Darien pulls away to beat Ridgefield, 14-6

The Ridgefield High softball team celebrates its win over West Haven in the second round of the Class LL state tournament. — Christian Abraham / Hearst Connecticut Media
The Ridgefield High softball team celebrates its win over West Haven in the second round of the Class LL state tournament. — Christian Abraham / Hearst Connecticut Media

It would’ve been very easy for the Darien boys lacrosse team to let emotions get in the way during Friday night showdown against Ridgefield. This was, after all, a rematch of last year's Class L final, in which Ridgefield's 9-8 upset victory ended Darien’s remarkable 76-game winning streak.

In the end, the emotions were in control, and so was Darien.

The top-ranked Blue Wave broke open a close game with eight unanswered goals in the second half, rolling to a 14-6 victory over No. 2 Ridgefield in a steady rain at Darien High School.

Seniors Hudson Pokorny and Henri Pfeifle each had a hat trick for Darien, which had eight players find the net. And the Wave did it all while running Ridgefield's offense.

“We tried to make sure that the emotions from last year’s loss didn’t get the best of us,” Pokorny, a co-captain, said. “Coach B (Jeff Brameier) had a great game plan; we practiced a lot of what they were doing, so we thought we could beat them with their own offense. This means a lot, under the lights and in an awesome atmosphere.”

“Their guys shot the ball very well,” Ridgefield head coach Roy Colsey said. “My goalie, Dan Parson, played insane and they still had 14 goals, and they were running my offense. They called it ‘Tiger’ and that’s my two-man game, but it is what it is. Of all the teams that should be able to stop those shots, it should be Ridgefield and we didn’t. They ran it well and their kids shoot very well on the run.”

Darien (3-0) also received a great effort from its sophomore goalie Andy Demopoulos, who made 10 saves under a huge spotlight. Several times, he and Ridgefield goalie Parson traded great stops.

Parson was also strong in goal for Ridgefield, shutting off several great shots by the Wave while making 15 saves.

“Dan is a tremendous leader,” Colsey said. “He’s a quiet guy; he doesn’t say a lot, but that’s how he leads. He leads by making saves and doing whatever he can for his team. He was incredible tonight. It could’ve been a lot worse if he didn’t play so well.”

“He was amazing,” Pokorny said about Parson. “We definitely had to pick our shots well. He made a lot of good saves low and a lot of good saves high. We stuck with it and were able to put it in.”

The Wave had an early lead at 3-1 as Pokorny scored twice in the first quarter, with Darien’s Colin Ruppenstein and Ridgefield’s John Mathes also scoring.

Darien never surrendered the lead after that, but the Tigers stayed close. The Wave led 4-3 at halftime and boosted that to 6-3 on goals by Jackson Peters and Ruppenstein to begin the third quarter.

Wes Carpenter answered for Ridgefield with 9:08 to play in the third, closing the gap to 6-4.

After Parson and Demopoulos made spectacular saves on consecutive plays, Darien took over.

Pfeifle scored back-to-back goals, the second assisted by senior co-captain Tommy Hellman, for an 8-4 lead after three quarters.

Hellman then ripped in a shot 1:17 into the fourth quarter and Darien was off to the races. Pokorny completed his hat trick with 8:07 remaining and after Jack Bogdan scored, Pfeifle got his third goal for a 12-4 lead with 5:35 remaining.

For the Blue Wave, the win capped a great first week in which they also defeated out-of-state rival Yorktown. Ridgefield, meanwhile, will look to bounce back after the loss.

“We played a pretty decent first half and a not-so-great second half,” Colsey said. “They definitely beat us to the ground balls. We know we’re coming in here with a huge target on our back and in the second half, they just wanted the game more than we did. Hats off to them. They came out, they performed, and they played four strong quarters.”

Notes: Eliot Hynes had two goals for Ridgefield. Ray Dearth, James Isaacson, Mathes, and Carpenter added one goal apiece. Mathes and Dearth each contributed one assist.