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‘We brought them both back this year’

Returning as double-champs, Wave beats Cheshire 4-0 for Class L title

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Rookie, freshman Georgia Cassidy (No. 9) raises her arms after raising Darien’s first goal of the game. Sloane Bessey’s (No. 11) glad she did. (Photo courtesy of Mark Maybell)

FIELD HOCKEY

It wasn’t a showboat move. Couldn’t be, Kat Huber’s no showoff.

But her late game Spin-O-Rama — twirl of a 360 move with the ball on her stick on the attack from midfield — about summed up the mastery at the Wave’s disposal in its 4-0 Class L field hockey title win over Cheshire at Cottone Field in Wethersfield on sunny Saturday morning.

And there was plenty of mastery to go around for DHS, back in the state championship medal parade after a hiatus of one season; having prior to that, won five straight.

It’s one game at a time, one practice at a time, and we peaked at the right time.

It was beautiful.

— Mo Minicus

“I’m so excited,” senior co-captain Lexi Perticone said, she summing up the mood all around her, entirely, in three words.

“Best senior year ever,” said co-captain Huber.

“We lost last year, we brought them both back this year,” Perticone added, etching the bottom line in blue, of taking back the FCIAC and now state titles.

Darien had two goals from Claire Culliton, one and an assist from freshman Georgia Cassidy and another marker from Hollis Perticone, breaking in alone; while Lexi Perticone had two assists and Hollis Perticone one. Lexi sprang Hollis on the breakaway with a sonar-reading set-up, stick-to-stick over the turf.

Top seed Darien completes the season 19-1, No. 2 Cheshire close out at 17-3.

“It was just really nice to score early, because you gain a lot of confidence,” said Culliton, with Cassidy breaking it open early as a tall 26:16 glowed up on the clock in the first half.

In goal, Darien had five saves from Danika Hornick, coming up big off a corner late in the first half, coming out to make a pad save to her left, with the game still in the balance. Although, that balance always favored the Wave, up 3-0 at the half, outshooting Cheshire 15-5.

Hornick kept herself in the moment, moment-to-moment shouting encouragement and some guidance up to her players at the other end of the field throughout the match. She was a little like a verbal puppet master with a purpose.

“I’m really communicating with my team most of the time,” said Hornick. “So that really keeps me in the game.”

Darien becomes dual champs, again for the first time in two-season, and again, after winning twin titles five years in row up through 2010.

And the Wave made it happen, again, by beating Rams — this time the Cheshire variety, after taking down the common NC kind of lady sheep in the FCIAC “semis-final” a few weeks back.

“It’s one game at a time, one practice at a time, and we peaked at the right time,” said Wave coach Mo Minicus. “It was beautiful.”

And it was not as easy as it looked today, especially beating New Milford 1-0 on a penalty stroke in the semis.

“It was actually a hard tournament for us and I think that helped us,” Minicus said. “I think every single game we played in this tournament was a challenge.”

It was a challenge for Cheshire to at any time take control of the ball. The Wave had it on a string. A very long string, tied to each stick.

“The passing game is our thing, and we try not to get caught up in frantic big-ball play,” Minicus added. “And they just connected.”

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Darien Times Sports Editor since 2000

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