RIDGEFIELD -- If the Ridgefield boys lacrosse team is to take a bite out of Darien's FCIAC dynasty come tournament time, it's going to take a complete effort from start to finish.
Tigers coach Roy Colsey is all too familiar with the winning formula, and yet it eluded his team once again in a rainy grudge match at Tiger Hollow Tuesday night that all but assured the Blue Wave of another regular season banner.
Henry West and Peter Lindley scored four goals apiece and Case Matheis tallied five assists to lift Darien to a 14-11 victory in a rematch of last year's title game.
A 4-0 first quarter for the Blue Wave essentially kept the Tigers at bay, the result of what Colsey viewed as a slow start strictly in the defensive sense.
"We'll score on anybody," Colsey said. "It wasn't offense, it was defense. Unfortunately we've started slow each time we've played (Darien). It's not an excuse; we've got to correct that. Darien does a good job of coming out and getting all over you."
In particular, the offensive artistry of Matheis -- ESPN's No. 1-rated high school player and a Duke commit -- helps the Blue Wave get all over all their opponents, as evidenced by their 10-0 in-conference mark. The senior attacker's distributive powers were on display in this one, which gave Lindley, a sophomore, and West, a senior midfielder and a star in his own right, the chance to thrive against Ridgefield's normally stingy zone.
"We came out of the gates pretty good," said Darien coach Jeff Brameier. "We had a pretty good game plan of our zone offense against their zone defense. The kids moved the ball well and they're very unselfish about finding the open guys."
At its high point early in the fourth quarter, the Darien lead was 13-7. The Tigers, however, would finish with a flourish, capitalizing on a string of late face-off wins by Will Bonaparte to close to within 13-10 in a hurry.
Ridgefield's Timmy Kelly scored two of his team-high five goals just 14 seconds apart to fuel the run and Sean Wilkinson notched three of his game-high seven assists over the same stretch, whetting appetites for another showdown a few weeks from now.
"I hope we get a chance to see each other in the FCIAC championship game," Brameier said. "I imagine they're going to be a (No. 2 seed) and we're going to be No. 1. We've got to win two rounds to see each other so we'll see."
Added Colsey of the prospects of a rematch, "We want the FCIAC championship. We only have two goals to start the year and they're to win an FCIAC championship and win a state championship. These are two good quality teams. I believe we'll see each other again, whether it's in the semis or the championship game."
DARIEN 4 4 4 2 -- 14
RIDGEFIELD 0 4 3 4 -- 11
Records: Darien 13-1, 10-0; Ridgefield 12-1, 8-1.
Scoring: D -- Tim Murphy 2g; Case Matheis 1g, 5a; Henry West 4g, 2a; Kevin Seiler 2g; Peter Lindley 4g; Tony Britton 1g. R -- Eric Scala 2g; Neil Gollogoly 1a; Timmy Kelly 5g; Will Bonaparte 1a; Sean Wilkinson 1g, 7a; Sean Riley 3g, 1a. Goalies: D -- Phil Huffard (17 saves); R -- Adam Winne (18 saves).