The two top-seeded teams took care of business in the quarterfinal round of the FCIAC Tournament, while No. 4 Greenwich and third-seeded Darien also advanced, setting up Tuesday’s semifinal matchups.
Ridgefield (15-2), the No. 1 seed and top-ranked team in the state, will play fourth-seeded Greenwich (14-4) in Tuesday’s 7 p.m. semifinals at Brien McMahon. Darien (11-6) will face second-seeded rival New Canaan (15-2) in Tuesday’s other semifinal at 5:15 p.m., also at McMahon.
The Tigers, who lost to New Canaan in last year’s FCIAC final, earned another trip to the semifinals, defeating eighth-seeded Fairfield Ludlowe, 15-4. Greenwich, which was eliminated in the FCIAC quarterfinals last spring, advanced with an 11-8 win against fifth-seeded Staples. Darien set up its semifinal showdown with New Canaan by recording a 9-6 victory over sixth-seeded Wilton. The Rams, meanwhile, topped seventh-seeded St. Joseph, 11-4.
Here’s a look at Tuesday’s FCIAC semifinal matchups:
RIDGEFIELD VS. GREENWICH
TIGERS TOP SCORERS: Senior attack Brett Baker (66 goals, 14 assists); sophomore attack Simon Mathias (29 goals, 39 assists); senior midfielder Cal Dearth (17 goals, 34 assists); sophomore attack Ryan Dunn (16 goals, 19 assists); junior midfielder Will Bonaparte (22 goals, 9 assists).
CARDINALS TOP SCORERS: Junior midfielder Kyle Foote (two goals, three assists in win vs. Staples); senior midfielder Michael Ellsworth; senior midfielder Alex Moeser; junior attack Jamie Paradise; senior attack Will Gibian; junior midfielder Ryan Flippin.
SERIES HISTORY: Ridgefield holds an 8-7 edge in the series since 2005 and has won the last three meetings between the two teams dating back to 2011. The Cardinals are 2-1 against the Tigers in the team’s last three postseason games.
SPECIALISTS AT WORK: It will be interesting to see who controls the faceoffs in this battle. GHS senior Graham Savio has established himself as one of the premier faceoff men in the state, while Bonaparte takes a bulk of the faceoffs for the Tigers.
THE LAST TIME OUT: Baker, Micky Carbone and Bonaparte each recorded hat tricks in Ridgefield’s 10-5 season-opening win over Greenwich on April 2. The Tigers jumped out to a 4-0 lead early in the second quarter and were ahead 6-1 at halftime. The Cardinals had plenty of possession in the first quarter, but couldn’t convert any of their shots.
FIGURING OUT THE ZONE: The Tigers’ trademark zone defense gave the Cardinals trouble during the regular season meeting. Greenwich did exhibit solid ball movement on certain possessions, but scoring was a problem for the Cards, who must capitalize on their opportunities Tuesday.
TITLE COLLECTION: Ridgefield won its first FCIAC championship in 2009, defeating Darien. Greenwich has captured the FCIAC title twice (2007, 2010).
DARIEN VS. NEW CANAAN
DARIEN’S TOP SCORERS: Senior attack Kevin Seiler; junior attack Peter Lindley; senior midfielder Kyle Cornell; junior attack John Reed.
NEW CANAAN’s TOP SCORERS: Senior attack Puck Richardson; sophomore attack Michael Kraus; senior attack Harry Stanton; senior midfielder Duke Repko.
SERIES HISTORY: New Canaan beat Darien 9-4 during the regular season, but the Blue Wave have held the upper hand in this rivalry. Darien won its previous 10 games against New Canaan, including victories over the Rams in the 2005 and 2006 FCIAC title game. The Rams fell to the Blue Wave in the 2012 title game, 11-5 and in last year’s Class M title game.
THE LAST TIME OUT: Kraus and Stanton each recorded hat tricks in the Rams’ 9-4 win over the Blue Wave on April 17. Trent Nader was strong in goal, making 12 saves for New Canaan, which outscored Darien 4-0 after leading 3-2 at the half.
KEY MATCHUP: High-scoring Peter Lindley was limited to one goal in the regular season game against New Canaan and Rams senior defender Eric Persky was instrumental in the team’s impressive performance.
TITLE COLLECTION: The Blue Wave have garnered 12 FCIAC titles and nine state championships, while New Canaan has captured the conference crown eight times and has three state titles to its ledger.