DARIEN \u2014 The wild rivalry of the Darien and Staples field hockey teams is alive and kicking. No. 1 Darien took a two-goal lead before holding off No. 3 Staples in the fourth quarter and securing a 2-1 victory as the teams met for the first time in two years Wednesday in Darien. It was a crazy finish, as Staples put the ball in the circle and Lily Harrington took a shot from the left side, but Darien\u2019s Kaci Benoit, Blake Wilks and goalie Grace La Du converged to block the attempt as time expired. \u201cThat was crazy,\u201d Darien coach Mo Minicus said. \u201cIt was chaotic.\u201d \u201cWe were really stressed out because the momentum kind of shifted,\u201d Darien\u2019s Raina Johns said. \u201cWe held our ground defensively and we did a really good job of keeping them out of the circle. It was 2-1 and we were just trying to make sure we didn\u2019t go into overtime.\u201d The victory kept the Blue Wave perfect at 4-0, while the Wreckers are now 3-1-1. The teams went head-to-head in five championship games from 2017 to 2019, with the Wave winning the FCIAC title in 2018, and the Wreckers winning Class L crowns in 2018 and 2019. They were co-champs in Class L in 2017, and the FCIAC in 2019. \u201cWe always want to beat Darien and Darien always wants to beat us,\u201d Staples coach Ian Tapsall said. \u201cIt\u2019s a great rivalry, but the thing that matters is FCIACs and States. It\u2019s unfortunate that we\u2019re always playing them in the first three weeks. There\u2019s a lot of learning that has to be done.\u201d \u201cWe\u2019ve had a brutal start to the season with Wilton, Norwalk, Ridgefield and Staples,\u201d Minicus said. \u201cThere\u2019s not a break in there. It\u2019s always good to beat Staples but you know we\u2019re going to see them again. We\u2019ll take the win, but there\u2019s definitely lots to improve on.\u201d Johns was the key cog in the Blue Wave\u2019s motor on Wednesday, playing center-back for a defense which held the Wreckers to just three shots on the cage. Johns also had a goal and an assist on the offensive end. Her goal came during a penalty corner off an insert pass from Benoit with 4:57 remaining in the first quarter. Johns then assisted on the second goal, sending a hard shot into the circle with Ashley Stockdale finishing with 7:58 to play in the fourth. Johns shifted to center-back this season and it\u2019s already paying dividends. \u201cI normally play low-mid or center defender, and it\u2019s really nice being able to play both offense and defense,\u201d Johns said. \u201cThere\u2019s perks for both. I love scoring just as much as anybody else, so it\u2019s really nice getting to play both positions. \u201cWe wish we could clone (Johns) and play her everywhere,\u201d Minicus said with a laugh. \u201cShe\u2019s just so good back there. She reads the play, she steps up, she\u2019s just a little brick wall back there, and she\u2019s really smart.\u201d Staples got a great game from senior goalie Ella Williams, who collected 10 saves to keep it close. \u201cShe\u2019s very imposing,\u201d Tapsall said. \u201cIt\u2019s very difficult to get past her. She\u2019s unorthodox, but she gets in the way and that\u2019s what goalies have to do. She does her job very well.\u201d Trailing 2-0, Staples came to life and earned its first penalty corner with seven minutes remaining, and its first shot with 6:20 on the clock. The Wreckers\u2019 second shot found the mark when Tyla Ozgen scored during a penalty corner with 3:57 to play. That set up the dramatic final moments. \u201cWe\u2019ve got an extremely young team with three freshmen and a bunch of sophomores, so it\u2019s a learning process,\u201d Tapsall said. \u201cWhen they realize the intensity that\u2019s needed, it works. Unfortunately, that didn\u2019t really happen until the last 10 minutes of the fourth quarter. \u201cI\u2019m happy. I didn\u2019t expect great things from the game but the effort we put in at the end was superb.\u201d PLAYER OF THE GAME Raina Johns, Darien: Not only was Johns the centerpiece of a strong defensive performance by the Blue Wave, she also got involved on both Darien goals, scoring the first and assisting on the second. QUOTABLE \u201cIt\u2019s really nice getting out there to see some tough competitors to start. It\u2019s the best way to start the season, so you\u2019re really getting into the competition and not waiting until the end. We\u2019re a younger team, which is good because it lets us develop. We have the potential to go all the way in FCIACs and States so that\u2019s what we\u2019re hoping to do.\u201d \u2014 Darien junior Raina Johns email@example.com; @dstewartsports DARIEN 2, STAPLES 1 STAPLES 0 0 0 1 \u2014 1 DARIEN 1 0 0 1 \u2014 2 Scoring: First quarter: D \u2014 Raina Johns (Kaci Benoit), 4:57; Fourth quarter: D \u2014 Ashley Stockdale (Johns), 7:58; S \u2014 Tyla Ozgen (Sofia Fidalgo-Schioppa), 3:57; Goalies: S \u2014 Ella Williams 10 saves, D - Grace La Du 2 saves; Shots: S \u2014 3, D \u2014 14; Penalty corners: S - 3, D - 3. Records: Staples 3-1-1; Darien 4-0.