FCIAC girls lacrosse Back to the finals
NORWALK — In what has become an annual rite of spring, the Darien Blue Wave girls lacrosse team is once again headed to the FCIAC championship game.
Darien reached the final for the ninth consecutive season and for the 19th time in 25 years when the Wave defeated the Wilton Warriors, 19-9, in the semifinals Monday night at Testa Field in Norwalk.
The Wave bolted out to a 5-0 lead in the first half and although Wilton hung around within three goals until the second half, Darien was never truly threatened as itx went on to win by 10.
For the Blue Wave, it was the perfect 50 minutes.
“All season long, we’ve either played a good first half and a weak second half, or a weak first half and a good second half,” Darien junior Ashley Humphrey, who had five goals and three assists, said. “We were really looking for that perfect 50-minute game, and we came out really strong and finished really strong.”
Top-seeded Darien (16-2) will square off against either No. 2 New Canaan or No. 3 Staples in the final at 7 p.m., Wednesday, at Norwalk High School. New Canaan and Staples played in Monday’s late semifinal game.
Darien will be bidding for its eight consecutive FCIAC crown, and is 17-1 in the conference final in program history.
Darien had beaten Wilton in a tough 10-8 matchup less than two weeks ago, but this time, it was all Blue Wave.
“We did a better job on the draw,” Darien head coach Lisa Lindley said. “Maggie Ramsay, the freshman, did a really good job and won like 10 straight draws at the beginning, and that threw them off. And of course we scored goals and we got a five-goal lead which helped. Overall, we played a much crisper game this time.”
In the opening five-goal run, four different players scored for Darien. Sarah Jaques, who had a game-high six goals and three assists, broke the ice, followed by Maddie Joyce (4 goals, 1 assist), Humphrey, and Shea van den Broek (1 goal, 2 assists). When Humphrey scored her second goal, the Wave had a 5-0 lead 12:37 into the game.
“That was a really great way to gain the momentum,” Humphrey said. “That was probably the best we could’ve started out and it gave us a comfortable lead for the rest of the game.”
For Wilton, Sophia Sudano (4 goals) broke the slide when she scored at the 13:11 mark, and the Warriors closed the half with a 4-2 run to close the gap to 7-4 at halftime.
After trading goals early in the second half, however, Darien blew it open, outscoring Wilton 10-3 over the final 18 minutes.
The Blue Wave’s offense was in synch for the entire game, with 10 of the goals coming with assists. Darien has had to contend with the loss of senior co-captain Nicole Humphrey to a season-ending injury, and was in fine form.
“I was pleased because we had several different scorers and that’s something we’ve been working on with Nicole being out,” Lindley said. “Maddie Joyce had a good game, Jordan (Vaught) had a key goal, Ashley had some key goals and Sarah always scores.”
“Losing my sister Nicole was obviously hard for our offense, so we’re trying to get back into it,” Ashley Humphrey said. “But everything’s falling great, everyone’s communicating, and we’re running through the plays rather than getting the first look. It’s really coming together well.”
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Sarah Jaques and Ashley Humphrey, Darien. The Blue Wave offense was humming and Jaques and Humphrey were the two main cogs, combining for 11 goals and six assists.
“We let up two games in the regular season, which I think we could’ve put away, but in the postseason everyone is really focused. This is our end goal. Our whole season works towards this moment. This is where we all step up and work together to win a championship.” — Darien junior Ashley Humphrey
DARIEN 19, WILTON 9
WILTON 4 5 — 9
DARIEN 7 12 — 19
Wilton: Sophie Sudano 4g; Anna Sherman 3g; Olivia Gladstein 2a; Julia Skillin 2a; Taylor LaMantia 1g; Carly Sullivan 1g; Darien: Sarah Jaques 6g, 3a; Ashley Humphrey 5g, 3g; Maddie Joyce 4g, 1a; Shea van den Broek 1g, 2a; Kit Arrix 1g, 1a; Mason Maloney 1g; Jordan Vaught 1g; Goalies: W — Bridgette Wall 11 saves, Tate Paulson 4 saves; D — Shea Dolce 12 saves; Records: Wilton (11-7); Darien (16-2)