DARIEN -- A flurry of goals during a three-minute span early in the first half is all it took for the Blue Wave girls soccer team to hand Wilton its first loss of the young season. Host Darien combined tight ball control with pure hustle to outlast a resilient Warrior squad, 3-1, on Tuesday.
The dynamic of the game hinged on three rapid-fire goals after just five minutes of play.
Darien (2-1) captain Kelly Karczewski got the party started when she received a beautiful feed right through the lane from teammate Kendra Fitzpatrick. After one touch, she put the ball right over Wilton goalie Cecily Frelich, who had come out of the net.
Less than a minute later, Darien sophomore Katie Cronin deftly chipped in a well-placed corner kick from Morgan Sawitsky for the second tally.
Karczewski then found the back of the net again after a give-and-go from Sawitsky.
While the Warriors (2-1) may have been momentarily stunned by where they suddenly found themselves, they didn't throw in the towel. For the remainder of the half, the Warriors essentially camped out on Darien's side, and the Wave would not get another shot on goal until well into the second half of the game.
"We dug a big hole, and we had a little trouble climbing out of it," Wilton first-year coach John Salvatore said. "During that five-minute lapse we were still on the bus. Darien capitalized on a couple of our mistakes and finished their opportunities brilliantly."
The Warriors finally struck gold with less than two minutes left in the first half. Wilton junior Annika Sheehan was able to control the ball just outside the box and then lob the ball over the head of Darien keeper Kate Fiore.
In the second half, Darien kept it tight. Gone were the lightning strikes on offense, but Darien was content to simply bottle up any scoring opportunities by Wilton.
The Warriors, meanwhile, could not break through the formidable Wave defense, and the second half came to a close with no remarkable scoring chances.
"We did the little things right, and it was a good result," Darien coach Leigh Parsons said. "The girls worked hard to get where they are, and today showed what they are capable of doing."
"This is exactly what we needed to get us back on track," said Karczewski, "The Warde game got us down a little, but now I feel very good about the season."
"This was a team we really wanted to beat, so this is a big confidence booster, and we're hoping to keep that going forward," Cronin said.
Despite the loss, Salvatore remained upbeat about his team's performance.
"My girls showed an absolute will to want to win," Salvatore said. "This is going to be a good growing experience for a young team."
Darien put seven shots on goal compared to five for Wilton, but the Warriors had five corner kicks compared to three for the Wave.
"We have the tools and we have the depth for the girls to go as far as they want to go," Parsons said. "It is up to them."
WILTON 3, DARIEN 1
WILTON 3 0--3
DARIEN 1 0--1
Records: Wilton 2-1; Darien 2-1. Goals: D--Kelly Karczewski 2, Katie Cronin; W--Annika Sheehan Assists: D--Morgan Sawitsky 2, Kendra Fitzpatrick. Goalies: D--Kate Fiore W--Cecily Frelich;. Shots: D--7; W--5.