FAIRFIELD -- Darien notched the first win of its young season on Wednesday by dominating a feisty Fairfield Ludlowe squad at Taft Field in Fairfield. The 4-1 win was a shot in the arm for the Wave after a disappointing 3-0 loss to Westhill the previous week.
"You couldn't ask for a better second game after the loss," senior captain Spencer McMullin said. "It gives us motivation to try even harder."
While the Wave controlled the pace of the game, Darien's domination in the first half was bit tenuous.
The Falcons were keeping pace with the Wave and getting shots on goal, which, for the most part, Darien goalkeeper and captain Jack Fisher had little trouble turning away.
It was not until the 19:35 mark that Darien finally lit up the scoreboard. After gaining possession in the Ludlowe end, the Wave's Andrew Matthew chipped an arching lob from outside the box which sailed over Falcons' goalkeeper Ryan Arrigo for the first goal of the game.
Ludlowe answered back with 12 minutes remaining in the half when Tobias Gemand put one away for the Falcons. At intermission the game was knotted at 1-1.
The second half was a different story as Darien put its foot on the gas.
"We knew at the half we had to get back in the game," Darien captain Ben Highton said. "We had to be more aggressive, play with more heart and be determined to win."
"We also had to relax and have fun," he added, "We were getting too stressed out there."
Whatever it was, the Wave certainly charged out of the gate ready to play.
Darien put away two goals in the first 10 minutes of the second half, and both seemed to result from a sheer adrenaline rush.
The first came from McMullin, who picked up a nice feed from fellow captain Brennan Branca. McMullin then made a diagonal run to the box, powered through two defenders and came through with a one-on-one with the goalie.
Highton added the third goal when he too battled with Falcon defenders, maintained control of the ball, found an opening and bent a shot into the far corner.
"I saw the bottom corner open and just tried my best to put it there," Highton said.
Those two goals deflated Ludlowe's drive, and Darien never let up. The Wave's young defense did a masterful job bottling up the Falcons' attacks.
Junior Aidan Brannigan's goal at the 9:35 mark sealed the deal for the Wave.
"Obviously, it's nice to get the first win out of the way," Darien second-year coach Jon Bradley said. "Winning breeds confidence."
Branca had a similar take.
"Our goals came from all different people which reinforces that we are very deep, on the offense as well as defense," Branca said. "In terms of morale it definitely gives us a boost."
Darien had nine shots on goal compared to 12 for Fairfield Ludlowe. The Falcons registered six corner kicks, while the Blue Wave had only one.
One Ludlowe player received a yellow card halfway through the second half, although both sides generally played a clean game.
With the win, the Blue Wave improved to 1-1, while the Falcons fell to 1-2.