Brunswick tops Darien in overtime as matchup meets anticipation

DARIEN — This matchup finally happened two years ago. They met again Saturday, and Darien and Brunswick played a game that met the hype.

“You mark this day on your calendar,” Brunswick long-stick midfielder Will Johnson said after the Bruins came back to win 9-8 in overtime. “A win is everything in this game. It’s just a lot of fun always.

“They’re a great team. It’s an awesome atmosphere here. Just a great time.”

Crowds on both sides of Darien’s stadium were into it throughout as Darien built a lead, Brunswick fought back, the Blue Wave rushed again and the Bruins came all the way back. But for the masks on spectators and coaches on a sunny, windy afternoon, it felt like old times.

The schedule was a slightly more hidden reminder of the pandemic. Brunswick has had a handful of CIAC teams on its schedule over the years, but it was originally scheduled to play five FCIAC teams this season. (A crosstown meeting with Greenwich isn’t likely to happen because the Cardinals wound up in quarantine to start the season, canceling the scheduled meeting.)

“That’s a lot to do with COVID,” Brunswick coach David Bruce said. “Our league ... couldn’t figure out whether or not we were going to be allowed to play day schools. We were stuck without a schedule.

“We picked up Darien, New Canaan, had Greenwich. We’ve got Ridgefield on Tuesday, (defeated) Wilton. It’s been fun. We get to play a lot of the local teams, and maybe some of those will stick for future years, which would be great. There are great teams in CT. I wish we could play more of them.”

Of the five, this was the marquee matchup. Darien is a unanimous No. 1 in the GameTimeCT poll, which doesn’t include non-CIAC schools. The Inside Lacrosse national rankings placed Brunswick 11th and Darien 18th this week; the Nike/US Lacrosse rankings, posted before Brunswick’s 7-6 loss to Lawrenceville School (N.J.), had the Bruins fifth and Darien one spot behind.

Both rosters are full of Division I college talent, and they showed up.

Princeton-bound attackman Coulter Mackesy scored the winner, his third goal, 33 seconds into overtime. He ran across right to left and shot left-handed back against the grain inside the right post.

“I found some success throughout the game sweeping across and getting some picks,” Mackesy said. “That just freed me up.”

Darien (5-1) grabbed a 7-3 lead early in the third quarter, and Brown-committed goalie Andy Demopoulos had done everything he could to keep the Bruins at bay. We had him for 18 saves; Brunswick had even more.

The Bruins (8-1) came back to tie it, and after Darien freshman attackman Brady Pokorny’s fourth goal reclaimed a lead, Brunswick’s Charlie Johnson, headed to Duke forced a Pokorny turnover, and Donovan, a Notre Dame commit, raced down the middle to re-tie it not long after.

“Whenever you lose a big game in overtime, there’s got to be some heartache, disappointment — gut-wrenching sometimes, particularly in the way we had played in spurts,” Darien coach Jeff Brameier said.

Brunswick had a big edge in shots, but Demopoulos robbed them repeatedly.

“Unfortunately he didn’t get a junior year. He had a game like that against St. Anthony’s (N.Y., as a sophomore), had most of the games like that in his career,” Brameier said. “He’s just a tremendous goalie. This year, most saves, including crucial saves, but it’s a loss. There’s no solace in that.”


“For us — I said before, Darien is the measuring stick of Connecticut. Much as we’d probably hate to admit that, that’s the truth. To be able to play them, finally got them scheduled the last couple of years: We’re honored to play them.” —Brunswick coach David Bruce

mfornabaio; @fornabaioctp


BRUNSWICK3 0 1 4 1—9

DARIEN4 1 2 1 0—8

Records: Brunswick 8-1; Darien 5-1. Scoring: B—Coulter Mackesy 3 goals, 1 assist; Leo Hoffman 2g; Tomas Delgado 1g,1a; Myles Speiss 1g; Blake Burchill 1g; Will Donovan 1g; Andrew Greenspan 1a; D—Brady Pokorny 4g; Jamison Moore 2g; Finn Pokorny 1g, 1a; Matt Minicus 1g, 1a; Sam Erickson 1a; Joe Cesare 1a; Connor O’Malley 1a. Goalies: B—Luke Schlank (7 saves); D—Andy Demopoulos (18). Shots: B—52; D—20.