DARIEN -- Known for lighting up the score sheet, the Darien boys lacrosse team relied on tough defense to brush aside another quality FCIAC opponent in Greenwich.
In an exceptionally low scoring game which featured just three goals in the final 24 minutes, the Blue Wave narrowly missed keeping the Cardinals off the scoreboard for the entire second half in an 8-4 victory.
Darien goalie Phil Huffard was on point all afternoon, making 15 saves in Darien's third straight win.
"We made some halftime adjustments, and we just had to play hard. We had to get it out of their hands and just play as a team because we didn't really communicate that well in the first half," Huffard said. "We knew that if we came out and communicated that we could hold things down in the second half, and that's what we did."
Darien also spread out its scoring. Six Blue Wave players found the back of the Greenwich net, lead by Case Matheis, whose three goals made him the only player to register a multi-goal game for Darien.
"I think most of our offense came from the turnovers. They're a good defensive group. (Greenwich's zone defense) isn't anything we weren't suspecting," Darien coach Jeff Brameier said. "I think Greenwich came to play and Alex Moeser is an outstanding player, Decker Curran is an outstanding freshman and I know how good they are."
Just past the four minute mark in the first quarter, Matheis found Bobby Weaver for a 1-0 lead, but Greenwich's Alex Moeser brought his team even less than two minutes later by scoring on a wraparound. With 30 seconds remaining in the opening quarter, Darien's Tim Murphy put his team on top for good.
Darien's Jon Magnusson increased Darien's lead to 3-1, but Greenwich's Will Gibian found Kyle Foote to again cut the deficit to one.
Darien scored the game's next three goals to open up a 6-2 lead, and Kevin Seiler had a hand in all three. First, Seiler buried his shot after receiving a pass from Matheis from behind the net. A minute later, Seiler returned the favor by finding Matheis for a goal. Finally, Seiler got a pass to Peter Lindley, who made a slick move in front of the Greenwich net before scoring from short distance.
Greenwich got one back when James Carey found Moeser to make it 6-3 with 1:42 remaining. Darien nearly increased its halftime lead at the buzzer, but the official quickly ruled that Murphy's bid for a buzzer beater found the net after time had expired.
"We're a young team and we're still learning how to play with each other. They're starting to be more aggressive and they're starting to realize that they can actually hang with some teams," Greenwich coach Scott Bulkley said. "Now they know that they can hang with them, and that will make them work a little harder going forward."
Tony Britton assisted on each of Matheis' third quarter goals to give Darien an 8-3 cushion, and Foote closed out the scoring, helping Greenwich avoid a second half shutout by notching a goal with five seconds remaining in the contest.
"I think we could have been better, but in the first half we played really well and competed with them. I'm proud of my team," Greenwich's Tim Swaby said. "I think it's a confidence booster for us."
Darien 8, Greenwich 4
GREENWICH 1 1 1 1--4
DARIEN 2 4 2 0--8
Records: Greenwich 6-6, 4-4 FCIAC; Darien 11-1, 9-0 FCIAC.
Scoring: G -- Decker Curran 2g; Alec Moeser 2g; Will Gibbian 1a; JP Carey 1a. D -- Case Matheis 3 goals, 2 assists; Kevin Seiler 1g, 2a; Jon Magnusson 1g, 1a; Tim Murphy 1g; Peter Lindley 1g; Bobby Weaver 1g; Tony Britton 1a. Goalies: G -- Ryan Fisher (11 saves); D -- Phil Huffard (15 saves).
Highlights: Darien battles St. Anthony's on Saturday at DHS Stadium at 2 pm