The way the girls lacrosse season is shaking out, the Darien Blue Wave and New Canaan Rams likely haven’t seen the last of each other. That’s not a guarantee, however, so for the Darien seniors, Saturday’s 13-6 victory was a memorable career moment.
“It might be our last time playing New Canaan, so this really meant a lot to the seniors and everyone knew that,” senior co-captain Katie Ramsay said. “From the freshmen to the seniors who were playing together, it was really important for us to have this win.”
The Wave never trailed, but the game was much closer than the final score indicates, as New Canaan trailed by just one goal with 8:56 remaining. After that, Darien took control of the draws and found its scoring touch while adding seven goals in the final eight minutes and 19 seconds.
The win kept Darien on top in the rivalry, as the Blue Wave hasn’t lost to the Rams since the 2012 Class M quarterfinals. New Canaan has played tough in many of the meetings the past few years, but the Wave always seems to find a way to win.
“For me, it’s like every other game, but for the kids, it’s a big deal,” New Canaan head coach Kristin Woods said. “Every year they try and get up for it and they come out and compete hard. Unfortunately they don’t compete the whole 50 minutes. Hopefully, by the end of the season, we will.”
The Blue Wave attack, which was held to just three goals in the first 25 minutes but still had a 3-1 lead at the break, netted 10 goals in the second half.
Darien had scoring from seven players, led by hat tricks from Ramsay and Ashley Humphrey, who also had one assist. Sarah Jaques had two goals; Nicole Humphrey, Maddie Joyce and senior co-captain Kendall Wisinski and senior co-captain Christine Fiore each had a goal and an assist; and senior co-captain Emma Jaques scored once.
Add in the contributions of Ramsay, Sarah Jaques and Charlotte Wittstock on draws, and it was another strong multi-player performance for the Wave.
“In our system, everyone has to contribute,” Darien head coach Lisa Lindley said. “It’s not a star system and today was indicative of that because at any moment, I have 10 players who can score. That’s why we’re successful.”
For New Canaan, the stars of the day were on defense, led by goalie Caroline O’Dea and senior co-captains Leigh Charlton and Julia Ozimek, Natalie Lopez, Caroline Schuh and Jane Charlton, among others.
“They played outstanding,” Woods said. “Our defense executed everything we worked on throughout this week at practice. I can’t be more proud of all of our defenders, midfield and our low Ds, and Caroline — she played great.”
“Normally in games we can feed the middle and get some really nice finesse shots,” Ramsay said. “But we know that New Canaan has a really strong, tight defense, so we have to make sure we weren’t forcing anything. We were waiting for that opening and 1-v-1s instead of small feeds.”
Offensively, the Rams received two goals apiece from senior co-captain Braeden Dial and Campbell Connors, a goal and an assist from senior co-captain Karlie Bucci, and a goal by Lauren Bisceglia.
Darien’s defense, which included Maddie Brooks in the goal, along with Nicole Humphrey, Emma Jaques, Maddie Joyce and Evan Finn among others, held the Rams scoreless for the first 23:28 of the game.
Ashley Humphrey netted the first Darien goal at the 9:33 mark, and Sarah Jaques made it 2-0 five minutes later.
Dial’s free position goal for the Rams 1:32 before halftime made it 2-1, but Ashley Humphrey added one more goal with 7.1 seconds on the clock for a 3-1 Wave lead.
New Canaan came out firing in the second half, as Connors and Dial found the net to tie the score at 3-3. After Sarah Jaques put the Wave back in front, Connors scored again to forge a 4-4 tie.
Darien answered with a three-goal run, as Ramsay, Emma Jaques and Fiore all scored. New Canaan came back with goals from Bisceglia and Bucci to cut the deficit to one at 7-6.
The Wave, however, was not to be denied as Joyce scored to start a finishing 6-0 run over the final 8:19. Throughout the closing minutes, Darien dominated on draws and maintained possession.
“Getting the draw,” Lindley said of key to the Wave’s offensive run. “Ramsay did a very good job. We switched some people on the circle and Charlotte Wittstock came up huge possessions, so then we could settle in and run what we wanted to on offense.”
For New Canaan, the game was all about 42 good minutes, and eight sub-par minutes.
“We were hoping that even if they scored, we’d get the draw and get down on our end to get a little momentum and come back, but we didn’t get it,” Woods said. “Offensively, in those eight minutes we made poor decisions, so we’ve got a lot to work on. I hope we get back at them at some point at the end of the season and we’ll move on from it.”
Ramsay said the Wave had a clear message at halftime about beating the tough Rams’ defense and getting the win.
“In the huddle we said you can’t feed in the middle on these people because they’re going to crash on you, so we just needed to settle it and wait for that opening,” she said. “But also we focused on the fact that you need to play for your seniors, This is our game and everyone came out with heart that we could beat this defense and we did.”