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Darien dominates Cheshire to capture Class L field hockey championship

Updated 1:45 pm, Wednesday, November 21, 2012
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WETHERSFIELD -- Standing just a single victory away from reclaiming its place at the top of the field hockey mountain, the members of the Darien field hockey team didn't want to leave anything to chance in their Class L state championship tilt with Cheshire.

And they didn't.

The top-seeded Blue Wave scored early and often en route to a convincing 4-0 victory over No. 2 Cheshire at Wethersfield High School on Saturday morning. Darien was in complete control all morning, evidenced by this telling statistic -- Darien scored more goals (four) than Cheshire had shots (two).

"To be a senior and come away with both FCIAC and state championship is amazing. Every goal was a team goal today. Once we got the first goal, we just got our momentum," Darien's Lexi Perticone said. "I love that every team we play wants to beat us. This year we were lucky enough to play our best and beat them. Next year I hope they continue it."

Darien wanted to get an early advantage on the scoreboard -- something it could not do in a 1-0 win over New Milford in the semifinals. On Saturday, however, Darien required less than four minutes to take its first and only lead when Lexi Perticone sent a pass to Georgia Cassidy, who scored following some nifty stick work.

"We're an athletic team and we have good field hockey skills, but Darien's team all the way down the bench just has depth. There are things we could have done better, but Darien was just outstanding," Cheshire coach Eileen Dunham said. "(The first goal) was a defensive breakdown. We let the girl just dribble right through us, which is unusual for my defense."

After continuing to dominate in time of possession, Darien broke through for its second goal with 6:34 remaining in the first half when Hollis Perticone found Claire Culliton for her first of two goals and a 2-0 advantage.

With Darien still holding a 2-0 lead, goalie Danica Hornick notched both of her saves on the same sequence and denied Cheshire's Miranda Garcia from scoring on the rebound.

With 1:56 remaining in the first half, Darien got the back-breaker when Lexi Perticone sent a pass behind the defense to Hollis Perticone for the 3-0 lead.

"You never know in state tournament play. A 3-0 lead can turn to 3-2, 3-3; you just can't let up. These girls got a taste of success last year and wanted to bring it back this year, and really we peaked at the right time," Darien coach Mo Minicus said. "The beauty of our team this year was unbelievable depth and faith and trust in all of the players."

With 22 minutes remaining, Darien extinguished any hopes of a Cheshire comeback when Cassidy set up Culliton for her second goal of the contest.

"They were really great passes (on the goals); one was from Hollis and one was from Georgia," Culliton said. "(The early goal) was really nice because I think we gained a lot of confidence and could keep scoring from there. It's just really great to end the season this way, and I think all the seniors are really excited."

DARIEN 4, CHESHIRE 0

CHESHIRE 0 0--0

DARIEN 3 1--4

Records: Darien (19-1-0-0); New Milford (14-3-2).

Goals: D--Claire Culliton (2), Georgia Cassidy, Hollis Perticone. Assists: D--Lexi Perticone (2), Hollis Perticone, Cassidy. Goalies: D--Danica Hornick (2 saves); C--Lauren Fountain (6). Shots: D--15; C--2.