It was a season of comebacks for the Darien Blue Wave.
A year after being denied in their quest for a seventh straight Connecticut Class M state title, the Blue Wave beat New Canaan 11-5 in the CIAC title game.
That big win was the result of another comeback. After all, Darien had fallen to Ridgefield 12-11 in the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference semifinals.
The Blue Wave’s 20-2 season also marked the starting debut of goaltender Phil Huffard. The sophomore played well from start to finish, so it was no surprise that Huffard committed to the admissions process at Yale over the summer.
But Huffard has two more varsity seasons left with the Blue Wave before joining the Bulldogs.
Huffard is expected to be back at 100 percent for the start of the season after suffering a broken hand.
Now, here are Phil’s perspectives on the 2013 season.
What have you been doing to get ready for the season?
Throughout the fall, the majority of our team has been practicing indoor at the Sono Field House in Norwalk. In November, Darien sent a team to Shoreham-Wading River Fall Classic where we played St Anthony’s, Yorktown and The Hill Academy.
Unfortunately I broke my hand, which means I can’t do any physical activity for 6-8 weeks, but the team has been working hard in the weight room and doing clinics at the Field House.
How does your schedule look, what games are you looking forward to most, and who are some of your scrimmages against?
This year, as always, our schedule is very strong. Our out-of-conference games include Manhasset, St. Anthony’s, Yorktown and
Niskayuna. We traditionally play Manhasset, St. Anthony’s and Yorktown.
Niskayuna is back on our schedule after not playing them last year. We also have games against our FCIAC rivals New Canaan,
Ridgefield, Greenwich and Wilton.
What player or players on your team do you think will surprise some people this season?
Our team graduated a lot of players from last year, which gives a lot of new players the opportunity to step in and make an impact.
But a few players on the offensive end of the field that I think will have major roles in our success are junior attackman John Reed and junior midfielder Harry Gillespie.
On the defensive side of the field, players that might surprise people are junior long-stick midfielder Brad McCarthy, sophomore defenseman Daniel Traver and sophomore defenseman Jack Feeley.
What do you think the strength of your team will be?
I believe the strength of our team will be our short-stick defensive midfielders, Peter Gesualdi and C.J. Raia. They are the only unit of our team in which we return both starters. They are both senior captains and are going to have to help our young defense early in the season.
Peter Lindley and Kevin Seiler return on attack, as well as two-way middies Kyle Cornell and Brendan Hathaway and defenseman Sam Meyjes.
How do you view the race in your league and who do you think some of the contending teams will be?
As is the case every year, there will be a lot of competition to be FCIAC champions.
New Canaan and Ridgefield will continue to be among the top contenders. Greenwich, which returns almost all of its starters. Wilton and Brien McMahon will also be strong contenders for the championship.
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