Darien routs Ridgefield, 20-4, in FCIAC boys lax finals

One way to recognize a team's greatness is by looking at its numbers — records, statistics, rankings, championships, etc.

There is also a more aesthetically pleasing way: Watch the team play.

Those who witnessed Darien's performance against Ridgefield in the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference boys lacrosse championship game Thursday night have a better understanding of why the Blue Wave is unbeaten and ranked first in one national poll.

With its skill, speed, smarts and aggressiveness apparent all over the field, top-seed Darien demolished third-seed Ridgefield, 20-4, at Brien McMahon High School in Norwalk.

[The game was broadcast on the HAN Network. To watch, click here.]

It was the fourth straight conference title and 50th consecutive win for the Blue Wave, who are now 19-0 this season and haven't lost since a triple-overtime setback against New Canaan during the 2015 regular season.

Ridgefield's hope of being the team that snapped Darien's win streak vanished early. After the Blue Wave struck first, Dawson Muller's goal pulled Ridgefield into a 1-1 tie with 8:08 left in the first quarter.

Five seconds later, Darien was ahead to stay. Tanner Strub won the ensuing face-off, sprinted into Ridgefield territory, and fed Kevin Lindley for a 2-1 Blue Wave advantage.

Darien added four more unanswered goals to end the first period with a 6-1 lead and was ahead 11-4 at halftime.

Ridgefield's three second-quarter goals inspired Darien to ramp up its imposing defense, and the Blue Wave pitched a second-half shutout. Seven straight goals gave Darien an 18-4 lead through three quarters and the final 12 minutes saw both teams remove their starters with the outcome decided.

Notes: Muller finished with two goals for the Tigers. Greg Gatto and Trey Soli also scored for Ridgefield, which is 15-4 going into the Class L state tournament.

Junior attackman Logan McGovern had six goals to pace Darien. Lindley added four goals and Riley Stewart and Finlay Collins each scored two goals.

Ridgefield goalie Dan Parson was credited with 10 saves, while Darien keepers Ryan Cornell (six) and Sean Collins (one) combined for seven stops.

Darien defenseman Arden Cohen, a senior transfer from the Gunnery, was named the Most Valuable Player. Cohen, who is widely regarded as one of the country's top-10 players, successfully hounded Gatto throughout the first three quarters.

When Darien took a 12-goal lead in the third quarter, the game was played with a running clock.

The Blue Wave has now outscored its opponents by a combined 319-79 this season.