Darien field hockey beats Simsbury to reach Class L final

CHESHIRE -- The bitter cold at Cheshire High School and a fourth-seeded Simsbury team weren't enough to quell the Darien field hockey team's run of dominance through the Class L state tournament.

The top-seeded Blue Wave posted their third shutout in as many state tournament games, this time by a 5-0 margin over the Trojans.

The win, which was actually the closest of Darien's three state playoff games, sets up Saturday's championship clash with No. 2 Cheshire (17-2-0-0) at Wethersfield High School at a time to be determined.

Darien notched the all-important first goal, requiring just 3:30 to do so, as Mollie Riegel assisted Marissa Baker on a penalty corner for the 1-0 lead.

"An early goal is always big because it lets us breathe and settle into our game," Darien coach Mo Minicus said. "They gave us a definite fight. The more goals, the more confidence we get, and I thought our corners were very sharp."

A goal by Allison Parsley was disallowed just a few minutes later, but the setback did little to stop Darien, which managed to make it 2-0 with 4:55 to play before halftime on a goal by Claire Culliton, who was assisted by Georgia Cassidy off of another corner.

"It really helps scoring early. It gets us all excited," said Culliton, who notched Darien's 100th goal of the season. "Our team has tremendous depth. We definitely want to keep our title and we're looking forward to (the championship."

Simsbury's best opportunity to get back into the contest came just after the opening faceoff of the second half when the Trojans spent considerable time on Darien's side of the field, earning four penalty corners in the first five minutes.

Darien's Danika Hornick made a pair of diving saves on Simsbury's Austin Lamothe and Kristen Popowski to allow the Blue Wave to keep the two-goal cushion.

"I'm very pleased with how we were able to hang in there," Simsbury coach Brooke Bulmer said. "We know what a great team they are. We have a real nice group of girls and I'm very proud of them."

Hornick made five saves and kicked away several long lead passes in the game's early goings to limit Simsbury's (14-2-2-1) scoring chances.

"She set the tone early with some big clears that started the attack for us," Minicus said. "It's going to be exciting to face a new opponent in the championship."

The second half insurance goal came courtesy of Jackie Brokaw with 16:04 to go, and additional goals by Hollis Perticone and Culliton sealed the win.

The FCIAC champion Blue Wave (17-1-1-0) now stand a single win away from adding a Class L state crown to the mantle.

"It was pretty freezing, but we came prepared and we wanted the cold to excite us," Perticone said. "We played (Cheshire) last year, so we really want to defend our title."

jchik@bcnnew.com; Twitter: @jchik17

Darien 5, Simsbury 0


DARIEN 2 3--5

Records: Simsbury (14-2-2-1); Darien (17-1-1-0)

Goals: D-Marissa Baker, Eliza Wisinski, Jackie Brokaw, Hillis Perticone, Claire Culliton. Assists: D-Mollie Riegel, Georgia Cassidy, Kelsey Bumgardner. Goalies: S--Allison Renwick (5 saves); D-Danika Hornick (5) Shots: S-6; D-24