DARIEN — The Wilton girls lacrosse team, poised for the regular-season win in a game that has been marked for months on the calendar, were hit by two storms in the second half today.
The first came in the form of six straight goals by Darien to turn a two-goal deficit into a comfortable lead. The second was a torrent of rain and wind that hit in the last three minutes that further hampered the Warriors’ comeback hopes.
The end result was a 15-10 win by the Blue Wave, their 100th straight against in-state competition. Six different players accounted for 10 second-half goals by Darien, which improved to 12-1 over all and 9-0 in league play.
The game was a rematch of last year’s Class L championship, when Darien had to withstand a furious rally to hold on for the win.
“This rivalry is really important for us,” said Darien’s Katie Ramsay, who in what has become a standard performance scored three goals but was even more influential in other areas. “Ever since last year they almost beat us in the state championship and were gunning for the top spot. That really motivated us to really show them who is really the top team.”
Ramsay’s most important contribution came after the break, when she dominated on faceoffs. That, and two Wilton yellow cards that forced it to play down a player, helped Darien control time of possession.
“I actually love the draw,” Ramsay said. “It really gets me motivated because it starts there. Once we have possession we can get it to Kit Arrix, Ashley Humphrey, Nicole Humphrey, who can really score the goals. Just knowing we have to get it there really drives me.”
Ashley Humphrey and Sarah Jaques also scored three goals for the Blue Wave. Maddie Joyce and Shea Van den Broek added two each. Contributions from players like Arrix helped the Blue Wave overcome the loss of Kendall Wisinski, who suffered an ankle injury at the very end of the first half.
“Obviously Katie came up with some key draws,” Darien coach Lisa Lindley said. “I thought Sarah and Emma did a really good job around the circle to help her. I though Katie’s goal in the second half, the streak in, was a game-changer. I thought Kit Arrix rip from the outside was a game-changer.”
Paisley Eagan (five goals) and Sophie Sudano (four goals) accounted for almost all of the Warriors’ scoring, but they were blanked for a stretch of nearly 14 minutes after Eagen put them up 9-7 with 16:04 left.
“They made some good adjustments on the draw and Katie Ramsay is a force on the draw so it’s hard to predict, and we tried to make adjustments as well but they’re great on the draw,” Wilton coach Meredith Meyran said. “I’m not really feeling disappointed, I just think it was unfortunate the timing of the yellow card. You’re not going to beat Darien playing a man down for the last seven minutes.”
Trailing 5-3, Wilton scored four straight times in just under six minutes to take a two-goal halftime lead. Sudano had a hat trick in the sequence.
“I think the girls were just really working together and being unselfish and working hard off ball, and we were able to get some really good looks on cage,” Meyran said.
The Blue Wave, whose only defeat was by a goal to national power Manhasset, usually respond when tested and today was the latest example.
“It has been really valuable to play the out-of-state teams; even the loss to Manhasset was really a teaching moment for us and it has helped us translate that into our games in the FCIAC,” Ramsay said. “Wilton has a really strong defense and that slowed down the goals we could get and slowed down possessions so every draw is important, every possession is important and you have to try and capitalize on every one.”
Joyce’s goal off a free position with 13:20 left tied the game at 9-9 and Jaques’ goal 22 seconds later provided a lead that the Blue Wave did not relinquish.
Lindley said she kept the Connecticut streak a secret from her players but it was an important milestone.
“I was nervous,” Lindley said. “I was concerned about that so it was just a little bit more than a Darien-Wilton game for me.”
Lindley said the manner of victory will prove beneficial for the postseason, when Wilton could be an opponent once or twice more.
“Look we are going to see them again,” Lindley said. “They’re good. We’re good. New Canaan is good. Greenwich is good. It’s anyone’s game in the postseason.”
Meyran said if there is a rematch, she will use the strong stretches by her players today as motivation.
“I think we leave that game with confidence and to know we have the ability to play with anybody, and if we can just put it together for a full 50 minutes then we’ll be successful in these next couple weeks coming up,” Meyran said.