FCIAC lacrosse teams find their want onto the fields
STAMFORD — While the baseball and softball teams of the FCIAC have struggled to find their way on to the field this preseason, lacrosse has largely outmaneuvered the snow — and in some creative ways.
With the high school spring sports season starting on Saturday, every moment on the field is crucial. Baseball and softball programs have the unfortunate setback of playing on dirt, therefore most of their fields are still rendered unusable.
Lacrosse, on the other hand, takes place on turf, which is much easier to clear and dry.
With four teams at the top of the conference in Darien, New Canaan, Greenwich and Ridgefield that all featured in the Under Armour/Inside Lacrosse Top 25 last year at various times, teams such asStamford or Danbury could use all the practice time they can get.
“We had nine wins last year, which is the most we’ve had,” Danbury coach William Kersten said. “Next week we get the pleasure of opening up with Staples down there, and Ridgefield comes to our place the next game. That will be, in no uncertain terms, enlightening for the younger kids that haven’t played varsity before.”
In preparation for that immediate gauntlet, Hatters players and coaches chipped in to shovel off their field. The Trumbull program also took matters into their own hands, but had more than a little help from the town.
As is the case with the boys, the FCIAC for the girls is a top-heavy conference. Teams like Darien, New Canaan, Greenwich and Wilton sit in the upper echelon, with a free-for-all of teams in the middle ground.
The key to closing that gap, in the minds of both Nazzaro and McKinney, starts at the youth level.
“The time will come, I really think that,” McKinney said. “…as a program in Trumbull, our youth program is relatively young, this group on varsity now is the first group to play with each other throughout the youth program. We doubled our wins from one season to another, so who’s to say we can’t do that again?
Even with the differences between the top-tier and mid-level teams, the FCIAC has quickly become one of the premier lacrosse conferences in the country.
“Fairfield County lacrosse is as powerful as any region in the country,” Darien boys coach Jeff Brameier said. “…you go out to Long Island, where we have four or five of those really good teams in the FCIAC, there’s 20 teams in Long Island like us. On any given day, you’re playing someone like that, but we’ve proven time and time again between us and New Canaan and Greenwich and Ridgefield we can compete with anybody in Long Island and anybody in the country.”
Whether competing for national prominence, or trying to separate themselves from the pack, one thing all the coaches agreed on was that it was nice to relax for a night, mingle, eat and take a deep breath before competition begins.
“It’s cool to see everybody,” Nazzaro said. “We’re enemies on the field and friends off the field and that’s what we preach to the kids, it’s good for the kids to get out here.”