Darien, New Canaan square off in FCIAC field hockey final

New Canaan's Zoey Bennett and Darien's Ryan Hapgood battle for the ball during a field hockey game in Darien on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021.

New Canaan's Zoey Bennett and Darien's Ryan Hapgood battle for the ball during a field hockey game in Darien on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021.

Dave Stewart / Hearst Connecticut Media

Ryan Hapgood scored with an assist from Molly McGuckin early in the third quarter as the Darien field hockey team edged Staples 2-1 in the FCIAC semifinals Tuesday night at Brien McMahon.

The victory sets up a rivalry showdown for the league championship, as the second-seeded Blue Wave (17-1-0-0) squares off with No. 1 New Canaan (18-0-0-0) in the FCIAC final at 7 p.m., Thursday, at McMahon.

The Rams came from behind to defeat Darien 2-1 in their regular-season meeting on Oct. 22.

New Canaan reached the final with a 2-1 victory in double overtime against Ridgefield.

Hapgood’s goal came during a scramble in the circle and snapped a 1-1 tie just 3:02 into the third quarter.

Raina Johns scored the Blue Wave’s first goal during a penalty corner in the second quarter. Hapgood had taken the initial shot, but after that was blocked, Johns chipped the ball over the goalie and into the cage for a 1-0 lead.

A few minutes later, the third-seeded Wreckers (14-3-1-0) tied the score on a goal by Jessica Leon.

Darien has won three consecutive FCIAC titles, beating Wilton in 2017 and Staples in 2018 before sharing the title with the Wreckers in 2019. The teams had played to a scoreless tie that season.

There was no full FCIAC tournament last year due the pandemic, as teams played in regional pods instead.

New Canaan is playing in its first FCIAC final since 2014, when it beat Darien for the crown. The rivals also clashed in the 2009 final, with the Wave winning.

david.stewart@hearstmediact.com; @dstewartsports