The Darien Blue Wave and New Canaan Rams girls lacrosse teams had been here before.
The Rams take a lead and hang tough for a while before the Wave finally takes over, goes on a run and rips the victory away.
This time, however, it was different.
Up by a goal and called on to make one last defensive stand — a man-down no less — the Rams caused a turnover and were able to run out the final minute and a half for a dramatic 12-11 win over Darien in the CIAC Class L semifinals Tuesday night at Brien McMahon.
The result snapped Darien’s 107-game winning streak against Connecticut opponents, and ended the Wave’s five-year run as state champions. Darien’s last loss against a Connecticut foe was in 2012 to New Canaan, 9-6, in the Class M quarterfinals.
The fifth-seeded Rams (16-5) will look to put the final touches on a fantastic season when they take on No. 6 Ridgefield (15-5) in the Class L final Saturday at Jonathan Law High School in Milford. Ridgefield beat Cheshire 14-13 in overtime in Tuesday’s early semifinal game.
For the Wave (19-3), the loss meant a tough end to another terrific season which saw them win a seventh consecutive FCIAC championship before taking two of three games in the states.
The Wave erased an 11-7 deficit with 12 minutes remaining, getting two goals apiece from Nicole Humphrey and Kendall Wisinski to tie the game at 11-11 with 3:52 on the clock.
Darien won the ensuing draw, but the New Canaan defense, which was tough from start to finish, caused a turnover. The Rams cashed in for the go-ahead goal, as freshman McKenna Harden took the ball through the gut of the Darien defense and scored with 2:55 remaining.
The Wave had the ball with a chance to tie, but while working the ball around the zone, a Darien pass was tipped by New Canaan’s Caroline Schuh, who then recovered the loose ball.
The wild final minutes then saw New Canaan get the ball into the offensive zone, and the Wave’s Katie Ramsay steal it away. Darien turned it back over while attempting to move it through the midfield, and the Rams were able to run out the clock while under pressure.
Darien had several solid offensive performances, led by Ashley Humphrey’s hat trick. Christine Fiore had two goals and an assist; Nicole Humphrey and Wisinski each scored twice; and Emma Jaques and Katie Elders had a goal and an assist apiece. Goalie Maggie Brooks made 8 saves.
For New Canaan, Braeden Dial had the hot hand with four goals and two assists. Karlie Bucci and Campbell Connors each had two goals and one assist; Jane Charlton scored twice; Lauren Bisceglia had a goal and an assist; and Harden had one goal. Goalie Caroline O’Dea racked up 10 saves.
Class L Girls Lacrosse Semifinals – New Canaan 12, Darien 11
Tues., June 5, at Brien McMahon HS
New Canaan 7-5 12
Darien 3-8 11
New Canaan: Braeden Dial 4g, 2a; Karlie Bucci 2g, 1a; Campbell Connors 2g, 1a; Jane Charlton 2g; Lauren Bisceglia 1g, 1a; McKenna Harden 1g
Darien: Nicole Humphrey 3g; Christine Fiore 2g, 1a; Nicole Humphrey 2g; Kendall Wisinski 2g; Emma Jacques 1g, 1a; Katie Elders 1g, 1a
NC – Caroline O’Dea 10 saves
D – Maggie Brooks 8 saves