It was Darien’s multitude of corners that ultimately and utterly tipped the balance in the Wave’s favor for a 4-0 victory over visiting Greenwich on Friday.
Wave (2-0) field hockey senior vet captain Lexi Perticone, with a pair, rookie Erica Osherow and senior Paxton Voigt had the goals, but it was on its more than a dozen corners that Darien crushed the Cards.
“We just don’t want it to turn out like last year, so we’ve been working really hard.”
— Lexi Perticone
Firing up those corners, Hollis Perticone. And by before the end of the game, the mere sight of her setting up on the goal line had to send a jolt of intimidation through the Greenwich ranks.
She’s got style
Like an archer — and, why not, it fits: with a little echo of images of, The Archer, the mythic Diana (this is scholastic sports, do they still teach this stuff in school?) — Perticone coils into a crouch, aims and fires, stick for a bow.
And like with the can’t-myth archer herself, the arrow lands dead center in setting Darien in motion to score a goal.
The first pass “insertion” has to be on the money. Otherwise, the whole chance is a bust.
“Well we worked a lot on them,” said Hollis Perticone. “And we have Erica and Kat (Huber) striking at the top, and making some good hits.”
Osherow scored off Darien’s seventh corner of the game for 1-0 late in a first half that was dominated by the Wave.
“We just have to get in there with some tips and keep passing it a lot,” Hollis Perticone added.
Paxton Voigt got her stick on the ball for one sparkler of a tip in with 3:59 to play in the half as Darien went up 2-0 off a corner, a blast and the tip in close.
“Well our first two goals were off of corners, and that definitely helped,” Hollis Perticone added. “And last year — we had so many corners — and we couldn’t capitalize on them.”
Back at the other end of the field, Wave goalie, returning starter Danica Hornick (five saves) was flawless.
Hornick stacked the pads like a pro making a stop to keep the game tied 0-0 less than 10 minutes in when an attacker took a long lead pass on her doorstep.
Lexi Perticone scored a crowd pleaser with 26:50 on the clock in the second for 3-0. Standing up next to the goalie she tapped a pass back between her feet, behind her, into the net.
“Yeah, I lifted my leg and put it through,” Lexi Perticone said. “Someone — Claire (Culliton) I think — just crossed it and I just tried to hit it and it went through.”
Any hopes of Greenwich getting back into it were halted with, again, an aggressive play in goal.
Hornick came out on a breakaway and flattened her pads one on top of the other to the turf to cut down the attacker, who before also being flattened, went flying.
You can’t do that, strictly, so Hornick had the opportunity for an encore.
Her encore drew louder applause than the first act, when she dove to her right to stop the resulting penalty stroke.
“I was just trying to relax and do what my instincts were telling me,” said Hornick. “Like, I can kind of tell where they are going to go sometimes.”
Hornick might be the most improved player in Darien — pick any sport — when you factor in that the bar is set higher than twice the altitude of her crossbar for this program.
She only lost a couple of games last year.
This year, playing like she did against Greenwich, should Darien lose any games, it’s not likely to be down to what’s happening between the posts.
She’s confident, on her toes, on the play and it shows.
Lexi Perticone capped it for 4-0 sweeping the ball to the back of the net from in front on the rush with 5:14 to play.
Hollis Perticone had two assists, Sloane Bessey and Voigt, Claire Culliton a helper apiece.
Darien put 12 shots on goal.
“We have great depth,” said Darien coach Mo Minicus. “And we are just trying to teach the girls to work hard in practice.
“To compete against each other and make each other better.”
“We have a lot of new players, half our team is sophomores and juniors,” Lexi Perticone said. “So we have a lot of new energy.”
Darien rolls into its third of three tough games to start the season at Wilton Wednesday.
It’s not an average match-up, the Warriors being the team that put Darien out of the playoffs last year, stomping the life from a five-year title-winning streak, as well as a nearly 100-victory run.
“We just don’t want it to turn out like last year, so we’ve been working really hard.” Lexi Perticone said.
“We are really stressing this year: the forwards, play defense; double-team, tackle-back,” Minicus added. “And they did it the last two games and it’s made a huge, huge difference.”