Darien High School Spring 2012
THE DARIEN TIMES, THURSDAY, APRIL 5, 2012
‘They want to keep the tradition going’
Case Matheis (left) roars into his senior season top scorer for the past several years. (Darien Times/Steven Buono photo)
By Steven Buono Times Sports Editor Wave boys lax is steady as Old Man River, the defending league champs just keep rolling along. “Every year, we lose a few that had great years, and All-Americans and stuff, and we just look to reload,” said Darien veteran coach, and Conn. Lacrosse Hall of Fame inductee Jeff Brameier. “And (we’ll) make our mark. This year’s no different.” No different, and still, something not like anything else ever out on the field in blue and white — it is both. “Every year’s a new year, but in some ways, we do live off of the traditions of the past,” he added. “And this year’s, no different. “We’d like to think we’ve been the most consistent program the last 10-15 years.” The Wave returns senior Case
2012 Boys Lacrosse
Matheis — going to Duke since his sophomore year — as leading scorer, and premiere player in the land. And of course, it doesn’t stop there. “We have enough returning firepower to be competitive with the best in the state, and the best in the country,” said Brameier. “So, we are cautiously optimistic as we usually are this time of year.” Captains are Matheis, Henry West (Cornell), one of the top middies in the tri-state area, Tony Britton (Cornell), one of the top defenseman in the same wide local. “So that gives us three formidable players,” said Brameier. “And we fill in around them with guys that have considerable experience and talent.” Darien went 19-4 overall in 2011, and 13-1 in the league, beating Ridgefield 10-7 for the FCIAC
crown. The season ended with an 11-3 Class M semis loss to Wilton at states, Darien playing without Matheis, not the only one out for the Wave. Bobby Weaver (Princeton) is back at midfield, teaming with West once again. In goal it gets interesting, as it always does when the time comes for a new guy to take the cage, following in the cleats of so many major netminders before him. “We have a premiere sophomore stepping in, Phil Huffard,” said Brameier. “He was our backup as a freshman last year.” Huffard was right on his mark on the freshman team. “He’s had a great summer of lacrosse and he gives us everything that we like in our goalies,” Brameier added. “And I don’t think we’ll skip a beat in keeping the outstanding tradition going in goalies at Darien.”
Huffard has the chance to make it a personal tradition. “Since he is starting as a sophomore, we hope to get three years out of him,” Brameier said. “I think he has certainly been, dreaming about this time, for a long time. “And he was right there as a freshman, and probably one of the first kids that had a shot at starting as a freshman, in the goal.” Dylan Torey (DHS ’11) took the spot as a senior last year. “I felt it was important for him to play,” said Brameier. “And Dylan did a great job, and is now starting at Quinnipiac. So Phil learned from him.” And speaking of tradition of fine goaltending at DHS, Chris (“Horse”) Madalon (DHS ’06) is back in the fold as assistant coach. “He was a former All-American for us, and is back in our program,” said Brameier. “So we’re excited.”
The UNC goalkeeper finished up his playing career last season. “We’ve got two very solid backups in senior Hunt Bartram (Rollins College) and Christian Miller — a top-level 2013 goalie,” Brameier said. “So I feel the goalie position is as solid as it’s been in years anyway. “We’re not hurting for goalies.” Attack! Also firing up the guns with Matheis, is Tim Murphy, who started last year in the midfield — to step in for injury — and will now start at lefty-attack, with none other than Matheis. Kevin Seiler, a junior, will start as third attackman. “He’ll be in direct competition with sophomore John Reed, and seniors George Gregory and Jamie Kerr,” said Brameier. “So those are our top six attackmen.” See BRAMEIER on page 3C
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THE DARIEN TIMES, THURSDAY, APRIL 5, 2012
Henry West (No. 32), not long back from injury, going at Wilton in the state semis last season in Fairfield. (Darien Times/Steven Buono photo)
Brameier: ‘We still believe that championships go through Darien’
Continued from page 2C Mighty middies West, Weaver, senior Jon Magnusson (Richmond) who saw time in the first midline last season and was also second line, will make up the first midline string. Second midline: Brendan Hathaway, Sean Foley, both juniors, and sophomore Kyle Cornell. Sophomore Harry Gillespie will see time in the offensive midfield. Short stick midfield? “We always have some specialty players there,” said the coach. “We have (junior) Peter Gesualdi and CJ Raia, and Kyle Cornell will also see time there.” Face-off middie is big Clay Barker, back from knee injury in the FCIAC Championship game last season. West, Hathaway and senior Corey Eppley will back him up. Defense Eppley (Lehigh) is long pole middie. “An excellent senior who backed up Baylis Treen last year,” said Brameier. “We are happy to have him as the No. 1 there.” Behind Eppley, Brad McCarthy, a sophomore, and Theo Frelinghuysen. At close defense, Britton’s the ton-weighted anchor, that moves. With him, senior Tommy Lyons (Mount St. Mary’s). “He’s kind of been waiting in the wings,” said Brameier. “He’s a very smart player and this is his year to shine. He’s playing very well.” Sophomore Sam Meyjes is at D, and also competing for time, sophomore Andrew Barnard, Tim Brickman, a senior, and Drew Martzolf. “We are always going to have the numbers, it’s just a matter of, will these kids step up and come through?” Brameier said. “They are coming through a pipeline of lacrosse — they want to keep the tradition going and they’ve been working hard at it. “The kids in the program know what it takes to win, and know what can hurt us, and bring it down. “So, we are fighting hard to work together.” And it’s already started, ahead of opening day, Wednesday, April 4 vs. Ludlowe at home. “Preseason served its purpose, we won our share of scrimmages,” said Brameier, adding how the score is not so much the thing in warm-up encounters. “We played very competitive teams, John Jay, West Islip, Fairfield Prep — we played Salisbury. So those are some great opponents that just give you a good practice setting that you can’t get going against yourself; that’s the idea. “Like I said, you only keep score in your mind, it doesn’t go on the record.” West Islip is one of the top teams in the country, same with Salisbury. “We certainly showed we are able to compete with anybody,” said Brameier. “We were right there with them. “I think we’re fine. We just have to stay healthy, and continue to develop the younger kids.” Darien is playing more underclassmen, sophomores in particular, than it has in recent years. And one sophomore anxious to show what he’s got, and that’s plenty by many accounts, is Peter Lindley. Darien’s got a good one coming up in him. But his progress has been frustrated with injury — a hip operation cut his season short last year — and then he was hit in the back with a ball in preseason, suffering a deep bruise and a fracture. “He’s coming, he’s going to be in the mix,” said Brameier, with Lindley scheduled to return April 4. “He is an outstanding sophomore, we expect for him to see time once he gets back in the fray. “He’s a solid lefty shooter — he’s a good backup to Tim Murphy and hopefully we can take advantage of having him as the season progresses. “And he’s the future, as well, when we lose guys like Case and Timmy.” The past, still rankles. “Losing to Wilton, when you have beaten them twice, was not a fun way to end the season,” Brameier said. “It adds motivation.” Not a bad thing for rekindling heat in county matches. “Wilton, for years, was a rival game,” said Brameier. “But then we went on a big, long run against them, and the rivalry kind of died a little bit. “So maybe that loss will bring it back a little bit.” Darien plays at Wilton early on, 6 p.m. April 12. The Wave hosts an intact and loaded New Canaan 4:30 April 17, then clashes with Manhassett 6 p.m. April 19 at Boyle Stadium in Stamford. In the loss in the last game of last season to Wilton at states, Matheis was out, Barker too, plus West just coming back from major leg injury — and Richard Gregory (DHS ’11) was bounced with a concussion in the second quarter of the contest. “So we had four key players out of that game,” Brameier said. “You can’t tell me that it wouldn’t have an affect.” Darien was No. 1 in CT last year, despite the loss? “Because in reality, we beat all three state (class) champions,” said Brameier. “We beat St. Joe’s, we beat Ridgefield, we beat Wilton twice — we beat Ridgefield twice. “I take nothing away from anybody, but we still believe that championships go through Darien. And you’ve got to beat us to get one.”
Matheis: ‘I don’t want to lose a game this year’
By Steven Buono Times Sports Editor Injured on the sidelines, witnessing Wilton’s upset of the Wave at states to close out last boys lax season, has left Case Matheis one focused
Insight: 2012 Boys Lacrosse
senior premiere sniper. But don’t call him focused on winning. Because he’s not. Better still, he’s keyed on a gear higher than that. It’s an overdrive above the top gear
of, just, ‘wanting to win’ — where the extra gut gets busted to be sure the opposite’s never true. “I don’t want to lose a game this year,” Matheis said, spying out the new season, then, a little over a month down the pike. “That’s like the big thing.
I think we have the potential to be an undefeated team.” There’s a difference. ‘Winning’ is something you strive for. ‘Not losing,’ that’s something a little more serious — something you bust your very last strained gut over. It’s learned without instruction — you can’t teach the competitive panic needed to just keep on. And Matheis has been at it a while now, signing
on with Duke late last year. Maturity’s setting in. Can’t lose. So, call Darien’s scoring machine super-psyched. And in super shape, all mended, and trained-up after his knee operation at the end of last season. “I’m ready to go,” Matheis said. “Stronger, quicker than I have been before.” He was tapped for the top of
ESPN’s Top 100 High School Lacrosse Players in the U.S last fall. It’s been that way for a while, coming on as the No. 1 rated sophomore, pre-signed by Duke after that season, and carrying the load as expected last season, scoring 45 goals, 86 points in 16 games, sparking DHS (19-4) to the FCIAC See CASE on page 6C
All Wave team schedules are online, updated all season at darienps.org/darienathletics/
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THE DARIEN TIMES, THURSDAY, APRIL 5, 2012
Dillon Schoen (No. 3) helps Darien beat an organized retreat at states vs. the Rams last season. (Darien Times/Steven Buono photo)
‘They are great on paper, we have a lot of talent’
By Steven Buono Times Sports Editor Sharp as they are, senior captains defenders Emily Tropsa and Cammie Kirby, and at attack Brynn Gasparino are just the tip of the spear. “Kirby, Tropsa, Gasparino will definitely be a strong part of our team,” said Darien girls lacrosse coach Lisa Lindley, with the Wave entering the season as defending state champs. “And junior attackers (Taylor) Hardison, (Jena) Fritts and (Kristen) Gilbert in the midfield.” At attack both Lexie and Hollis Perticone, and Charlett Stevenson
2012 Girls Lacrosse
will make life miserable for defenders, while at midfield Vanessa Budd, Parker Hammill will do the same for attackers in different colors. Losses to graduation that hurt include Emma Tuzinkiewicz on defense and Ellie Bullit up front, plus Claire Dickson in goal. ‘She’ll make an impact’ And now, a two-season starter appears to be the Wave’s ace in the goal. “Really, the big difference this year will be Caylee (Waters) in goal,” said Lindley. “She is looking really strong.” Waters started as a freshman,
started often sharing the cage with Dickson last season, improving as she goes. “She’ll make an impact,” said Lindley. “In close games, she’ll be the difference-maker.” What’s been the difference with her, from when she started? “I mean, before, she was saving everything on her ability,” said Lindley. “And now, in combination with being positionally correct, she is saving that much more.” One thing she’s always had. “She’s a good athlete, that’s why I put her in goal to start with,” said Lindley. “She is getting her technique down, which is great.” So, with what is considered for good reason to be a talent bomb of a
sophomore class that includes Emily Stein, Dillon Schoen, Ellie Bennett, Hollis Perticone — who is DHS field hockey top scorer — Darien should be set to avenge its FCIAC playoffs loss to defending champ Wilton, leaving a trail of rival debris along the way? “Oh, I don’t know about that,” said Lindley. “I think the FCIAC is pretty strong all around. Greenwich is going to pose some problems, New Canaan will be strong, Wilton will be, so-so. But I think overall, we should do well.” More can score Darien should thrive from an offense that is made up of so many parts — seven to nine can score, Lindley is confident. Tested snip-
ers include Hardison, Gasparino, Perticone and Perticone, Stevenson, Gilbert, Stein and Schoen. Tropsa, Kirby, Bennett, Julia Cobb, Lauren Pryor hold down the backfield. “We have the talent, it’s a question of whether the girls can, play together,” Lindley said. “We peaked at the right time last year.” Not right for FCIACs though. “It’s something that we talked about already, with these girls,” Lindley added. “They are great on paper, we have a lot of talent. “But, unless they are willing to put their egos aside, and play as a team, we are not going to accomplish anything.” More G-Lax on page 6C.
From super sophomores like Emily Stein (No. 9, left) to senior leaders, like top defender Emily Tropsa (No. 7, right), Darien should be on a path to keep its state title and challenge for the county gold. (Darien Times/Steven Buono photos)
‘Deep enough to score in any event’
By Steven Buono Times Sports Editor What’s Darien girls outdoor track’s outlook this spring? “We should retain the FCIAC Eastern Division title,” said Darien veteran coach Steve Norris. “The FCIAC championship meet will be a
2012 Girls Track
three way battle between us, Greenwich and Danbury.” Danbury won the 2011 FCIAC outdoor title. Greenwich was 2012 FCIAC indoor champs. “We are Class L again,” said Norris. “Windsor is the strong favorite.
“In championship meets we score half our points in the jumps. However, we are deep enough to score in every event in the FCIAC championship meet.” Darien went 10-1 in dual meets last spring, winning the FCIAC East, and was second to Danbury in the FCIAC Championship meet.
The Wave was fourth at states. The girls begin the season vs. New Canaan at home on April 12. Leading Darien, senior captains Katie Southworth, a pole vaulter and sprinter, Claire Gaffney, a 400m runner and triple jumper, sprinter Sherry Gilronan, 400 runner Katie Donovan and Victoria Kominek competing in javelin, where last season she was fourth at FCIACs and fifth in Class L.
Graduation losses: Megan Keane, Class L 800 champion, Elizabeth Crafford, Class L pole vault champion, Courtney Wynne, middle distance runner, Charlotte Phillips, pole vaulter and sprinter, Lee Bolton, fourth in Class L in vault, Amanda Dobler, fourth at FCIACs in the 400. Seniors include Niya Wright, in shot and discus, juniors, Grace Loh, the school’s top cross country runner, sophomores Phoebe
Taylor, the FCIAC fifth place javelin thrower and shot putter, Leah Hotchkiss who is the 2012 Class L high jump champ, Catherine Lacy, the 2011 Class L high jump champ and Darien’s top scorer last year. “She is our best sprinter and our school record holder in the long jump at 17-9,” Norris said. Scoring too will be Taylor McDonald, a shot putter and javelin thrower.
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THE DARIEN TIMES, THURSDAY, APRIL 5, 2012
Darien rugby launches a midfield attack during a recent game against Fairfield Prep.
Champs move to DI led by Watson and Parsons
The Darien High School Rugby Club begins its 2012 spring campaign in Division I of the Connecticut Schools League, joining traditional rivals Greenwich, Staples and Fairfield, along with Fairfield Prep, Cheshire and Simsbury in a newly organized system which concentrates on in-state competition. Blue Wave Rugby comes off wins last season in its divisions in the New York Metropolitan League and at the Connecticut State Championships, a record which speaks to the extraordinary progress made by Darien High
School ruggers in the five years since the club was founded. With the departure of a number of key seniors at the end of last season, many of whom have gone on to play rugby at college, the Blue Wave begins the season in the course of further development, welcoming many new players to this raucous sport. It will be a challenge to emulate last year’s standout performance, but
the team has every confidence in doing well. Such has been the rapid development of rugby at Darien High School in recent years that, just prior to the new season, Ed Mateo, president of the Connecticut Rugby Union, said: “Darien has been a really positive addition to Connecticut Rugby, and their winning of their division in the State Championships for the last two years shows the quality of their program.” The Darien Board of Education recently voted to grant varsity status
to rugby for the 2013 season, a further acknowledgment of the game’s progress in recent years. A flag-rugby program has also been started at the Darien YMCA, and promises to produce a steady flow of experienced young players into the High School over the years ahead. Captain Oscar Parsons and vicecaptain Christian Watson return for the new season, both having represented the Connecticut School select team at the end of last year in a tripartite tournament against Vermont and Mass., from which Conn. emerged
victorious. Other returning seniors are Grayson Horan, Max Kiplinger, Brian Love and Kyle Pasquaralla. Returning juniors include Chris Brophy, Jeff Gebauer, Cameron Magida and Jimmie Weinstock. In addition, new players learning the game will add strength to the performance of the Blue Wave both this season and over the years to come. Darien edged Staples 10-7 in its first Division I encounter in the Connecticut Schools Rugby League on April 1.
Kaczmarek: ‘Fast forward to this year, the team has done a 180’
By Steven Buono Times Sports Editor Things will start out with the team intact, and that’s quite enough to get started with this season for Blue Wave boys track, which ended last season in the ER. “There is no way around it,” said coach Tyson Kaczmarek. “Last year was a colossal disappointment. Injuries decimated us. “We were not even close to where we should have been as a team. It was a frustrating and difficult season.” Darien is looking to continue the momentum it built at the end of the indoor track season where it finished second at the Class L Championships. At this time last year four of the Wave’s five captains began the season injured, never to regain full strength. “Fast forward to this year: the team has done a 180,” Kaczmarek said. “We are way healthier than last year. A few injuries, but nothing major. We should be at full strength in three or so weeks.” In his ninth seasons Kaczmarek is 100-29-3 all time for the Wave. Last year Darien went 83, was second in the FCIAC East, seventh at the FCIAC meet, 25th in Class L. “I’m very excited for this
2012 Boys Track
season,” he said. “We have a lot of guys out for the team and a lot of untapped talent.” The Wave will have a balanced attack. Sprinters are led by captains Matt Pik, Elliott Helgans and Judson Bergman. “Pik is the team’s most versatile runner and will be relied on heavily to make huge contributions particularly in the 400,” said Kaczmarek. “Helgans and Bergman will compete in all sprints and relays. “Adding depth to this department will be Nick Lombardo and Spencer McMullin in the short sprints and Harlan Smith in the long sprints.” Lombardo, McMullin and Smith will also compete in the jumping events. Said Kaczmarek: “Lombardo covers all three events and is ready for an excellent showing after earning All-FCIAC and All-State honors indoors. “McMullin will compete in the long and triple jump and Smith in the triple jump and high jump.” The high jump also has Patrick McDonald. Darien is typically deep at distance. “Three All-State cross
country runners — Charlie Baird, Michael Johnston and Michael Coe — lead the way,” Kaczmarek said. “They are flanked by middle distance runners Eli Converse, Billy Siemers and Andrew Xiong.” Competing in technical events, Windsor Hall, Will DeRocco and Nick Palmer, who add depth to pole vault, while Greg Leeker and Ryan Yuen cover the hurdles. The throwing department consists of Will Lochtefeld and Reed Coots in the shot put and discus and Silas Wyper in javelin. “We have had a good two weeks of practice so far,” added Kaczmarek. “We are going to take the season one meet at a time. We have a very difficult opener against New Canaan on April 12. This will test us. “Long term, we can do very well. We have an excellent sophomore and senior class, they will make the difference.” Kaczmarek’s high marks Sr. Capt. Charlie Baird — Excellent 3200 runner. Broke 10:00 in the event for the first time indoor. Sr. Capt. Michael Johnston — Top 1600 and 3200 runner on the team. Turned the corner at the end of XC and has not looked back. Sr. Capt. Michael Coe
— Consistent 1600 and 3200 runner. Sr. Capt. Matt Pik — Top 400 runner on the team. Will have a monster year. Sr. Capt. Elliott Helgans — stepped up from last year. Adds important depth to all sprints. Sr. Harlan Smith — Excellent High Jumper. Will also add depth to sprints and relays. Jr. Will Lochtefeld — Excellent discus and shot putter. Will have a big season. All-FCIAC indoor. Jr. Capt. Judson Bergman — will contribute to 400 and 4x400. Sr. Reed Coots — solid shot putter and discus thrower.
Sr. Eli Converse — One of the best middle distance guys on the team. Solid 800 runner. Much improved. Sr. Windsor Hall — top pole vaulter on the team. Looking for big PRs. Sr. Greg Leeker – top hurdler on the team. Solid technique. Sr. Billy Siemers — another solid middle distance guy. Also adds depth to the relays. So. Nick Lombardo — All state and All FCIAC indoors. Has personal bests of 6-0 in high jump and 20-8.5 in long jump. Key Additions/returners include: Sr. Will DeRocco in pole vault, Sr. Patrick McDonald high jump/sprints,
Sr. John Thacker distance, Jr. J.T. Fucigna pole vault, Jr. Spencer McMullin jumps/ sprints, Jr. Patrick Reilly high jump, Jr. Nick Palmer pole vault, Jr. Andrew Xiong — distance, So. Colten Appleby distance, So. Mickey Conroy distance, So. Brian Davey distance, So. Marshall Huffman distance, So. Peter Kreuch distance, So. Spencer McKeough throws, So. Jackson Lovegrove sprints, So. Matt Morgan distance, So. Jack Neary throws, So. Ben Olsen distance, So. Jack Sparkman distance, So. Silas Wyper throws, So. Ryan Yuen jumps/hurdles, Fr. Arthur Cassidy distance, Fr. Cooper Drippe sprints, Fr. Alex Ostberg distance.
Lee leads defending FCIAC Champions
By Steven Buono Times Sports Editor Izzy Lee captains the Wave girls golf team in a big way, both as the one returning player with varsity experience, and as the team’s scoring leader. Six graduated from last season’s FCIAC Champion squad, four starters in all.
2012 Girls Golf
The Wave was second in the state and went 13-4 last season. Darien’s main strength? “That they are willing to learn,” said coach Brian Zeyer. Most important in 2012? “Try to make FCIAC and
states and to have fun,” he added. The team includes juniors Callan Clasby, Victoria Eng, Courtney Kyritz, Althea Perley, Kate Fitzmaurice, Julianna Luz. The sole sophomore is Margot Sweeney, and freshmen include Julianna Lee, Megan Whitter and Amber Zia.
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THE DARIEN TIMES, THURSDAY, APRIL 5, 2012
Cameron Van de Graaf blazed onto the scene as a freshman last season and is one of three returing to varsity this spring.
Burgoyne and Suri captains of the links
By Steven Buono Times Sports Editor Wave boys golf captains are senior James Burgoyne and junior Kieran Suri as coach Tom O’Donnell enters his 23rd year on the links. Seniors include Jim Anderson, Max Rothston, Kevin Steinthal, juniors Andrew Morgan, Nick Stratton, sophomores Cameron Van de Graaf, Jacob Arevalo, Mac Koorbusch, Trevor McGovern, Matthew Ross, and freshmen Brendan Cassidy, Liam Donoghue, Andrew Trautmann, Nick Wildish. Returning varsity players are the captains plus Van de Graaf. None of the few returners made all-stars last season. And with that comes a big, so what? “It was an amazing year,” said
2012 Boys Golf
O’Donnell. “In that we had only one kid back from the All-East team the year before, nobody on the AllFCIAC team, and we ended up being 17-0-1 during the regular season.” Darien finished with the fifth best scoring average in the league during the regular season, and was fifth in the FCIAC, and was seeded eighth and finished seventh at states. “So on the one hand, on paper, it says we certainly won’t be one of the favorites to win the league this year,” O’Donnell said. “But, we are certainly open to the prospect. It’s going to be one of our goals, anyway.” Who knows? “It just proves, that if you don’t put limits on yourself, then you can surprise yourself,” added O’Donnell. “Even though we may not be anyone’s favorite, we are still very opti-
mistic.” Not a favorite of anyone else, playing golf tends to be the favorite thing team members like to be doing in the spring, through the years for DHS. And like with last season, it most often shows in the record. “Absolutely, the kids play competitively over the summer,” O’Donnell said. “And they’re working with Dr. Greg Birsky, who is a golf fitness instructor in Darien. He’s been working the kids out in Jan. and Feb. and March for the last five years or so. And he has contributed greatly to our off-season.” Darien is the only high school team in the state that O’Donnell knows of that runs a golf fitness specific workout (on Fridays at school). “And then the kids do it (in the winter) with Dr. Birsky,” O’Donnell said. “So that certainly has been one of the things that has contributed to our continuous development, and our
ability to improve and play well year after year. “Even though we don’t always, or even often, have a huge number of all-stars.” Darien was pleasantly surprised with the progress that Suri made last season. “And with the appearance of Cameron Van der Graaf,” said O’Donnell. “Those two ended up making us better than we looked on paper at the beginning of (last) year.” It could happen again? “If we are going to have a good season, then that is going to happen again for us this year,” O’Donnell said. “And that’s part of the fun of every new season. Seeing who is going to emerge. “And I’m sure somebody will for us.” Last year O’Donnell emerged as one of the eight finalists for National
High School Golf Coach of the Year. “So I was out in Michigan for that award,” he said of the National High School Golf Coaches organization event. “I didn’t end up winning it, but I was one of the eight guys nationally who were finalists.” He coached football in town for over 20 years, and boys basketball too, prior to golf, making O’Donnell the likely longest running coach at Darien High. Then there’s the newcomer, Rothston, Darien’s two-time first allstar hockey goalie taking on the Wave clubs this season. “He might be the kid who emerges,” said O’Donnell of Rothston, who knows plenty about keeping an average low. “He’s never come out before, he’s made the team, and he’s done some nice things the first couple of weeks. And he has a chance of being a regular varsity player this year, we’ll see how it goes.”
Case: ‘You get so close to something for so long, you kind of get blinded’
Continued from page 3C crown. “I’m really excited, to be honest,” said Matheis. “I’m just really excited for my senior season. “You don’t even realize what it means to be a senior until you come into your senior year.” He’s got company on that front. “We’ve got a special senior team,” Matheis added. “A great offense this year — we’ve got Henry West, Bobby Weaver — probably the best two middies in the state. “So that will be a good tandem to work with.” And the more goals the better to help out the back-line as it gels for the Jeff Brameier coached crew. “Our defense will be young,” said Matheis. “Tony Britton — a senior going to Cornell — he’ll lead the defense. So that will be (the) experience.” An experience like Darien’s stark, and shocking, 11-3 shellacking at the hands of the state champ Warriors in the Class M semis last year? Let’s just say, DHS would like to put that cleat on the other foot, or somewhere else, this spring. “We’re looking forward to the Wilton game this year,” Matheis said, top seed Darien falling to the No. 5 Warriors in ’11. “Feel a little bit of revenge going into that.” But he’s not breathing so much preseason fire that he’s about to singe his own prospects. “I’m not going to let my emotions get to me too much, but, after watching that one last year...” Strange days That Matheis was not on the field was one factor, but there was just something in the air that hot day at Fairfield Ludlowe too, it seemed. “It was just a weird situation,” Matheis said. “They got a couple of goals early, we got stopped on a couple early. So we just kind of gave them momentum.” Then, what was in the air, was plain to see — it was the Warriors. And they were flying. “That really got the hunger going for me,” he added, making the calender tabs between now and then vanish at once. And the time in between has been cathartic for the mending, mended Matheis. “It’s been a strange off-season for me,” he said. “Because of the knee and everything like that. “In this off-season I kind of got the chance to love the sport of lacrosse again. To stay back and just watch it, instead of playing it all the time.” Coming back into view “You get so close to something for so long, you kind of get like — blinded I guess,” Matheis said. “And now it’s back. “So I feel kind of reenergized.”
Stevenson: ‘We just would really like to come out and win it all — finish with a bang’
By Steven Buono Times Sports Editor Back during midwinter, Blue Wave boys hockey vs. the Rams at DIR before her eyes, spring lacrosse season was already fixed not so far beyond the rink, hovering ever closer on the horizon. “We are kind of self-motivated right now because our season ended a little too short for us (at FCIACs) last year,” said senior Charlett Stevenson. “And we just would really like to come out and win it all, especially us seniors — finish with a bang.” Ellie Bullit, Emma Tuzinkiewicz, Emma Getsinger, Claire Dickson have graduated. About a half dozen seniors
Insight: 2012 Girls Lacrosse
return, led by captains Emily Tropsa, Brynn Gasparino and Cammie Kirby. The Lisa Lindley-coached defending state champs opened up April 4 at Brien McMahon. First home game is against Staples April 10, Darien hosts New Canaan April 18. “Actually we are looking really good in the off-season,” said Stevenson, with most girls involved in clinics, many at SoNo. “We are coming out with a lot of confidence for such a young team.” And it was a younger team still, that came back from FCIAC tournament elimination at the hands of Wilton, to enter the Class M state playoffs a 13th seed that beat No.
2 Hand 15-5 in the final, after taking down rival eighth seed NC 9-7 in the semifinals. “And I think it will be really interesting how well we perform, because, we have more athletes and we are working on being in better shape, so we are more versatile,” Stevenson said. “It’s going to really help us in the long run.” The versatile, athletic sophomore class is all of that, with Ellie Bennett, Dillon Schoen, Emily Stein, Hollis Perticone a year enhanced. “I think our midfield is going to be very strong,” said Stevenson. “And our attack has really good stick skills as well. “I think just the combination of the two will help us in the offensive end.” And a defense armed with Tropsa, that should help plen-
ty too. “The defense is looking also really strong,” Stevenson added. “We have great players down there. “And more of us are training to become better defenders and attackers, so we’ll be really versatile in that area too.”
Scoring? “It’s kind of all over the board,” said Stevenson. “Dillon and Emily Stein are the young ones that are really good.” Both are sophomores who proved they were lethal as freshman on the field last sea-
son. And junior Taylor Hardison, Gasparino showed up on the score sheet. “And we have Kristy Gilbert, who is a young one too,” Stevenson said. “It’s kind of all over the board.”
New coach Simmons commands the Waves
Darien sailing has new coach Rob Simmons at the helm. Senior leaders include Nick Connery, Mac Bartram, Sarah Graves, Hal Ramor and Amanda Sommi. Eleventh graders on deck are Connor Nackley, Ian Crane, Ben Sickinger and Patrick Collins. Sophomore sailors: Jackie Haranzo, Haley Okun and Nick Cohen.
Lifting anchor And freshmen coming aboard are many, with Julia Dunne, Calvin Crosby, Owen Beringer, Megan Berry, Florian Eenkema Van Dijk, Taylor Hart, Connor Schiff, Abby Melton, Julia Russo and Emma Janson.
THE DARIEN TIMES, THURSDAY, APRIL 5, 2012
Darien starts the season with a new No. 1, Jenna Murray. (Darien Times/Steven Buono photo)
‘We could surprise a lot of teams out there’
By Steven Buono Times Sports Editor Darien girls tennis loses its No. 1 singles ace. It loses, three of of its number ones in fact, in four-year regular Lonneke Eenkema van Dijk, and the No. 1 doubles team of Amanda Brodsky and Kyle McCoy, all graduated. Six have moved on in all. “So you can see that we had a lot of positions to fill,” said Wave coach Davin Gebauer. “I was a bit concerned about our prospects, however, after tryouts and getting this team together, I am really excited about this team.” Last year Darien finished the regular season 11-5 and went 14-7 overall, losing in semis to the eventual winners at states.
2012 Girls Tennis
Also graduated, and impossible to replace, Sophie Doering at No. 3 singles and the team MVP, Kate Morant and Ellie Riegel, the 2011 No. 2 doubles team. “So I would not call this a rebuilding year, but we are very young,” Gebauer said. “In fact, three freshmen may be playing in the top four spots.” At No. 1 singles will be junior Jenna Murray who played No. 2 last year. “She has really improved over the year,” said Gebauer. “She is a legit No. 1 player in the FCIAC’s. She will have some tough matches, but I’m confident that she will do well.” At No. 2? “It appears to be freshman Pia Teschner,” Gebauer said. “Really
excited to have her on the team. “Also (it) appears to be freshman Erica Gill (at No. 3) — another solid player.” At four: “Most likely freshman Clair Kelley, although there are any number of other girls who could fill in at No. 4,” Gebauer said. “A lot depends on doubles. But Clair is a hustler — she gets balls back!” The youth flows into top doubles. “Looks like No. 1 doubles is going to be sophomores Libby Feingold and Caroline McGuire,” said Gebauer. “They played No. 3 doubles last year so this is a big step up for them. But they play well together. “Confidence is a big key for them.” There is experience available at No. 2. “No. 2 doubles appears to be
junior Sarah Alptekin and freshman Catherine Hatfield,” said Gebauer. “Sarah played No. 4 singles for us last year, but she is a really good volley-er and I can use her leadership on the court with the younger players. “Catherine is a solid player.” The only senior on the team, captain Abby Becker and sophomore Molly Riegel are at No. 3. “So we are lacking experience, but I think with hard work and leadership from the returning players we should do very well,” Gebauer added. “Our first four matches of the season are away with the first two being Fairfeild Warde and Wilton. “If we can get by those two right at the start I think it will bode well for the team.” Darien is still working out the opening lineups, so all could change a bit.
“Everyone on this team can play at some spot and contribute,” Gebauer said. “The hardest for me is going to be figuring out the doubles team. Who works well with each other.” Also in the mix are junior Katherine Herz and sophomore Haley Close. “Any of these players could be in the lineup,” said Gebauer. “I may have Erica play doubles...and have Miss. Hatfield and Herz play singles. “Haley can play singles, also... I just have to find the best combination. I have a lot of work to do.” The girls are putting in the energy needed to make the hefty transition work. “I’m very excited about this team, they are all eager to work hard, play hard,” Gebauer said. “We could surprise a lot of teams out there.”
Sarah Alptekin is one of only a few returning players for DHS. (Darien Times/Steven Buono photo)
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THE DARIEN TIMES, THURSDAY, APRIL 5, 2012
Mike Scott, from Darien, has built the Wave program with a steady, sure eye for the diamond. (Darien Times/Steven Buono file photo)
‘We have the core of our group returning’
By Steven Buono Times Sports Editor “I’m very encouraged,” said Wave baseball coach, former Blue Wave, college star and minor league pro, Mike Scott of the season that starts at Ridgefield on Wednesday, April 4. “We have a strong group,” Scott said. “We have the core of our group returning from last year.” Captains are seniors, at short Tommy Carruthers, catcher Sam Gillespie, at second Mike Stovall and Bryan Previte in center field. “There’s certainly experience and leadership we are counting on,” added Scott. “And we like what
we’ve seen in the preseason.” The solid core carries on to the composition of the field. Strong up the middle “I think we are looking very strong up the middle,” Scott said. “We have one of the best catchers in the league, one of the best middle infields in the league and one of the best center fielders in the league. “So that’s always a plus with a winning baseball team.” Darien has three corner outfielders, with one going into a rotation in right field, all of them seniors. Tucker White’s in left, and a transfer, Tommy Maclean, a right
fielder who will solidify things there, and is looking to bat in the middle of the order. And there’s senior Kyle Mangan, a right fielder last year who is to see time in the same spot. “Again, he’ll be right in the middle of our lineup,” Scott said. Duncan can-do Darien has senior Dillon Duncan back on the mound. “And he was one of the state leaders last year in earned run average, with a 1.43 ERA,” said Scott. “Which is top five in the state. “So we are looking for him to log us some quality innings.” Wild, wild west in the house The Wave has another transfer at pitcher in Johnny Dehlan, from
Utah, expected to slot in. “We expect him to contribute significant innings,” Scott said. “And we have a junior coming up from jv who we expect to be very good in Mackenzie Glavin.” Better set than last year, maybe? “I think all around we are a stronger team,” said Scott. “I think it just comes with experience with these guys that have been there before and know how tough the league is. “And know that they have to compete every single day.” Nothing is solid at first base, says the coach, but several are working on making a stand there, including senior Alex Yergy and Andrew Maley, Liam Naughton. It is still likely though that either
Maley or Yergy will man third once things do shake out. “We have a lineup we hope will hit for average and steal some bases,” Scott said. “And will produce some runs.” Top hitter in 2011 was Previte at .379, with Gillespie at .364 with two home runs last season. Darien went 10-10 during the regular season last spring and lost in the opening round at states. “The goal is really to — the old cliche — take it one game at a time,” Scott said. “Beat the team that’s in front of us, and those things will work themselves out. “But we have a team we believe that can compete for league and state championships.”
Matt Lee and Bryant dual champs‘ chiefs
By Steven Buono Times Sports Editor It’s probably the most stark story of quick success at DHS. Or, maybe the fastest rise in the FCIAC. But whatever it is, Wave boys volleyball’s twin cham2012 Boys Volleyball
pionships, in only its first decade in the business — well under 10 years on the court in fact — registers as something the town can still marvel at a year on. To lead the titles defense, flat-out standouts, senior co-
captains Matt Lee and Sam Bryant. And meshing like the net with the leaders, a six-strong talent base. — There is junior libero (defensive specialist) Sean Lee. — Senior defensive specialist Ryan Stracuzzi.
— Senior opposite side hitter Tommy Nicholls. — Senior 6-2 middle and outside hitter Matt Collier. — Junior outside and middle hitter Marcus Iqbal. — Sophomore middle hitter George Phillips, who is 6-3. Lee and Iqbal are each sixfeet tall. And all are strong returning starters. And they will need to be. Because Darien loses so much power in 4-season start-
ers, Class of 2011 captains Calder Billhardt and Austin Cockerill, 6-3 and 6-5 respectivey and both heavy hitters. Darien is coming off a giant-sized run in 2011, going 18-1 overall and 14-1 in the FCIAC to become dual league and state champs going undefeated at home. And it was a historic run. The Laurie LaRussocoached crew knocked off eight-time FCIAC champ, new hot rival Staples for its
first league title. Mind-numbing numbers Matt Lee had a 29.8 hitting percentage and 51.1 kill percentage last season. Bryant was 18.2, 39.6, Collier 14.8, 36.4. Matt Lee made 505 assists averaging nine per game. Serving percentage, Matt Lee was 87.7 with 52 aces. Bryant was 82.7, 37. Bryant made 91 digs, Matt Lee 50, Stracuzzi 39 and Sean Lee 36.
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THE DARIEN TIMES, THURSDAY, APRIL 5, 2012
Dominic Hansford returns after a good run in doubles at states last season. (Darien Times/Steven Buono photo)
Eight players back ‘know what to expect’
By Steven Buono Times Sports Editor Darien boys tennis has the experience to make a run. “The biggest strength we have at this point is that our players have seen what is expected,” said Wave coach Tom Stepkoski. “Hopefully, they have improved in the off-season and can apply it to the present.” Captained by Ryo Usami, Briton Dailey, Cal Kevorkian, Darien has eight players returning, while it graduates three and tacks on five new players, with one transferring in and another transferring out. “In 2010, (we) graduated half of (the) team, literally,” Stepkoski said. “We knew the 2011 campaign was going to be a rebuilding year and we would take our lumps, but it was a great ‘learning’ season. “Hopefully, we can take some of what we learned in 2011 and apply it in the 2012 campaign.” Darien went 8-8 last season, finishing ninth in the FCIAC. At states it was fifth, with Dominic Hansford and Malcolm Willis making it to
2012 Boys Tennis
quarters. “It’s a little early to forecast, but if we stay away from injury, are able to navigate the schedule, we hope to do better in FCIAC league play and the Class L,” Stepkoski added. “Darien has always had a hardworking team since I joined their community five years ago.” Putting the experience into winning practice is next on the agenda. “The difference will be in how we use what we learned,” said Stepkoski. “Odds are good, and we hope to capitalize on our experience.” Darien will rely on Usami to do some damage at number one or two. “We will also rely on transfer student, Alex Swords, from Cincy, Ohio, where he played number one for his high school team, to do some damage at either one or two,” Stepkoski said. “At three or four we hope to see Cal Kevorkian demonstrate why he took home All-FCIAC Honorable Mention (last season) and win some key matches.” Having done it all before most
benefits Dailey right off the top. “Briton Dailey, the number three, four or five, has finally cracked the singles lineup and at a perfect time,” Stepkoski said. “We will use his experience and off-season hard work to help win some key matches. “He looks like the most improved player thus far.” Charlie Khachian, who played No. 3 last year is still as strong as he was then. “And we will hope he brings his A game to make us better at the bottom of our singles lineup — either four or five,” said Stepkoski. “Returning is Dominic Hansford from our quarterfinal round doubles team in the state L tournament.” His partner from last year, Malcolm Willis, graduated, but his new partner, Jeff Sload will be filling the void in a big way, Stepkoski says. Also returning is the same No. 2 doubles team of Will McCoy and DJ Brown. “They learned a lot as rookies last year and will definitely be a stronger and much more confident duo,” Stepkoski said. “To help us close out
some important matches.” The Wave’s always had three goals. “They remain the same — win every FCIAC match, win every state match,” Stepkoski said. “Wouldn’t it be wonderful to always win? But realistically, we hope to sport a record this year that will get us back to the FCIAC playoffs, and possibly go to the finals and win. “In the states, we will bring our experience and go as far as we can in the tournament.” Keep your eye on the ball “At the end of the day, we will count the points,” said Stepkoski. “For now, we are asking our players to just go as far in the tournament as possible. If we get close to the end, we will scoreboard-watch when the time is appropriate.” The Wave’s third goal? “Ultimate goal — one we have reached every year — will not be the hardware, but to bring home something much more important — the evidence of accomplishments worthy of replication at all levels. “An A-plus in character, in citizenship as a player of the game, and
an A-plus in enjoying tennis as a lifetime sport.” And Darien’s fittingly got a team quote for that: “Life is God’s gift to us, and what we do with it is our gift to God.” Said the coach: “So, the biggest pressure we should put on ourselves as far as our tennis goes, is every time we go out on that court — just to be one day better, no more and no less. “And, as far as life goes, more importantly, every day, challenge ourselves to be better than the person we were yesterday (Andre Agassi).” The lineup is undetermined at this time, says Stepkoski, but here is a look after the first two weeks. Singles: No. 1 Ryo Usami (11th grade), No. 2 Alex Swords (11), No. 3 Cal Kevorkian (12), No. 4 Briton Dailey (12), No. 5 Charlie Khachian (12). Doubles: No. 1 Dominic Hansford/ Jeff Sload (11,11), No. 2 DJ Brown/ Will McCoy (11,11). Reserves: Brad D’Alelio (10), Nicholas Howe (11), James Teschner (11), Tyler Murray (12).
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THE DARIEN TIMES, THURSDAY, APRIL 5, 2012
All-stater Jessica DeMaio returns to the mound. (Darien Times/Steven Buono photo)
DeMaio, Gozdz, Fahey, Bell lead FCIAC champs
By Steven Buono Times Sports Editor The defending FCIAC softball champion Blue Wave comes back mostly intact. So a run at a second straight title is revealed in the familiar deck of cards? “We’ll try, but a lot of factors come into play for that,” said Wave coach Nick DeMaio. “There may be more changes than people think.” The biggest for sure change is the loss to graduation of MVP Nicole
Buch. “But the captains are back,” he added. Senior Jessica DeMaio is one of them, returning to again hold down the mound, where she has excelled, lifting the Wave for several seasons. Leading hitter, and catcher, senior Olivia Gozdz is another. Courtney Bell and Kelly Fahey make up the four-cornered leadership — all of them playing essential parts
in last season’s success. “That’s a whole lot right there,” DeMaio said. “So our hope is that we want to be in the mix to first of all make the playoffs. We want to get into the FCIAC and state playoffs and go from there. “They were fortunate last year, and it takes a lot of hard work to get there again.” Nothing new, for over a decade now, Darien’s main strength is pitching. Jess DeMaio was all-state last year and comes back even better.
“And the battery was all-state,” DeMaio added. “Olivia and Jess.” Brittany Osborn plays first, at the mix at second is Julia Domiziano, a sophomore. “At shortstop we have a strong freshman candidate,” DeMaio said. “Erica Osherow, who is also a outstanding pitcher. We have pitching depth.” Darien has senior Kelly Nicoletti lined up in the bull pen as well. Fahey is at center, Emma Hamilton is back in right field and the left field job is up for grabs.
“We’ve got some talented freshmen,” DeMaio said. Darien’s 2011 season ended with a loss in semis at states. The Wave went 23-4. And that was done with benefit of the leading hitters in the state in Buch and Gozdz, both over .600. Darien plays Masuk 1 p.m. Saturday at home. “We’ll just try to get everybody ready, and make sure that they know nothing’s automatic,” DeMaio added. “That’s it.”
Wave .600 hitter Olivia Gozdz (left) and coach Nick DeMaio (right) head into the dugout to switch-up from offense to defense in 2011 action, the year DHS won the county championship. (Darien Times/Steven Buono photo)