With every corner attempt, Darien found itself a little more cornered.
Staples snared what seemed a multitude of Darien corners in the second half, and scored on a tip-in with 5:55 to go, to come away with a 1-0 Class L Final victory over the Wave at Wethersfield on Saturday.
I couldn’t be prouder of them for even getting to this game. They just grew tremendously this season.
— Mo Minicus
The Wreckers’ defense was that stingy in securing the school’s first sole, rather than co-state title, pulling away the crown it shared with the Darien near a year ago to the day.
“I’m proud of their fight, they never gave up, to the last cross,” Darien coach Mo Minicus said. “Just one of those games. The ball really didn’t bounce our way today.”
Five seed Darien completes its season as league champs and state runner-up at 16-3-1, losing twice to Staples (15-2-0-1), once in the regular season.
Christine Taylor let go with a blast from 20 yards out in front that skittered along the turf like a knuckle ball, and Abby Najarian got her stick on it for the tip in that took off and hit the back of the cage.
“That was a great tip by Staples, a well-hit ball,” Minicus said. “And those are the goals you want to score.”
Darien’s opportunities were kept to few for long stretches.
And when the Wave crashed the net looking to go ahead three minutes into the second half, with its best chance of the game, the caused foul resulting in a penalty stroke by Kendall Wisinski, was stopped.
Wisinski’s top shelf shot appeared labeled for the right corner, and was only prevented from providing the Wave with a momentum building lead by a top notch save with the blocker from Bridget Mulloy (five saves).
“You move on — next play — it happens,” said Minicus. “The goalie made a good save.”
Darien kept pushing as the clock ran down.
A ball rolled right across the front, just missing with the goalie out of position.
And Wave attackers broke in, got close, but at the crucial moment the ball got gummed up. It wouldn’t budge in the happiest direction for the Wave.
Erica Blaze (seven saves) kept the Wreckers off the board in the first half with several well judged stand-up kick saves and could not be faulted on the goal.
“She did everything she could,” Minicus said.
Darien has been co-champion two of the last four seasons last winning states outright in 2013.
“But the girls played their hearts out,” Minicus said. “I couldn’t be prouder of them for even getting to this game. They just grew tremendously this season.”