FAIRFIELD -- Darien High School's boys lacrosse team, coming off perhaps the toughest stretch of games this season, poured it on early on en route to a 17-4 rout of host Fairfield Ludlowe on Tuesday. Darien improved to 9-2 overall, and Ludlowe dropped its third straight contest to fall to 6-4.

Darien had played three straight games against New York powers, winning two -- including an overtime test with St. Anthonys -- before returning to familiar FCIAC competition beginning with the Ludlowe game.

Ben Preston led the charge with four goals and six assists, all in the opening half. Richard Gregory and Tim Murphy both netted hat-tricks, Case Matheis and Jon Magnusson both scored twice, and Graham Maybell, Jamie Kerr and Kevin Seiler added tallies in the triumph.

Goaltender Dylan Torey made four saves in a little more than a half of play, and Dylan Hurd came on to stop three shots late in the game. The Blue Wave built a 16-0 halftime lead and eased up in the second half, during which several backup players and underclassmen that split time between junior varsity and varsity teams got to experience some on field action.

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"We were firing on all cylinders today and once we started we couldn't stop. This is definitely a product of playing New York teams and it's gearing us up for New Canaan," said Preston, alluding to the Blue Wave's next tilt when Darien visits its rivals on Saturday at 4 p.m.

"It's good -- you've got to see what it's like on the varsity level," said sophomore Henry Baldwin, one of the JV/varsity contributors. "We had to move the ball around a lot because we were up by a lot."

"It's pretty important. It's good to get some experience for next year," fellow sophomore Peter Gesualdi added.

Darien Coach Jeff Brameier was pleased with the play of his up-and-coming athletes, as well as some of the reserves who haven't had much of a chance to play during the recent string of tough games.

"It's good for the team spirit -- for the kids to feel a part of it," the coach said. "Some of the kids did some nice things."

Brameier noted that his team's offense simply has too much firepower and ability for a zone defense, such as the one Ludlowe implemented, to handle.

"We have a team that moves the ball well and pops into openings and shoots and finishes," he said.

Brameier believes his team gained a lot from the experience of playing those competitive teams from out of state which showed on the field against Ludlowe and stands to help the Wave in upcoming regular season and playoff games.

"I think we certainly can handle pressure now -- both the pressure of games and the pressure of people on the ball and people you have to cover," Brameier said.

The Wave didn't get tested by Ludlowe nearly as much as the players expect to be by New Canaan. Darien edged New Canaan in overtime in the Class M State Tournament semifinals last spring.

"I'm sure they're looking forward to the rematch," Brameier said of the New Canaan players.

"It's the biggest game on our schedule no matter what the rankings are because everyone comes to play," Baldwin added.

"It's a good rivalry. They have a good lacrosse team," said Brameier, adding that the game always has a lot of hype. "I just hope we stay away from the hoopla and just play lacrosse."