Darien High School's boys lacrosse team was leading by three goals and looking for the knockout blow late in the third period of Saturday's game against New Canaan. Rich Gregory delivered it.
The Blue Wave scored three goals within 53 seconds, including a pair by Gregory, en route to an 11-5 win over the Rams at Dunning Field. Gregory scored five goals as Darien improved to 10-2 overall and 7-0 in the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference.
"I've never had a game like this against a great team like New Canaan,'' Gregory said. "It's nice to come up with a good game against them. We knew they were going to play us tough. It's always a rivalry game."
Gregory proved to be the difference. With the Blue Wave up 7-4, he scored with 1:44 on a nice pass from Preston to make it 8-4. He struck again 28 seconds later, assisted by Graham Maybell. Preston ended the outburst with an unassisted goal with 51 seconds left. Just like that, Darien's quick-strike offense ended any suspense about the game's outcome.
"Those were all transition goals,'' said Gregory, who will play at Union College next year. "We made some nice passes and that's the way we like to play."
Gregory's big day paced a balanced attack for Darien. Bobby Weaver scored two goals and collected two assists. Case Matheis, Graham Maybell, Scotty Waters and Preston added one each. Preston also had two assists.
Darien is undefeated against state competition and has won six of its last seven games. In the past week, the Blue Wave has defeated three top-tier teams, including Niskayuna of New York, Fairfield Ludlowe and New Canaan. With just four regular-season games left, Darien appears to be rounding into form for as it tries to win its ninth state championship and 12th league championship.
"Definitely, we feel like we're where we want to be,'' Gregory said. "I think we're playing our best at this point in the season. A rivalry game like this brings out the best in us. They were a good team. We needed to have a good effort."
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