Falling into a four-game losing streak, only breaking out with a 6-0 win over winless Trinity on Friday, Blue Wave soccer needed to still find some traction going into the season’s home stretch.
And the Wave did just that in knotting FCIAC No. 1 Norwalk (11-1-1) 0-0 at home on Tuesday, in the best result of an otherwise rickety season, following its best season ever last year.
He (Fisher) made some good saves. His best performance so far.
— Jon Bradley
The tie put the Wave in states, with three games to go before an FCIAC tournament it is now making a run at.
“They played very, very well,” said Wave coach Jon Bradley. “Nice way to get into the state tournament.”
Darien is ninth in the county league at 6-6-1 and with 19 points.
The Bears are secure at the top with 34, on the cusp of clinching.
“We’ll certainly knuckle down, continue to work hard,” Bradley said in the pit of this season’s despair, after losing to Staples 4-1 back on Oct. 10. “Back to basics. And we’ll look to put a good run together.”
It seems the run has begun.
The Wave has remaining games at Bassick (2-8-1) and Stamford (sixth place, 8-3-2) then hosts Trumbull (11th, 5-5-3) in the regular season finale 4 p.m. Oct. 24.
Darien is chasing Staples and Danbury — tied in seventh with 25 points at 8-4-1 — for the last and eighth FCIAC playoff berth.
FCIACs begin Oct. 26 with quarterfinals.
“The program is making huge strides compared to over the last decade,” said Bradley, in his second year. “And it’s a learning curve for us.”
The ball was in the Wave’s face, a lot against the Bears. But the blue and white did not lose any face in weathering that.
Darien reportedly was outshot 20-3.
And outstanding was Wave senior goalie Jack Fisher facing every volley down, making 11 stops.
“He made some good saves,” Bradley said. “His best performance so far.”
Svet Kozak made three saves for the Bears.
Darien is finding its legs in its youth.
“We started three freshmen and two sophomores,” said Bradley.
They are ninth graders Andrew Mathew, Bart Dziedzic and Jack Kniffen, and sophomores John Mackie and Henrik Stockinger.
“We had two or three chances where we could have definitely scored,” Bradley said. “Obviously they’re top of the league for a reason. And it was a really complete team performance.”
Darien rotated 13 players.
“The upper classmen really stepped up,” added Bradley. “And the younger ones were brilliant.
“I mean to go on the field and play like that against a top team in the league.”
It’s a very rare occasion that Darien makes states two years in a row, and has a shot at making FCIACs two years running.
“Now we have to continue to work hard and to pick up points so we can move up (in the standings) to give ourselves a fighting chance of making FCIACs.”