A milestone win for Mo Minicus and Darien field hockey
There wasn’t much fanfare when Darien field hockey coach Mo Minicus picked up career victory No. 300 in last Thursday’s season-opening game in Ridgefield.
Maybe that’s because the coach and her players were focused on an even more important number: One, as in the first win of the season.
Molly McGuckin and Evelyn Hidy scored second-half goals as the Blue Wave broke away from Ridgefield for a 2-0 decision at Tiger Hollow.
It was a great win against a perennial playoff team, and for Minicus, it was a milestone victory in a career which has spanned 20 years with Darien.
“I haven’t even thought about it,” Minicus admitted. “It’s fun to say but it’s not something I’ve been focused on. It’s really because the girls are awesome, they’re talented, and without their hard work and dedication, I wouldn’t come close to these numbers.”
Darien has had remarkable success under Minicus, who has a 300-51-25-7 record and an eye-popping .838 winning percentage with the Wave.
She took over the team in 2000 and in 2003 led the Blue Wave to their first FCIAC championship in 19 years. The following season, Darien played in a state final for the first time in 20 years, losing to Branford 3-1 in the Class M title game.
Three years later, Darien topped Pomperaug 3-2 for the 2007 Class M championship.
That win started a run of four straight state titles for Darien, which also won three straight championships from 2012 to 2014.
In all, the Wave has won eight state and nine FCIAC championships for Minicus, and they are the two-time defending FCIAC champs this year.
Ridgefield didn’t make the 300th win easy, as the Tigers and Wave were locked in a scoreless duel at halftime. Darien took over in the second half.
“Ridgefield was on fire and they played hard, but we just settled in in the second half,” Minicus said. “We stepped up to the ball better and moved the ball better. Both goals came on scrambles and it was a great win. To win a game like that 2-0 was satisfying.”
McGuckin, a sophomore, hit the cage for the first goal, with an assist from freshman Raina Johns, and Hidy, also a sophomore, scored unassisted for the second tally.
Senior Catherine Vogt was the Wave’s goalie and needed to make just one save as the Darien defense controlled the ball in the zone.
It was a nice start for Darien, which has a tough first three games. The Wave plays at Staples, at 4 p.m., Wednesday, and will host Longmeadow, Mass., on Saturday at noon.
“These are fun games to get up for,” Minicus said. “The girls are all fired up to play. It’s very early in the season, so whatever happens probably doesn’t have too much of an effect on what will happen at the end of the season, so we take each game one at a time.”