Darien girls lacrosse rolls past Staples

A wounded Staples girls lacrosse team stepped onto Ginny Parker Field on Friday afternoon, and ran into an opponent that no one in the state has been able to defeat in almost three years.

The way Darien has manhandled Connecticut opposition so far this spring, that doesn't appear likely to change any time soon.

Looking stronger and stronger as the game went along, the Blue Wave rolled past Staples 17-6. Katie Cronin had four goals and four assists for Darien while teammate Laura Murphy fired a hat trick.

"We had a little sloppy play in the beginning, they had a problem on defense communicating and getting the first slide," Darien coach Lisa Lindley said. "But as we played we improved."

Without top players in Paige Murray, Jenna McNicholas and Siobhan O'Loughlin, the Wreckers were unable to take their shot at the three-time defending FCIAC champions with their team intact.

"You play the game with the personnel you have," said Staples coach Pete Najarian said. "We are down a couple of our best players but that creates the opportunity for others to step. We have a lot of girls that have stepped up."

Fresh off an eight-point performance in the win over Greenwich, Cronin, a Duke-committed junior, had another dominating performance on offense, and on the draws.

The Wreckers had Darien in an early hole as Amelia Heisler had success on the draw against Cronin, which led to scoring opportunities. A goal by freshman Christine Taylor with 17:28 left in the first half made it 3-1.

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"There is a specific way (Cronin) draws, and I thought Amelia had the best shot of handling that," Najarian said.

As Staples began to run a patient offense, Darien swarmed with double teams that led to turnovers and offensive opportunities in transition. The Blue Wave struck for four goals in a 3:52 span midway through the first half to take the lead for good.

Darien led 8-4 at the half as part of a 7-1 run, then scored five straight to push the lead to 13-4.

The offense did its work in tallying more than enough goals, but the Blue Wave's aggressive defense was equally as effective.

"We play an aggressive type defense, so if you're not used to handling the ball it can be hard," Lindley said.

Darien forced Staples into committing four yellow cards, the last of which with 5:06 left resulted in the Wreckers to play a player down for the rest of the game. The Blue Wave scored four times during that stretch to finish off the victory.

The Blue Wave also made it difficult for the Wreckers to get shots off. Staples midfielder Nicole Williams took a charge early in the first quarter trying to enter the shooting area.

"I got the charge call so that's all that matters," Williams joked. "They have an amazing defense, they're so tough."

rlacey@bcnnew.com, twitter.com/ryanlacey11

Darien 17, Staples 6

DARIEN 8 9 -- 17

STAPLES 4 2 -- 6

Records: Darien 8-2, 7-0 FCIAC; Staples 6-3, 4-2 FCIAC

Scoring: D -- Katie Cronin 4 g, 4 a; Mariah Matheis 1 g, 1 a; Anna Moorhead 2 g; Gabby Noto 2 g; Chandler Kirby 1 g; Kaeleigh Morrill 2 g; Anna Stein 1 g; Caroline Benitez 1 g; Laura Murphy 3 g. S -- Sam Kratky 2 g; Christine Taylor 3 g; Olivia Troy 1 g. Goalies: S -- Emma Boland (8 saves) -- Sammy Nielsen (4 saves).