The Darien girls lacrosse team has made a habit of steam-rolling over opponents during its five-year reign as a state champion.
In the Class L quarterfinals on Thursday, however, the Wave ran into a Ludlowe Falcons’ team which has been stepping up in FCIAC play recently.
Ludlowe played well and hung with Darien into the second half before the Wave scored six of the game’s final eight goals to earn a 15-8 victory and a berth in the Class L semifinals.
Top-seeded Darien (19-2) will face its arch-rival, No. 4 New Canaan (15-5), in the semis on Tuesday, June 5, at a site and time to be determined. The two teams face off at New Canaan’s Dunning Field back on April 28, with Darien winning, 12-6.
The Rams advanced to the semifinals by virtue of their 10-6 win over No. 4 Wilton in Thursday’s quarterfinals.
For Darien, No. 9 Ludlowe (12-7) provided a strong challenge, especially in the early going. The Falcons and Wave were tied at 5-5 with five minutes remaining in the first half, after Ludlowe rallied from a 3-0 deficit.
The Wave regained the lead at 9-5 by halftime, but the Falcons didn’t back down, closing the gap to three after when they won the opening draw in the second half and scored on the ensuing possession.
Darien, however, simply had too much firepower for Ludlowe to overcome.
Ashley Humphrey continued to light up the scoreboard, racking up four goals and two assists to lead the attack. Katie Ramsay and Nicole Humphrey had hat tricks, with Ramsay also dishing out one assist.
Christine Fiore and Charlotte Wittstock each scored twice; Nelle Kniffin had one goal; and Shea Van den Broek had a pair of assists.
Defensively, goalie Maggie Brooks had seven saves.
For Ludlowe, the attack was driven by Olivia D’Eramo, who scored five goals and assisted twice. Chloe Madzio scored twice; Melissa Bucher had one goal, and Callie Cirilli had one assist. Goalie Grace Fink made 10 saves.
The Wave revved up the engines early as Ramsay, Fiore and Nicole Humphery all scored in the first 3:38.
D’Eramo put Ludlowe on the board at 4:48, and then set up Boucher for the Falcons’ second goal to make it 3-2.
Wittstock sandwiched a pair of goals around a D’Eramo tally to make it 5-3, but Ludlowe scored the next two — first from Madzio and then from D’Eramo — to knot the score with 9:07 to go in the half.
Ashley Humphrey then scored off a crisp feed from Van den Broek with 4:11 on the clock, starting a 4-0 run for Darien which led to a 9-5 halftime advantage.
After Madzio scored her second goal early in the second half to make it 9-6, the Wave answered with three goals — one from Kniffin and two from Ashley Humphrey for a 12-6 lead. Darien held a 3-2 edge in the final 16 minutes to seal the deal.
CIAC Class L Girls Lacrosse Quarterfinals – Darien 15, Ludlowe 8
Thurs., May 31, at Darien HS
Ludlowe 5-3 8
Darien 9-6 15
Ludlowe: Olivia D’Eramo 5g, 2a; Chloe Madzio 2g; Melissa Bucher 1g; Callie Cirilli 1a
Darien: Ashley Humphrey 4g, 2a; Katie Ramsay 3g, 1a; Nicole Humphrey 3g; Christine Fiore 2g; Charlotte Wittstock 2g; Shea Van den Broek 2a; Nelle Kniffin
L – Grace Fink 10 saves
D – Maggie Brooks 7 saves