NORWALK -- The Ridgefield boys lacrosse team came out flying, built a big lead over Darien and held on for a tense 12-11 win at Brien McMahon High School on Tuesday night. With the win, Ridgefield advances to take on New Canaan in Friday's FCIAC title at 7 p.m. also at McMahon.
Facing a 12-9 deficit, Darien got goals from Bobby Weaver and Kevin Seiler with 30 and eight seconds remaining, respectively. On the ensuing faceoff, however, Ridgefield's Sean Wilkinson gained possession and ran out the clock, sending Ridgefield to the championship game.
"It feels great. My seniors hadn't beaten them and they needed to get over the hump of a tremendous program," Ridgefield coach Roy Colsey said. "If we came out and played four quarters, we knew it would be a dogfight, which it was. All we had to do was come out and play four quarters, and good things would happen."
"Coming out strong and playing four quarters is always nice," Kelly said. "I've never beaten Darien in lacrosse before. Going out like this is a senior is awesome."
Darien got one back when Henry West found Peter Lindley for the Blue Wave's first goal, but the only two goals in the second half came courtesy of Kelly and Wilkinson, and the Tigers led 7-1 at the break.
With its season on the line, it was Darien's turn to come out flying in the second half, and the Blue Wave cut the Tigers' lead to 7-4 on three straight goals by Corey Eppley, West and Seiler. Wilkinson scored to make it 8-4, but Darien's Case Matheis scored two goals and Darien trailed just 8-6 going into the fourth quarter.
Ridgefield pushed its lead back to 10-6 on two more goals by Kelly, but Darien shrank the lead to 10-9 on goals by West, Matheis and Jon Magnusson.
Ridgefield responded again on goals by Kelly and Wilkinson to make the score 12-9 and held on for the win.
"We got caught on our heels and they got going faster. We don't let people get that kind of a lead on us too often," Darien coach Jeff Brameier said. "At the end, we were right back in it. We weren't as sharp as we needed to be on both ends of the field tonight."
Ridgefield goalie Adam Winne was instrumental in helping the Tigers build such a commanding lead, as he came up with 14 saves on the night.
RIDGEFIELD 5 2 1 4--12
DARIEN 1 0 5 5--11
Records: Ridgefield 14-3 (11-2 FCIAC), Darien 16-2 (13-1 FCIAC).
Scoring: R--Tim Kelly (7g, 1a), Sean Wilkinson (3g, 4a), Eric Scala (1g), William Bonaparte (1g, 1a) Neil Gollogly (1a). D--Case Matheis (3g, 2a), Henry West (2g, 1a), Peter Lindley (1g), Corey Eppley (1g), Kevin Seiler (2g), Jon Magnusson (1g), Bobby Weaver (1g), Tim Murphy (1a). Goalies: R--Adam Winne (14 saves); D--Phil Huffard (6). Shots: R--20; D--27.