Updated 2:04pm Nov. 12 — Katie Elders smacked and broke a red ball clear in half in warm-ups.
“Everyone was saying it was good luck,” said Elders, moments after the omen was made real, early in overtime, when the junior fired from the right side on the fly to score the deciding goal in a 2-1 Class L quarterfinals victory over Norwalk at Testa Field on Friday night.
Going into overtime, I knew we had it.
— Kendall Wisinski
“We came out confident, we moved the ball well,” said Darien coach Mo Minicus. “We kind of were patient in how we were going to attack them.”
KiKi Tropsa put the Wave up 1-0 from right in front in the first half, but Norwalk came back to tie it in the second on a breakaway.
“I thought we got a little tentative in the second half,” Minicus said. “We weren’t moving the ball as quickly and crisply as we needed to, and that set up a breakaway.”
Erica Blaze (nine saves) came out, sprawled and made the initial stop, in what was still her best save of the playoffs. But the rebound was snared and put into the net.
“Erica did everything she could, she made a great save,” said Minicus. “But the Norwalk girl got the rebound.”
In overtime Darien knocked hard on the door before Elders ripped it off its hinges.
“I know, like five times,” said Sydney Schrenker of the Wave’s chances in the short extra stanza. “And then Katie was able to put it in the back of the net — it was just awesome.”
The Wave, improving to 15-2-1, plays No. 1 Enfield (18-0) in the semifinals at Cheshire 5pm Tuesday.
“We definitely have some great competition coming our way,” added Schrenker. “But we’re ready to take them on.”
Sophomore Molly Hellman, indeed making like Hades down the wing often, took a pass from Bridget Mahoney from deep midfield on the right side and got by a player on the rush.
She fed to Elders on her left with the entire attack in motion.
Elders lined up a sweep-shot, that if it did not break the ball in two a second time, broke overtime all to victory smithereens.
Tropsa’s 1-0 goal with 8:07 to go in the first-half was scored off her own corner feed to Mahoney, on to Elders, with Elders letting go across the front of the net from the right side, 10 yards out.
Planted in front, Shea van den Broek deflected the shot, steering it onto Tropsa’s outstretched stick.
Tropsa finished leaning low to one-time it in just inside the left post that she hugged.
Kendall Wisinski, nursing a hamstring injury, played early on to test it out, like in the game prior.
“I went in for the first five minutes, felt a little tightness pull,” she said. “Then I had to come out. It was better safe than sorry.”
She had a little twinge about overtime too.
“Watching the game from the sideline, going into overtime, I knew we had it,” Wisinski said.
Some were numb
With wind chills — in the low 20s? — this could have been among the 10 most inhospitable weather conditions a state tournament field hockey game’s ever had to contend with.
“Oh my gosh, we are wearing so many layers, I didn’t think we could be cold,” said Tropsa. “But we are.”
“I mean, they were just so tough,” said Minicus. “Molly Hellman couldn’t even feel her hands in the second half. The poor thing, she’s like, ‘I can’t even feel my hands.’ And yet, she played so incredibly well. She was unreal.”
She wasn’t the only one.
“I can’t feel my hands,” Lindsey Wallach gleefully declared amidst much glee in the celebration gaggle following Elders’s goal.
What they all could feel, was good. Real good.