Blanking a perennial powerhouse in Lakeland 2-0 last week boosts the Wave just that little bit more heading into the post season.
Starting the way we did, you couldn’t ask more of a team in a big game like that.
— Mo Minicus
“They were Class B (New York) state champions, they were undefeated,” said Darien field hockey coach Mo Minicus.
The Wave’s not undefeated, but beating Lakeland made it 12 wins in a row, with Darien having only fallen to Wilton this season.
The Wave is 14-1 overall and 12-1 FCIAC with county quarterfinals on Saturday.
Darien plays Staples in its final regular season game at Westport today.
Staples lost a strong senior class from last year, when the Wreckers eliminated Darien in the playoffs.
The Wave would like to have its revenge, but won’t go in blindly looking for only that.
“Anything goes, anything can happen,” Minicus said.
So what happened when Lakeland came to town on Saturday?
“We started off scoring two goals in the first 2:30 of the game,” Minicus said.
Lexi Perticone and Claire Culliton scored.
“Then it was a 0-0 battle,” Minicus said of the rest of the game. “The girls played hard and they hung on.
“But starting the way we did, you couldn’t ask more of a team in a big game like that; to be ready to go from the first whistle.”
Darien made it 1-0 off a penalty corner.
“We had lost possession, then regained possession,” Minicus said. “And brought it down the right side and got it into the circle and caused a corner, pretty quickly.”
Darien went to the net and a scramble ensued after Hollis Perticone whacked the ball into play.
Kat Huber tipped the ball to Lexi Perticone at the right post and she put it in.
“It was a broken corner,” Minicus said. “But sometimes those are the best goals.”
It was just 48 seconds into the match.
Darien raced back on to the attack down the right side, crossed the ball to Sloane Bessey at the top of the circle.
Bessey one-timed it from outside the circle on net and Culliton got a stick on it for 2-0.
“It happened so fast,” said Minicus. “The other team didn’t even think Claire got a stick on it.”
Now Darien needed to just stick it out.
“It was slightly unsettling knowing that we had 58 more minutes of game play,” Minicus said. “Against, a powerhouse. And it was a battle.”
The Wave pushed up its lineup.
“And just made ourselves more defensive,” added Minicus. “Just to protect our lead, our defensive end, to protect (goalie) Danica (Hornick).”
Hornick (six saves) protected the cage.
Hornick holds the fort
“Danica was amazing at the end of the game,” said Minicus. “She made four saves in a row, just from their penalty corners.
“They have some big hitters, and these two girls, four times in a row, just ripped these shots from the top of the circle. And Danica was there to make the saves.”
Hornick popped the ball up causing the corners to multiply, causing her, to keep making the saves while the official held the whistle mute.
“She popped the ball up, so it’s another corner until the officials blow the whistle,” Minicus said. “The other team has an opportunity to still score. And our defense was tough. They didn’t let them.”
There were four corners in a row.
“But it was awesome — her saves were great,” Minicus said. “They were hard shots and she just got her toe on it.”
And the defense snipped off the rebounds.
“That was the last two minutes of the game,” Minicus said.
Darien had 11 shots on goal.
Culliton and Bessey had an assist each.
Darien 6, Stamford 1
In the first of the back-to-back games at home, Darien beat Stamford 6-1 on Friday.
“It was our Senior Day — great moments, by the juniors, given toward the seniors,” Minicus said. “Touching — cute.”
Hollis Perticone had a hat trick and an assist, Kyla Johns scored twice, Kat Huber scored and had an assist, Erica Osherow had a helper, Sam Wright an assist, Lexi Perticone one assist.
Hornick made four saves.