason, such as your annual series against Yorktown?
I believe that our program began to prosper when it took on the challenges of playing inter-regional games.
We have a great rivalry now with Yorktown and Manhasset and those two games are as heated as any of our league or state championship games, so they definitely give us an early taste of that kind of intensity and level of play.
We will be travel to Haverford to play Malvern Prep this year and this promises to be another great challenge for our program and another measuring stick for us on the national stage.
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Next up: Fairfield preseason players to watch.
You can also reach Joe Lombardi at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted In: Interviews