Darien field hockey blanks McMahon; To face NC in semifinals
DARIEN --The regular season is a wonderful laboratory for the Darien High School field hockey team.
A series of grand challenges as the Blue Wave unleash their aggressive offensive philosophy and build chemistry while wreaking havoc on the FCIAC.
Now the leaves are falling and the weather is turning, so Darien is looking to add to its impressive resume of FCIAC and state field hockey titles.
The Blue Wave took their first step last Friday, eliminating a stubborn Brien McMahon squad, 3-0.
"McMahon played hard. And their goalie (Sam Bardos) played a great game," said Darien's veteran field hockey head coach Mo Minicus. "It took us until the second half to settle into our game of ball possession. Then we got into our groove."
Darien led 1-0 at halftime thanks to its superior depth.
Three sets of fresh legs entered the contest for the Blue Wave about 10 minutes into the first half.
With Bardos registering 17 saves, Darien finally struck again with 13:16 remaining.
It was Wright once more with fellow senior Kat Huber earning the assist for 2-0.
"Every game is a huge game at this point in the season," Wright said. "There's more pressure but it's a good kind of pressure. It was nerve wracking seeing that 1-0 score on the board. I was happy I got that second goal. Myself and all the seniors we want to finish our high school careers with FCIAC and state titles. But we have to do it one game at a time."
Next up for No. 2 seed Darien (14-1) is No. 3 seed and perennial archrival New Canaan, which beat Fairfield Warde 2-0 in Friday's other quarterfinal. The Darien-New Canaan semifinal is set for Tuesday at New Canaan's Dunning Stadium. Due to the Hurricane Sandy postponements, the winner of Darien-New Canaan will be crowned FCIAC co-champions along with the winner of Wilton-Greenwich.
Georgia Cassidy added the final goal off a Huber assist with 8:46 left.
Darien's defense played its usual businesslike game in front of Blue Wave goalie Danica Hornick (3 saves).
McMahon (7-5-1-1) was thrilled with its first FCIAC playoff appearance in five years. The Senators believe Friday's experience will serve them well in the state tournament.
"I couldn't ask for more from the girls. And Sam Bardos in net was fabulous," said McMahon field hockey head coach Jenna Bartolo. "Getting away from FCIAC teams should help our cause in the states."
Darien 3, McMahon 0
BRIEN MCMAHON 0 0 --0
DARIEN 1 2 --3
Records: Darien 14-1; Brien McMahon 7-5-1-1
Goals: D -- Sam Wright 2, Georgia Cassidy. Assists: D -- Kat Huber 2, Kyla Johns. Goalies: M -- Sam Bardos (17 saves); D -- Danica Hornick (3 saves).