I’m not one for hyperbole. But when it comes to a high school lacrosse program, Darien is as good as it gets.
The Blue Wave, after all, have won six straight state titles.
How many other teams can say that?
Clearly, the Blue Wave have been dominant during that stretch.
But in 2011, they may have their best team during that span.
As far as I can tell, when you combine offensive and defensive prowess, the Blue Wave are the top team in the Hudson Valley/Long Island/Connecticut region entering the season.
Darien has an astonishing 14 college-committed players.
And 28th-year head coach Jeff Brameier has constructed what I believe is the Blue Wave’s most challenging schedule ever — highlighted by a showdown against the team ranked No. 1 in the Inside Lacrosse/Under Armour preseason power rankings, Haverford, on April 16. (Darien is ranked 16th.)
Brameier, left, who picked up career win No. 400 in 2009, breaks down the 2011 Blue Wave. We start with a Q&A, followed by key players on offense and defense, as well as the schedule and listing of college committed players.
In short, everything you need to know about what could be the best team in Darien history.
First, here’s a Q&A with Coach B on the 2011 Blue Wave.
What do you thinks the strengths of this year’s team are?
Strengths in this year’s team is clearly our balance at every position, but most importantly our senior leadership and talent level at the defensive end of the field.
What areas would you like to see improvement?
I think one of the weaknesses in our game is the off-ball play – on both sides of the ball, but particularly on the offensive side. With the skill set and offensive prowess that we possess, we should be better at the two-man game and working with and without the ball in the 6 vs. 6 picture.
Can you give an overview of the offensive system you use?
Offensively we have always run an “option offense” – not predicated as much on sets as it is on philosophy.
How does the offense look?
We return the bulk of our scoring from last year and the kids have been working extremely hard in the offseason to improve their skills, speed and strength levels.
Can you give an overview of the defense?
Defense has been tremendous in our run through the past six state championships and this year’s group promises to be in an elite group.
The FCIAC has become more and more competitive each season. How do you compare the strength of the conference overall to five years ago?
The FCIAC has had major shifts in coaching changes in the past five years. With that comes a timetable for change and program developments that allow the new coaches a chance to establish themselves and build from the youth up.
New Canaan, Wilton and Greenwich will continue to be outstanding established programs that will always vie for league and state titles as well as play formidable schedules outside of the state. McMahon was young last year, but looks to be strong. Fairfield-Ludlowe returns stronger with the return of the Errett twins from Trinity Pawling. St. Joe’s is becoming an established stronghold in class S and surely more and more competitive in the upper tier of the FCIAC. Staples is starting the feel the effects of Paul McNulty’s experience as was demonstrated by the best ever season last year. All in all – the league is much stronger overall than it has ever been in overall balance.
Outside the FCIAC, your April 16 game against Haverford has been already getting quite a bit of attention. Are you looking forward to it as well?
Haverford and its annual Checking for Cancer tournament is a great venue for us and we are looking forward to that opportunity. Certainly, Haverford has established itself as a marquee program and one that we are happy to have an opportunity to compete against.
We pride ourselves in always trying to play the toughest out-of-state schedule that we can find, and this year may be the best ever – Haverford, St. Anthony’s, Manhassett, Yorktown and Niskayuna. These are all great programs and we have established great rivalries with Manhassett and Yorktown. We’re hoping to do the same with St. Anthony’s and Niskayuna.
All About the Blue Wave
Record last year: 19-3
Class M state champions (beat New Fairfield 17-5),
FCIAC semifinalists (lost to Greenwich 8-7)
Offense: Case Matheis (jr.), top attackman, All-American and leading scorer from last year, committed to Duke; Graham Maybell (sr.), midfielder committed to Villanova; Henry West (jr.), midfield/attack – Committed to Cornell; Bobby Weaver (jr.), midfield, committed to Princeton; Richard Gregory (sr.), attack, committed to Union; Ben Preston (sr.), attack, committed to Trinity. Others to watch: Alex Brown (sr.) attack; Tim Murphy (jr.) middie; Jon Magnusson (jr.) middie.
Defense: Eric Parnon (sr.), captain, committed to Maryland, All-American; JP Walsh (sr.), short-stick d-middie, captain, committed to Lehigh, all-state; Justin Kolderup, (sr.), close defense, committed to Villanova; Baylis Treen (sr.), captain, long-stick middie, all-state, committed to Hamilton; Justin Shaw, (sr.) long-stick midfielder, committed to Loyola; Brandon Coley (sr.), faceoff, committed to RPI; Tony Britton (jr.), committed to Cornell; Dylan Torrey (sr.), goaltender, committed to Quinnipiac.
March 24 Thurs John Jay away 4:15 p.m.
March 26 Sat Darien Jamboree home 8 a.m.-1 p.m.
March 30 Wed Salisbury away 4 p.m.
April 2 Sat Darien Jamboree home 8 a.m.-1 p.m.
April 6 Wed St. Joseph’s home 4 p.m.
April 9 Sat Greenwich away 1 p.m.
April 12 Tues Danbury home 4 p.m.
April 14 Thurs Wilton home 4:30 p.m.
April 16 Sat Haverford away TBA
April 20 Wed Yorktown home 4 p.m.
April 23 Sat McMahon home 1 p.m.
April 27 Wed St. Anthony’s away 7 p.m.
April 30 Sat Niskayuna home 3 p.m.
May 3 Tues Fairfield-Ludlowe away 7 p.m.
May 5 Thur Manhasset home 4:30 p.m.
May 7 Sat New Canaan away 4 p.m.
May 10 Tues Fairfield-Warde away 4 p.m.
May 12 Thurs Westhill home 4 p.m.
May 14 Sat Norwalk home 1 p.m.
May 18 Wed Ridgefield home 4 p.m.
College committed players
Tony Britton, defense, Cornell, jr.
Brandon Coley, faceoff middie, RPI, sr.
Richard Gregory, attack/midfield, Union, sr.
Christian Kolderup, defense, Villanova, sr.
Case Matheis, attack, Duke, jr.
Graham Maybell, midfield, Villanova, sr.
Eric Parnon, defense, Maryland, sr.
Ben Preston, attack, Trinity, sr.
Justin Shaw, defense, Loyola, sr.
Dylan Torey, goaltender, Quinnipiac, sr.
Baylis Treen, defense, Lafayette, sr.
Bobby Weaver, midfield, Princeton, jr.
Henry West, midfield, Cornell, jr.