NORWALK — The Darien girls lacrosse team’s recent dominance of the FCIAC has mostly come at the expense of its biggest rival.
And in Thursday’s latest chapter, New Canaan again had its heart broken by Darien, this time on Susie Ropp’s overtime goal with 1:34 left in sudden-death overtime to complete a comeback from a 7-1 deficit for a 12-11 win.
“I knew the goaltender was a lefty so I should shoot to the opposite side,” said Ropp, whose first goal of the game, with 5:33 left in regulation, gave top-seeded Darien (19-1-1) its first lead, 11-10. “I saw the opening and shot it. I didn’t give up. I didn’t care who was in my way. The seniors won three FCIACs and we really wanted a fourth.”
This was the team’s fifth straight league championship.
Darien overcame a four-goal second-half deficit to defeat New Canaan in overtime in last year’s title game and in their regular-season meeting scored nine straight times in the second half for a 20-10 win.
“You know what it is for us, we play such a strong schedule throughout the year, I think it toughens us up mentally, win or lose,” Darien coach Lisa Lindley said. “What it teaches us is never to give up and in times when it counts you are going to have a strong mind to come back and persevere, and today they did.”
Laura Murphy, Emma Lesko and Katie Cronin finished with 3 goals apiece for Darien.
No 2 New Canaan (17-4) dominated time of possession in the early going and capitalized on all of its chances. The Rams had a 3-0 lead in the first five minutes and, after a goal by Murphy, scored four straight times.
The last goal came from Catherine Granito, who was sensational creating and finishing, ending with 4 goals and 3 assists.
And unlike the regular season meeting, the Rams initially answered comebacks. After Darien got within 7-5, Granito scored with 35 seconds left to make the score 8-5.
And after Ropp’s late score, Karlie Bucci converted a pass from Granito with 3:25 left to tie the game and force overtime.
“Other than disappointment I thought we played well, minus the few mental errors we made that were detrimental for us,” Granito said. “I can pinpoint three letdowns that turned the game the opposite way. They took a little bit of momentum from us but we gained it right back. The first game we played differently. We pushed out on defense and tried different things. That was a game where we learned from out mistakes. That’s what we did today before we had a couple of let-ups.”
Bucci finished with 2 goals and 2 assists while Campbell Armstrong added two goals.
Darien won the faceoff in overtime and carefully orchestrated a play before Ropp decided to attack.
“Susie stepped up and she’s clutch,” Lindley said. “Give New Canaan credit. They played an amazing first half, we were able to make some adjustments and clawed our way back. That’s the strength of our program. We have a lot of depth and everyone contributed. This is their game today.