Boys lax defeat -- then work with -- Central players; prep for Penn trip
Darien High School's boys lacrosse team puts on a clinic of sorts whenever it takes on lesser-experienced teams. After doing so in a 15-2 win over Bridgeport Central on Tuesday, the Blue Wave coaches and players really did put on a clinic, working with the Central players on the ins and outs of lacrosse after their game ended.
The Darien players have been honing their lacrosse skills since their early days of grade school; many of the Central players hadn't even picked up a stick before this season's campaign.
"This is an opportunity to teach the game and promote the game -- and work with guys that are just starting the game," Darien coach Jeff Brameier said.
"This, to me, is what it's all about. It breaks down the image of what inner city kids think of suburban kids," said Peter Cox, a coach with Central, adding that about half of Central's players are new to the game.
The Blue Wave players and coaches gave tips on passing, catching, stick work, shooting and goaltending. Wave player Brandon Coley worked with Central's Emanuel Omari and Jaime Rodriguez on faceoff skills at midfield. Coley noted that winning faceoffs leads to possession, which can lead to goals, and gave the Central players pointers on how to win a faceoff against players with a variety of skills -- by using their foot, strength or stick in a variety of ways.
"It will help me out on the faceoffs, definitely," Omari said. "I learned a couple of new tricks from him. I should get some more moves in my faceoff arsenal."
Rodriguez said he has played lacrosse for all of six weeks and is learning the game is quickly as he can.
"It's fun to teach new things. They have the potential to be good. They definitely have the speed, the stick skills -- it's just fine-tuning," Coley said.
After the clinic, the Central players got to take home helmets and other used equipment that Brameier said would allow the up-and-coming lacrosse enthusiasts to practice in the offseason after turning their equipment in at their school. The DHS coach added that it costs some $500 to outfit each player with proper equipment.
"It's what our sport needs to do more of is give back to communities that can't afford our expensive sport," Brameier said.
The clinic actually unofficially started during the game. After building a commanding lead, behind three goals from Case Matheis, and two apiece from Graham Maybell, Alden Frelinghuysen, Henry West and Alex Brown, the Wave players backed off and slowed the pace in an effort to give the Central players an understanding of how to run plays, Brameier said.
"We're just hoping to help them stay with the game," he said.
The Wave lacrosse team held a similar clinic a few years ago, the last time Central visited DHS. A large part of this is thanks to Brameier, who is the president of the Connecticut High School Coaches Association.
"I think it's awesome," Cox said of the program.
In an effort to create the toughest possible tests for his players, Brameier schedules non-conference games with some tough out-of-state teams each year. Following Thursday's game with FCIAC foe Brien McMahon, the Wave is slated to visit Conestoga, Penn., to face a team that was ranked in the top 10 in the national preseason polls and reached last year's Pennsylvania state championship game, Brameier said.
"If we win then I'm sure we'll get a national ranking," Matheis said.
Matheis added the non-Connecticut road games are challenging in more ways than one since the Darien players go a night early and "you're not in your own bed the night before."
"It will be really fun just to gauge where we're at," senior Bobby Nolan added. "It's nice to go at the playoff speed."
Darien will also face Manhassett and Yorktown, a pair of New York schools, on the road this season as well.
"We live for the out-of-state games during the regular season," Brameier said. "That's what you want in non-conference games. You want something that's going to challenge your kids."