BY DAN ARESTIA
At no point in regulation of Saturday’s nonleague game between two of Connecticut’s best programs did Brunswick lead.
Darien scored the game’s first four goals, and with the way Blue Wave goalie Andy Demopoulos was playing, it looked like that might even be enough to stake Darien to a win. The Eclipse standout, Brown commit and NLFRankings.com’s No. 13 player in the 2021 class, Demopoulos is almost impossible to beat when he’s dialed in.
Brunswick, though, never blinked. The Bruins chipped away at the lead, and when the game needed bonus lacrosse to settle a winner, struck. Princeton commit Coulter Mackesy buried his third goal of the game to cement a 9-8 Brunswick win.
“That’s the energy of the game,” said Darien Coach Jeff Brameier. “A team does something well, there’s that burst of energy. We had it in the beginning, they had it on a three-goal run, it teetered back and forth. And they have the athletes to get excited with. They make plays, get physical, and take off.”
Demopoulos Nearly Steals the Show
Despite the loss, Demopoulos stole the show and nearly willed Darien (5-1) to the win. He amassed 18 saves and looked unbeatable at times as the Blue Wave raced to a 4-0 early lead. Jamison Moore (Prime Time / Princeton) triggered the Blue Wave’s early lead with a pair of goals. Blake Burchill (Eclipse / Bucknell) helped stem the tide with some timely faceoff wins and NLF No. 3 ’23 Tomas Delgado (Prime Time) triggered a scoring spurt that saw the Bruins scored three times in under a minute. Then the defenses took over.
Demopolous stood tall, and Darien’s David Evanchick (Eclipse / Villanova) was excellent as well. Sam Erickson (Prime Time / Army) and Mackesy battled hard in the first half, with Erickson winning the matchup early, and scoring an assist in the contest as well.
“I thought we were matched up right. Offensively, they’re like us. Six very good players including their two shorties. We have four guys going two ways. I think offensively we looked for things we can do against a team like that,” Brameier said.
For Brunswick, the combination of NLF No. 24 ’21 Colin Mulshine (Prime Time / Princeton), Mario Rinaldi (Prime Time / Bucknell), and Will Donovan (Notre Dame) were able to limit the production of the Darien attack. Freshman Brady Pokorny (Eclipse) scored four times and NLF No. 44 ’22 Matthew Minicus (Eclipse / Loyola) added a goal and an assist. For Brunswick, NLF No. 2 ’23 Leo Hoffman (Team 91 Long Island) also scored twice, including a critical goal late to tie the game at seven; the first time since 0-0 that Brunswick wasn’t trailing.
Pokorny’s four goals would be impressive for any player in a game of this caliber, but his being a freshman speaks to an ability to handle big moments despite his inexperience.
“He’s our second leading scorer. You tip your cap to a young guy being able to come in a relatively handle pressure. He makes some freshman mistakes but he’s worked hard,” Brameier said of Pokorny.
“I think the difference is their guys don’t feel like they need to hit a home run. Some of my guys still feel like they need to hit a home run with every pass. If it gets picked off or knocked down, it’s something we have to work on,” said Brameier.
Brunswick coach David Bruce had plenty of praise for the Darien program.
“Darien is the measuring stick of Connecticut. To be able to play them, finally got them scheduled the last couple of years; we’re honored to play them,” he said.
BRUNSWICK 9, DARIEN 8
Brunswick 3 0 1 4 1 – 9
Darien 4 1 2 1 0 – 8
Coulter Mackesy 3 goals, 1 assist
Leo Hoffman 2 goals
Tomas Delgado 1 goal, 1 assist
Myles Spiess 1 goal
Blake Burchill 1 goal
Will Donovan 1 goal
Andrew Greenspan 1 assist
Luke Schlank 7 saves
Brady Pokorny 4 goals
Jamison Moore 2 goals
Finn Pokorny 1 goal, 1 assist
Matt Minicus 1 goal, 1 assist
Sam Erickson 1 assist
Joe Cesare 1 assist
Connor O’Malley 1 assist
Andy Demopoulos 18 saves