Wave Boys Lax Falls Short of FCIAC Title Losing In Semis


Michael McCormack (DHS '25)

Darien junior attackman Porter Barnett jumping to avoid the crease while scoring a goal in the 2023 FCIAC Semifinals over Wilton

Braden Schenck, Writer

It was a rematch of the 2022 FCIAC Boys Lacrosse Championship on display from Norwalk’s Testa Field. This meeting between Darien and Wilton was a semifinal in the 2023 conference tournament.

Darien, the top seed in this years tournament beat Wilton in the regular season 9-8 thanks to three late goals from the squad and freshman Ben Bilodeau scoring late in the fourth quarter to propel Darien to victory.

But Wilton got the final laugh as they defeated the Wave 11-10 in the FCIAC semis.

Darien junior Porter Barnett celebrating a go ahead goal in the 2023 FCIAC Semifinals from Testa Field. (Michael McCormack)

Goals from Porter Barnett and Caleb Rath nulled each other to tie the game at 1-1 in the first quarter.

Ben Bilodeau scored his 8th goal of the season in the closing moments of the opening quarter to give Darien the 2-1 lead after the first 12 minutes of play.

This game took a turn at 5:26 in the second quarter when junior long stick Jake Hendrickson was sent to the box for a non releasable penalty. This meant that Hendrickson had to serve the entirety of his time and wouldn’t be released with a goal from Wilton.

The Warriors made the most of the man-up scoring not one but two goals in the span of the minute man up. Seniors Charlie Johnson and Charlie Rath both picked up goals as the Warriors took a 4-3 lead into halftime.

The Warriors added another with a transition goal from Michael Wall to put them up 5-3.

Darien sophomore attack Kevin Roche after scoring his first goal in the FCIAC semifinal contest against Wilton (Michael McCormack)

The Wave were able to cut into the lead when sophomore Kevin Roche scored with 10:22 to go in the third quarter with a man-up goal.

Wilton and Darien went back and forth in the third quarter as Wilton controlled a 7-6 lead after three quarters of play.

12 minutes to play, Darien was trailing for the last 24 minutes looking for a spark, Wilton looking to advance to their first FCIAC Championship in four years.

The stakes were high at Testa Field as Wilton senior Charlie Johnson started the 4th with a bang and a goal, his second in the ballgame to make it 8-6 Warriors.

Darien celebrating a Briggs McGuckin goal at Norwalk’s Testa Field in the FCIAC Playoffs (Michael McCormack)

And in almost identical fashion as the regular season meeting the Wave were down 8-6 but clawed all the way back, Barnett picked up his hat trick, McGuckin netted his second and Barnett added another as the Wave controlled a 9-8 lead with 3:24 to play. In the span of three minutes Darien had completely flipped the course of this game.

In the regular season Carter Hagen stepped up in this moment and shut out the Warriors, but postseason lacrosse is always a different story.

Wilton won the faceoff after the goal and the Warrior senior Caleb Rath scored almost immediately after to tie the game up at nine.

Tied with 2:37 to go, Spencer Liston won another face off for the Warriors and Wilton called a timeout.

Charlie Johnson scored off a feed from Wall and sniped a shot on Hagen for the 10th goal for Wilton and the eventual game winner.

Darien had some hope but needed to win a faceoff against the Providence commit FOGO.

Sophomore Leo Barbagallo stepped up to the plate, clasped the ball and won the faceoff for Darien and ensued the timeout from head coach Jeff Brameier.

1:11 to play, Darien possession with a chance to send this game into overtime.

Wave freshman Max McBride took the ball on the restart, up the middle with it but looked to pass it into a scrum of players, the Warriors came away with possession and intercepted the ball.

The Warriors came all the way down the field with it and Johnson scored an empty netter to put the dagger in Darien at 11-9.

A crushing turnover for the Blue Wave fateful and Darien watched as their number one seed had fallen.

Wilton went on to win this game by the final of 11-10 and advance to the FCIAC Championship where they met New Canaan.

While Wilton went on to win their first FCIAC title since 1999, the Wave were still crushed by this antagonizing loss.

Darien will shift their attention to the Class L state tournament where they are the 3rd seeded looking to win their first state title since pre-covid.

2013 was the last time Darien fell short of both the FCIAC and State title in the same year, and Wave Boys Lacrosse will look to avoid that in the coming weeks.

Wilton 11,

Darien 10

Wilton   1 3 3 4 – 11
Darien  2 1 2 4 – 10


W: Charlie Johnson 4g; Charlie Rath 2g; Caleb Rath 2g; Dave Sylvester 1g; Michael Wall 1g; Ryan Smith 1g

D: Porter Barnett 4g; Briggs McGuckin 2g; Kevin Roche 2g; Ben Bilodeau 1g; Morgan Ruppenstein 1g.

Goalies: W – Evan Blankenship 5 saves; D – Carter Hagen 10 saves.

Records: Wilton: 14-4; Darien 13-5