Darien High School's boys lacrosse team went 12-0 against Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference teams and was undefeated against state opponents heading into Tuesday night's game against Greenwich.
The Cardinals ended both streaks, defeating the Blue Wave, 8-7, in the FCIAC semifinals at Brien McMahon. The Cardinals (10-7) advance to play New Canaan in Friday's championship game. Darien (15-3) awaits the Class M state tournament.
Tuesday's contest was a thrilling affair that came down to the final seconds. The Blue Wave pressed for the equalizer late in the game and had several opportunities, including two shots by Case Matheis that bounced away after hitting the post. Greenwich goalie Daniel Feeney (11 saves) also made several saves on Darien attackers from close range.
"This is the kind of game where I don't think either team was comfortable until the final score,'' Darien coach Jeff Brameier said. "Every possession was crucial and every shot was crucial. We had our opportunities. We hit two pipes in the last two minutes. They just didn't go in tonight."
Colin Dunster scored the eventual game-winning goal for Greenwich with 16.8 seconds left in the third quarter. Henry West and Aiden Frelinghuysen scored two apiece for Darien, while Matheis, Graham Maybell and Brian Annecchino had one apiece. Brian Gleason added two assists.
Greenwich scored 1:13 into the game and built a 4-1 lead. The Cards led 5-2 before Darien scored four answered goals, capped by Annechino's goal 31 seconds into the second half for its first and only lead of the game. Greenwich scored the next two, but Maybell tied it with 31.6 seconds left in the third quarter at 7-7 before Dunster's game-winner.
Todd Stafford and David Fraser had two each for Greenwich (10-7), which lost to Darien 9-2 on May 19. The Cardinals suffered injuries early on in the season but are hitting their peak for the postseason.
"Darien is a very good team,'' said Greenwich coach Scott Bulkley, a former Darien star. "I've been telling our team, 'if you play together you can beat any team in the state,' and tonight proved it. I feel good for my guys, because I know how hard they worked to get here."
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