FAIRFIELD - Go out and have some fun.

That’s what Warde boys’ lacrosse coach Tom Cunningham made sure to tell his senior captain Gareth Gacetta before the Mustangs went out against the three-time defending state and FCIAC champions Darien Tuesday night at Tetreau-Davis field. And while the outcome was as expected - the Blue Wave rolled 18-4 - Galcetta had a lot of fun, scoring all four Warde goals.

“It’s always tough coming out here playing against them, you know they’re one of the best teams in the country, but that’s what we prepare for, we like playing these games,” Gacetta said. “We come out thinking it’s more like a practice for our team, we want to try and dial in our own skills and get the offense working and that’s what I tried to do tonight.”

It was the second straight four-goal game for Gacetta, who also netted four goals (along with two assists) in a 18-6 win over Stratford.

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Score

18

Darien

4

Warde

“That’s what I’ve been preaching to Gareth, is go out there and play, just have fun playing the game,” Cunningham said. “He did a great job, especially in the second half with a couple of great moves for himself. And that’s what we want these guys to do, go out there and compete. Have some fun with the game and play every time they step on the field 110 percent.”

Warde gave everything it had but playing against Darien is more than just a challenge. Over the last three seasons, the Blue Wave have captured three straight state titles, three straight FCIAC championships and have posted a 66-3 overall record. When Ludlowe faced Darien about a week ago - and lost 23-5 - Falcons coach Chris Parisi could only say this about the Blue Wave.

“They’re a good Division I college team.”

And on Tuesday, Darien proved that again, racing out to a 9-0 lead after the first quarter and coasting the rest of the game.

“They are a very, very talented group,” Cunningham said. “Well coached, very deep. They have tons of guys that can play.”

One of those is senior attack Kevin Lindley, who five goals and added an assist to lead the Blue Wave while junior attack Logan McGovern added three goals and two assists. Ethan Dewbrey also had three goals for Darien.

It didn’t take Darien long to establish itself as Lindley stole a pass from in front of the goal and beat Mustangs goalkeeper Ted Coppola just 27 seconds into the match to put the Blue Wave in front. Barely a minute later, it was McGovern scoring and Darien was off and running.

Five more goals in the second quarter pushed the Darien margin to 13-1 at halftime. When you consider that Coppola made 13 saves in the opening half - many of them spectacular - the score could have been a lot worse.

“Teddy’s really had some solid games for us,” Cunningham said. “He’s kept us in some games and he made some great saves against some top-notch shooting. He looked great in the cage.”

Darien kept the pressure on in the third quarter, scoring three more times to make it 16-2 and with a running clock in the fourth quarter, coasted to the victory.

“We’re a junior-senior group,” Darien coach Jeff Brameier said. “We know they’re (Warde) a fairly young team. They’ve got some good, young kids and they’re going to get good. It just takes time.”

Over the past 20 years, Darien lacrosse has been like a dynasty. The Wave have won 12 state championships and 15 FCIAC crowns. Brameier has built this program from the ground up. And that’s what Cunningham is working on doing at Warde, making sure his players play hard, but also have fun.

“You play against a team like Darien, we learned a lot of things that we absolutely need to work on,” Cunningham said. “There were some positives to pull out of it, our team defense was pretty good in the second half against a very good team.”

celsberry@ctpost.com