NEW CANAAN — It isn’t a stretch to say the New Canaan field hockey team is having it’s best week in a long, long time.

The Rams scored three goals in the first half and then held off a furious comeback bid as they edged rival Darien, 3-2, in a terrific game Friday at Dunning Field.

It was the Blue Wave’s first loss of the season and marked the second time in as many games that New Canaan had beaten a previously-undefeated team, having topped Norwalk 5-1 on Tuesday.

Darien had beaten the Rams twice last year, making this year’s victory even sweeter for New Canaan (12-1-0-0).

“Last year our Darien game was 6-0 (during the regular season),” New Canaan sophomore Zoey Bennett said. “So this feels really great to be able to win this game. We were hungry for a win today.”

“We’ve had a really great season so far and we knew we had the potential to beat them this time,” Rams senior co-captain Estelle Asker said. “So we gave it our all, we came out with a lot of energy, and we scored early, which was great.”

For Darien (12-1-0-0), some defensive lapses in the first half led to New Canaan scoring three times in the final 13:04, but the Wave responded with two goals in the second half, the last of which came with 1:25 remaining.

“I’m super proud of them for the grit they showed and not giving up,” Darien coach Mo Minicus said. “They believed that they could just get one and then get another. Honestly, I think if we had a little bit more time on the clock, things would’ve been different.”

New Canaan’s Polly Parsons-Hills, who had a goal and an assist, got the scoring started when she lifted a shot off Wave goalie Catherine Vogt and into the cage in the 17th minute.

Four minutes later, the Rams’ Marlee Smith sent a pass from the left side to Bennett in front, and Bennett carried it around the goalie for an open shot and a 2-0 lead.

“Marlee Smith gave me a really great insert in,” Bennett said. “And I saw the goalie on the ground, so I just pulled around and turned and shot it in the cage.”

The Rams’ third goal was scored by Molly Mitchell, who took a feed from Parsons-Hills and scored with 4:26 to play in the first half.

“Once New Canaan got going, they had momentum and they’re fast,” Minicus said. “We haven’t played a team this fast in a while, and I think defensively we just shut down. Unfortunately, they snuck that third goal in at the end of the first half.”

For the first 38 minutes, New Canaan’s defense was unscathed, but the Wave made some noise in the second half.

Senior co-captains Molly Hellman and Catie Duggan teamed up for Darien’s first goal, as Hellman batted in a high ball with 21:39 remaining.

The Blue Wave maintained pressure and took six of their seven shots during the second half.

New Canaan’s defense, which featured goalie Megan Lydon (4 saves), held the two-goal lead until late in the game.

During a scramble on a penalty corner, Lydon kicked away a shot by Duggan, but Sarah Bogdan scored on the rebound with 1:25 remaining.

It made for an intense final 85 seconds, but the Rams were able to keep the ball in the midfield as time ran out.

“It was very nerve-wracking,” Bennett said. “They were coming up on our defense, but our defense played really strong today and they were able to hold them back and not allow any more goals.”

Both the Wave and Rams have tough road games next week, as New Canaan plays at Staples (11-1-0-0) on Monday, and Darien plays at Norwalk (12-1-0-0) on Thursday. All four teams figure to be in the mix for the FCIAC title later this month.

“The FCIAC is an incredibly competitive league,” Minicus said. “Anything goes and I think this is one of the strongest years for this league in a long, long time.”

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Polly Parsons-Hills, New Canaan. The Rams had numerous great performances all over the field, and it was Parsons-Hills who scored the first goal and assisted on the third to give them their 3-0 halftime lead.

QUOTABLE

“The difference for us is we wanted it so badly and we knew we were so close. We were just doing everything in our power, we were down low, we were making great tackles, and we kept our cool.” - New Canaan senior co-captain Estelle Asker

david.stewart@hearstmediact.com; @dstewartsports

NEW CANAAN 3, DARIEN 2

DARIEN 0 2 — 2

NEW CANAAN 3 0 — 3

Scoring: Darien: Molly Hellman 1g; Sarah Bogdan 1g; Catie Duggan 2a; New Canaan: Polly Parsons-Hills 1g, 1a; Zoey Bennett 1g; Molly Mitchell 1g.

Saves: D - Catherine Vogt 2; NC - Megan Lydon 4.

Records: Darien (12-1-0-0 overall, 10-1-0-0 FCIAC); New Canaan (12-1-0-0, 10-1-0-0).