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Monday, May 23, 2011
New England Roundup: Connecticut

By Roger Brown

The Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference has crowned a different boys lacrosse champion in each of the last four years, but that streak appears to be in jeopardy.

ConnecticutDarien, which is 15th in the latest Under Armour/Inside Lacrosse national power rankings, has established itself as the clear favorite this spring. Darien is seeking its first tournament title since the 2008 season.

Top-seeded Darien opened this year’s tournament by posting a 17-1 victory over Fairfield Ludlowe 17-1 in Saturday’s quarterfinals. Ben Preston collected five goals and three assists in the victory.

The Blue Wave has 10 players who have committed to play Division I college lacrosse on its roster.

“They’re a machine,” Fairfield Ludlowe coach Chris Parisi said. “Jokingly, I told my kids this was their chance to play Division I lacrosse.”

The victory raised Darien’s record to 15-2. Darien has not lost to an in-state opponent since it was upset by Greenwich in last year’s FCIC semifinals.

Darien has been dominant on defense for most of the season. The Blue Wave has held FCIAC opponents to an average of 4.5 goals per game.  Two of the teams that scored in double digits against Darien this spring are ranked nationally: Manhasset (N.Y.) and The Haverford School (Pa.).

Darien will face fifth-seeded Wilton in Tuesday’s semifinals at Brien McMahon High School in Norwalk. Wilton advance by beating fourth-seeded New Canaan 12-5 in the quarterifnals.

Second-seeded Greenwich will meet third-seeded Ridgefield in Tuesday’s other semifinal. Greenwich, which won last year’s tournament, beat seventh-seeded Staples 14-7 in the quarterfinals. Ridgefield, the 2009 tournament champion, posted a 17-4 quarterfinal-round triumph over Brien McMahon.

The championship game will be played Friday at Brien McMahon.

PITCHING MACHINES
When the spring sports season started about the only thing Fairfield Warde juniors Lance Kreizer and Kitty Caissy shared in common was the same homeroom.

That changed earlier this month when each pitched a no-hitter in their first varsity start.

Kreizer tossed the perfect game in the program’s history to help Fairfield Warde knock off Bassic 19-0 on May 9. Caissy followed up that performance by recording a no-hitter in an 8-0 victory over Central three days later.

Caissy's second varsity start also produced a no-hitter.  It came during an 18-0 triumph over Harding   a game shortened to five innings because of the mercy rule  on May 15.

Caissy didn’t allow a hit during her first 18 innings in the circle this season. She usually plays left field, but impressed Fairfield Warde coach Gary Quiricone in a relief appearance earlier in the season.

BAT MEN
Perhaps no high school baseball team in New England has more balance in its batting order than East Catholic, which has seven players batting between .375 and .425.

Second baseman Kelvin Sims and left-handed pitcher Tucker Panciera are leading the way offensively. Through 16 games Sims was batting .424 and had scored 19 runs. Panciera, the team’s No. 1 starter, was hitting .404 and had scored 21 runs.

There are no easy out at the bottom of the order either. John Brownell, the team’s No. 9 hitter, was hitting .424.

WESTHILL REMAINS PERFECT
The Westhill softball team completed an unbeaten regular season by posting an 11-1 victory over Darien on Sunday.

Allison Macari and Eileen Tublin each had three hits for the Vikings, who will enter the FCIAC tournament with a 20-0 record. Elizabeth Joseph collected two hits and three RBIs for Westhill, which is seeking its third tournament championship in the last four years.

Junior Emily Spoto held Darien (17-3) to seven hits and raised her record to 5-0.

HE’S A LAW MAN
Frank Luysterborghs won’t be back as Law High School’s athletic director for the 2011-12 school year.

Luysterborghs, who will be 60 next month, has announced his retirement after serving as Law’s AD for 24 years. Law was also the head football coach at Law from 1983 until 2000. He became the school’s AD in 1987.

Roger Brown has covered high school sports in New England since 1992. He currently covers high school and college football in the Northeast for ESPN/Scouts Inc.