Rematch with Staples coming Saturday

WESTPORT -- The Darien field hockey team was too much for Staples on Wednesday afternoon.

Darien dominated in all facets of the game in a 6-0 road victory at Ginny Parker field to end its regular season at 15-0, capping off another flawless campaign for Mo Minicus and her Bleu Wave. Staples ended the regular season at 9-7.

No one can fault Staples for its lack of effort. The problem for the Wreckers was that the Blue Wave was just too strong for them all over the field. Darien out-shot Staples 30-3 and had a 16-2 advantage in penalty corners. The hosts took their first corner with 11:31 left in the game.

"It took us awhile to get into the game and used to the field," Minicus said. "We had a great first half with beautiful goals and beautiful corners. We changed the lineup around in the second half and tried new things."

Darien's midfield and defense was dominant with senior tri-captain midfielder Ellie Riegel, teammates Kate Morant and Sophie Doering, and junior Galen Rohn, leading the way.

Despite the dominant win, Riegel said, "We have to maintain our composure, not get full of ourselves and take it one game at a time."

The ball was mostly in Staples' end of the field -- something to be expected in most Darien contests -- and Wreckers senior tri-captain goalie Jenn Hoets was pelted nonstop. Hoets made 19 saves, some off of breakaways. She also kicked out a few shots.

Once the Blue Wave got cranking, they were unstoppable. Senior tri-captain Sophie Watters made it 1-0 with 18:59 remaining in the half off a feed from Doering when she whipped a shot past Hoets off a corner. Watters made it 3-0 on a similar shot off a feed from senior Maddie Gill and set up senior tri-captain Sam Johnston's goal, who scored off a scramble, to make it 5-0.

"The midfield did a great job of bringing the ball up and we worked on corners and Ellie has a great shot," Watters said. "We use the corners to our advantage."

Riegel, who takes the corners, scored two goals and had an assist. Her first goal was unassisted off a corner, which made it 2-0, and she set up junior Lilly Cassidy, who scored off a scramble with 6:52 to make it 5-0, which was the score at the half.

"The hits led to corners and we were smooth and accurate and it was easy to get our shots off," Riegel said.

Senior tri-captains Elizabeth Driscoll and Erica Gendell along with Kearney played well on defense for the Lady Wreckers and broke up plays in the second half. Riegel scored the only goal of the second half off a scramble with 9:41 to go in the game off a pass from senior Alex Iqbal.

Despite the loss, Staples is in FCIACs as the No. 8 seed by virtue of Danbury's 1-0 home loss to Wilton on Tuesday. Ironically, this means the team will be forced to play Darien tomorrow at 4 p.m. at Brien McMahon.

Darien, being 15-0, knows it's the favorite and the hunted in the tournaments. It's become part of the program's identity.

"It feels great and I'm proud of the girls," Minicus said. "Anything can happen, so they have to play their game and be ready for anything."

Watters said, "It's a great feeling. We worked hard to get this far and a new season begins. We can't be complacent and need to fix our mistakes."