As many championship squads are, undefeated Darien (Conn.) received a strong boost from a strong senior class on their way to the program’s 10th state title under lhead coach Jeff Brameier.
However, that doesn’t mean that underclassmen didn’t play a role.
Finlay Collins, a natural midfielder who has excelled at attack, received a great amount of burn as a freshman and carried over the success to the summer. Brameier, who also coaches the recent Penn commit in the offseason with the CT Chargers, can vouch for that.
“Finlay is a great athlete with a tremendous skill set and an excellent lacrosse IQ,” Brameier, who has been the head coach at Darien for 31 years, says of his pupil. “This spring, I expect him to bring his explosiveness and versatility to the offense, competing for time at spots vacated by graduation in both the midfield and attack.”
A creative dodger who can go to his off hand without much drop-off, his tools are likely best suited for the midfield due to his ability to elude defenders up top and create separation before getting off a shot. Collins’ vision makes him an asset during unsettled opportunities and he’s able to unleash the rock with a quick release on the run, a quality that had top collegiate programs all over him during the recruiting process.
Ultimately, the 6-foot, 175-pound prospect chose the Penn Quakers after visiting Princeton and Dartmouth. Read more about Collins’ decision to attend a school with a reputation for scooping up standout recruits over the last six months:
What went into your decision to commit to Penn?
Penn’s an awesome place and I couldn’t be happier about the decision, especially considering that my dad went there. I’ve always heard great things about Penn – first and foremost it’s a really strong school with an excellent business program, which I’m interested in even though it’s early to say. As a student, Penn’s a really good fit with a lot to offer, fitting my academic profile really well.
I like that it’s in the middle of Philly with a great campus and a very tightly knit group of guys on the team. I went there on a visit as a freshman for the homecoming football game as well the prospect day this month and loved it both times.
Penn head coach Mike Murphy has been on a roll lately with some of his commits. What can you say about him and the other recruits headed to Philly?
Coach Murphy is an outstanding coach who definitely has the program headed in the right direction. He’s an incredible man who I look up to tremendously and even though he’s not always the most verbal guy, he’s someone who you’re always motivated to play your best for.
I like that there are two Darien kids, Mark Evanchick and Jack Book, headed there as well as a good friend from Brunswick in Max Metalios. I can’t wait to see what the team chemistry is like when we’re all there. I haven’t met a lot of Penn’s recruits but I’ve heard that there are a lot of talented kids coming in over the next few years.
What did your playing time on the Darien’s state championship team do for your confidence heading into the summer circuit?
I was nervous as first stepping onto the field but got into my comfort zone more and more as the season went on and it was a great year. After playing and practicing at the varsity level against some of the best players in the country, I definitely felt like I was experienced enough to play with anyone in my grade. It sort of helped my assertiveness, as people want me to be more aggressive going to the goal even though I don’t think of myself as a 1-on-1 kind of player.
What is Darien’s outlook heading into the 2015 season?
We lost a really good group of seniors to graduation and might be relatively young, however we have a rather strong junior class and some sophomores with a lot of potential. Ian Burgoyne (Navy) is a senior who took a lot of games into his own hands last spring and it’ll be fun to see him continue to take over next spring because he’s one of the best midfielders I’ve played with. In my class, there are players like Riley Stewart (Brown) and Kevin Lindley (Loyola) who I’d expect to thrive. There are a lot of other kids – both established starters and under the radar types – that people will be impressed by.