FIELD HOCKEY

KiKi Tropsa and Katie Elders scored, and the Wave held tight under a siege of corners in the closing minutes, to beat Fairfield Ludlowe 2-1 in the FCIAC quarterfinals at home on Friday.

It’s the type of game we are going to face moving forward.

— Mo Minicus

“It was a hard fought game,” said Darien coach Mo Minicus. “(Ludlowe) is well coached and they’re fast and they’re feisty. So we knew it was going to be nothing to overlook at all.”

The third seed Wave improves to 14-2-1 overall on the season and plays No. 2 Norwalk (13-2) in the semifinals 7:30pm Monday at Brien McMahon.

Five seed Wilton (12-3) plays No. 1 Greenwich (14-1) in the 6pm game.

Darien went up 1-0, was soon caught at one, and had the winner with seconds to go in the first half.

It was a pure battle the rest of the way.

“They were really strong and much better than the first time we played them,” Tropsa said of the Falcons.

“When you get in there to the 25 circle, you want to connect and make a mark,” Minicus said of the early going. “And we didn’t. Their defense is good.”

Halfway into the opening half Darien had a corner and struck.

“It was perfect,” said Minicus.

Tropsa fed in to Bridget Mahoney and she shunted it left to Elders.

Elders swept it in for 1-0.

“Katie shot it (inside) the corner post, it was beautiful,” Minicus said. “But unfortunately, a minute later, they answered back.”

The Falcons broke down the left side and finished on a reverse sweep.

“(The shot) caught Erica’s left post,” Minicus said, with the Wave goalie Erica Blaze having six saves on the night for the win in her first big playoffs start.

With :23 to play in the half Darien was granted a corner and executed another beauty.

Tropsa fed in to Mahoney and she passed to Kendall Wisinski.

“And Kendall just hit it so, so hard,” said Minicus.

“It was a great shot from Kendall,” Tropsa added of the winner that slipped past the left post. “And it was an easy tip for me to put in the goal.”

Darien had eight corners to Ludlowe’s three.

The Wave put nine shots on goal.

“I would have liked to win bigger, but, I think it was a good experience for us,” Minicus said. “It’s the type of game we are going to face moving forward.”

In the closing moments, Darien was tasked with just that: moving forward.

With three minutes to go Ludlowe set off three straight corners.

“And our midfield defense — Erica — just hunkered down,” Minicus said. “And you knew they were like, ‘this is not going in.’ And we made some unbelievable saves.”