Lesko lets go: Wave rockets back to beat NC in OT
Lisa Lindley asked Emma Jaques at halftime, if she felt OK. She indicated that, yes, she did.
“I was in and out of the game,” said Jaques, “I’ve been sick for a little bit.”
In OT, Jaques went from OK to KO, knocking out NC in Darien’s 11-10 victory over its rival at Dunning Field on Saturday.
This is one of those games where I think we have to show heart.
— Emma Lesko
She rushed midfield, broke a rough double-check, fired from 12 yards and put the ball over the goalie’s right shoulder with 1:26 left in overtime.
“I really didn’t have a great game,” said Jaques of regulation. “They took me off of midfield and put me at attack. I made some stupid mistakes, but our team played so well.”
None better than Chrissie Fiore, who handled face-offs and fired five game-leading goals, and captain Emma Lesko, who with Fiore starting it off, finished Darien’s late game comeback.
Lesko, on-field captaining Darien on her lonesome with Laura Murphy out for the duration, did in this instance, much more than figuratively take the team on her shoulders down the stretch.
“This is one of those games where I think we have to show heart,” said Lesko, who had a hat trick. “And we came back from a deficit.”
It was Darien dealing the deficit at first, up 6-4 at the half.
But the Rams went wild with a second-half scoring binge that put them up 8-6, then 10-7 with 6:14 to play in regulation time.
Cue Fiore stomping to the front of the net, a two-handed Statue of Liberty, with the ball in her stick raised high over her head like she meant it. She brought the lever down and Darien had the lead cut to 10-8 with 5:16 to play in the second half.
“The last few games I struggled a little bit,” Fiore, a junior, said. “So today was like my comeback game.”
Fiore and everyone else.
Lesko worked her way into two straight free positions, scoring clean up high for 10-9 with 1:03 to go, and seconds later crashing the net and getting crunched for her efforts, but finding the net to tie it at 10 with :25 on the clock.
“We really practice those free positions,” said Lesko. “I really want to thank Lisa (Lindley) for her help.”
The Wave climbs to 6-0 FCIAC and 8-3 overall.
New Canaan is 6-1, 7-3.
“I think we have an issue with a lot of the New Canaan games, because there is so much heart, and it gets in the way sometimes,” said Lesko. “Because, we’re so excited. There’s so much passion coming into it.”
Darien had strong games from Logan Book at the back, who rushed the ball with fury and a blinding pace when it mattered the most, to break the Rams' considerable pressure, and there was good hustle from Ashley Humphrey — a freshman — with two goals, Katie Elders, Abigial Hancock, KiKi Tropsa.
And by the galloping crescendo into overtime, you could include everyone having made a contribution to the win.
Carly Schoudel kept her nerve under plenty of pressure. She stayed one stop better than her opposite number, all you can ask of a goalie, closing the door on nine strong bids.
Caroline O’Dea made eight saves in goal for the Rams.
Campbell Armstrong was as good as her name, leading the hosts with four goals, and creating a lot of danger for the Wave in front.
“Come out with intensity, work as a team, and that was it,” Fiore added.
Still some work to do, though, with a month to go in the regular season and New Canaan not going away, including now at states.
“We are getting plenty of opportunities, but we need to capitalize,” said Lindley, “because we are making some really dumb mistakes.”
Lindley also said that she was not overly impressed with her own coaching today. On those free positions, Lesko might have proved her wrong.