We continue our new feature, “Player’s perspective” with one of the top underclassmen in the Hudson Valley/Long Island/Connecticut region.
Darien attackman Case Matheis, who became the first freshman to start in coach Jeff Brameier’s 26-year tenure with the Blue Wave, helped the Blue Wave win their fifth straight Class M state title.
What have you been doing to get ready for the season?
I made a tough decision this year to take a year off from DHS varsity hockey so I could focus on lacrosse. I think it has really paid off because I feel really ready for the season. Some of the guys from the lacrosse team and I have been lifting three times a week at Body Tuning in Darien, and Ive put on nearly 20 pounds. Also, Ive taken advantage of the new SoNo Field House in Norwalk where I have been playing lacrosse at least three times a week.
Can you talk about some of the key players you lost from last year and how you think you will be able to replace them?
We graduated a lot of talent last year, guys like John Bolton (Lafayette), Tyler Foley (Loyola), Nikki Dysenchuk (Dartmouth), Corey Caputo (Hofstra), Ryan Mulligan (Gettysburg), Matt Gorski (Ohio State) and Chas Brickman (Denison), and we will definitely miss them this year. The great thing about Darien, though, is there are so many really talented guys just waiting to get a chance to play. I know a lot of people talk about how Darien just reloads, but its true. The youth program in Darien is amazing. That, along with Coach Bs (Jeff Brameier’s) system, develops a really deep bench.
How does your scrimmage schedule look and which ones are you looking forward to most?
Our biggest scrimmages are versus John Jay (March 25) and Salisbury (March 31). We also usually have a jamboree that brings some of the best teams from the tri-state area. Last year it included West Islip and Fairfield Prep. The biggest scrimmage Im looking forward to is definitely Salisbury.
What players on your team do you think will surprise some people this season?
What I think will surprise people about Darien this year is not one or two individuals, it will be how we perform as a team. I think people will be surprised by the quickness of our offense, our athleticism at the midfield, and a defense that looks to be as good or better than last years. I think people will also be surprised by how ready we are for the season. Because most of us have been playing together at SoNo, I think we will be as ready to start the season as we have ever been.
What do you think the strength of your team will be this year?
Our defense, team speed and team chemistry will be our biggest strengths. We have a great schedule including out-of-league games against Manhasset at West Point, Yorktown, Niskayuna and Conestoga. I dont think that many people are expecting as much from us as they did last year, but I think theyll be surprised.