Much of the discussion in Connecticut heading into the 2011 season has centered on six-time Class M state champ Darien, defending FCIAC champion Greenwich, th talented New Canaan and Fairfield Prep teams, as well as private school powers Brunswick an Salisbury.
One team that has been flying under the radar a bit is Ridgefield, which defeated Darien twice in 2009, and won its first-ever FCIAC title.
We continue now going around the region to get the perspectives of leading players throughout the region by checking in with Ridgefield senior Andrew Buckanavage.
The 6-foot, 180-pound midfielder, who is bound for the University of Vermont, is one of the top returnees for third-year Ridgefield coach Roy Colsey.
Here’s Andrew’s perspective on the upcoming season:
What have you been doing to get ready for the season?
This fall we played in several tournaments as a team and played very well, especially at the last tournament where we started to mesh. We started lifting three times a week at the beginning of December and will continue up until the season starts. We have also been having captains’ practices indoors with agility and stick drills. In January, we start games at the Trumbull Sports Zone where we will play most of the local teams.
How does your schedule look, including scrimmages, and what games are you looking forward to?
This year we have a tough schedule which will test us at all points during the season but I think it will benefit us come playoff time. We start off the season with a scrimmage against Manhasset. This will be a tough test to start the season and will force us to play our “A” game right from the start. As for the regular season, we play a lot of the top teams in the FCIAC as well as tough games out of conference like John Jay, Yorktown and Somers. The game I’m looking forward to most is against Greenwich. Having won the FCIAC title last year, they are a team we have to beat.
What players on your team do you think will surprise some people this season?
While our seniors are talented, we are going to rely on our juniors and even some sophomores to step up this year and get some quality minutes. In goal, Adam Winne will be a big part of our team. He stepped up as a sophomore at the end of the season last year and I think that experience will help him be an impact right away. Another junior, Sean Riley, will play a key role this year and I think will be a big surprise to a lot of people. Senior Matt Dighton will be a huge part of our success, both at the faceoff X and on defense.
What do you think the strength of your team will be this year?
A strength of our team this year will be our chemistry. We played together all year long and have found ways that work well with everyone’s style of play. Another strength this year will be our coaching. The seniors have now played under Coach (Roy) Colsey and (Al) Meola for three years and I can see their philosophies taking hold and impacting the way we play.
How do you view the race in the FCIAC and who do you think the contending teams will be?
Like last year, I think that the FCIAC race will be close with a lot of teams contending for the championship; and anything is possible as Greenwich showed us last year. I definitely feel we have a chance to win but will have to beat top teams like Darien and Greenwich if we want the title. There will also be several other teams that contend including New Canaan, Wilton and McMahon who I think will be teams to look out for.
Ridgefield 2011 schedule
Wed April 6th
Ridgefield @ Somers- 7PM
Fri April 8th
Ridgefield @ Trumbull- 4PM
Tues April 12th
Staples @ Ridgefield- 6PM
Thurs April 14th
Fairfield-Warde @ Ridgefield- 6PM
Saturday April 16th
Ridgefield @ Summit, NJ- 12 NOON
Tues April 19th
Westhill @ Ridgefield – 1pm
Thursday April 21st
Ridgefield @ Stamford- 1pm
Mon April 25th
Norwalk @ Ridgefield- 6PM
Thurs April 28th
Wilton @ Ridgefield- 6PM
Sat April 30th
John Jay, NY @ Ridgefield- 1pm
Tues May 3rd
Ridgefield @ Greenwich- 5PM
Sat May 7th
Fairfield-Ludlowe @ Ridgefield- 3:00PM
Tues May 10th
Yorktown, NY @ Ridgefield- 6:30PM
Thurs May 12th
Ridgefield @ Brien McMahon- 7PM
Sat May 14th
Danbury @ Ridgefield- SENIOR NIGHT- 6PM
Weds May 18th
Ridgefield @ Darien- 4:30PM
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