How have things gone since Darien dropped two straight to start the season?
About as good as Dillon Schoen’s header looked and was executed in Wave girls’ soccer’s 3-0 win at Brien McMahon on Saturday.
We said, we want to win FCIACs and states and make a tradition for ourselves.
— Kristy Gilbert
Kristy Gilbert set her up in divine fashion, like dropping a halo on Schoen’s head with the feed on a rush from the left wing. And Schoen finished it with a nod while racing down the middle, butting the ball into the top left corner from 15 yards smack in front.
“Well, every day in practice, (coaches) Leigh and Mike are telling me to take the girl on, or, cross it,” Gilbert said. “And make her make a decision, with what I’m going to do.
“And when I thought I had an option for anyone in the center, I was like, alright, I’m going to cross it in right now.”
Schoen scored again to make it 3-0, from the angle, not long after that and Darien pulled away — after a dull start — from a McMahon that did not want to let go of the game after falling behind 1-0 early in the first half.
Kelly Karczewski scored the first goal.
Phoebe Taylor started in goal for the Wave and was spelled by back-up Kate Fiore late in the second half.
So Darien evens its record at 2-2 going into matches vs. Westhill and New Canaan next week in hopes of getting into the over-.500 column.
“I think we needed to get that jitter out,” Wave coach Leigh Parsons said. “Nothing can beat that match sharpness. Hopefully we’ve turned the corner now.”
“I mean, we started off a little rough,” said Gilbert. “We had Wilton, Trumbull. Tough teams. Very tough, and very physical, and I don’t think we were really ready for that.”
Parsons made it clear, with in fact many viable players to choose from, solidifying assignments was not going happen at the crack of the starting gun this season.
“We were kind of flipping positions, trying to get a rhythm,” Gilbert said. “It was really tough to find. And when we lost those two games, we didn’t want to lose any more.
“And we kind of made it a goal that those were going to be our only two losses.”
They had a meeting.
“And basically we said, we want to win FCIACs and states and make a tradition for ourselves,” Gilbert said. “And I think that’s kind of motivating everyone now.”
Not being able to break free of the Senators in the first half didn’t fit into the plan.
“The first half was definitely frustrating,” Gilbert said. “We were getting into, like, the other players’ minds. And the physical aspect of it.
“But when we really got down and played second half, we passed around all their players. And we really played, like how we (know how to) play.”
Darien’s coming back without one giant ball of fire in Ellie Bennett, out with an injured ankle, but expected soon to return, maybe next week.
“It’s not serious,” she said, lumbered with a removable ankle cast, but still buoyant on the bench.
They are going to need her heat.
“All the teams in the league are good teams,” Parsons said. “Brien McMahon, they’re going to make you earn it. They never give up, they have some good players.”
But once Darien had taken the game away early in the second half, all manner of rookies fit right in, looking sharp.
“We like to include them in all the practices,” Gilbert added. “And really get them up to speed. Because the speed of, travel, and even Premiere, is a lot different than high school. And the girls are more physical.
“So we like to get them acclimated and to know how we play.”
Losing the first two seems to have acclimated DHS right away to what’s at stake for a team that could go far this fall.
“It’s tough,” said Parsons. “We had Wilton, who is very good this year. They come out, they’re physical, they get stuck in. We knew they were going to be a good team.
“The thing is: how are we going to react? How are we going to react to Wilton?”
Darien reacted by using the Trumbull loss to find out what fits.
“Moving girls around and trying to find out what works for us,” Parsons said. “We have a lot of talent, depth. The girls that went in, they can play. Everyone can play.”
The Wave’s in it for the long haul.
“They seem much more focused and up for a battle, ready to fight,” Parsons said. “So it’s kind of putting it together during the course of the whole season.
“But I’d rather us warming up toward the end, than at the beginning.”