WILTON -- The Darien girls soccer team started the season with a 3-1 defeat at the hands of host Wilton on Wednesday afternoon.
"I think, overall, first game jitters played a part. Sometimes it takes a week or so to get those competitive games in and make it click," Parsons said. "I have to give Wilton their credit. They were ready to fight, they were ready to battle. Wilton really came out and disrupted our play. They worked hard. They were aggressive."
Darien trailed 1-0 and halftime, and stayed in the contest thanks to some tough saves by goalkeeper Phoebe Taylor.
"The way Phoebe played was unbelievable. She really stood out. She looked good," Parsons said.
The Wave got the equalizer after Kristy Gilbert was pulled down inside the 18-yard box and cashed in with a penalty kick to knot the score at 1-1. That was all the offense the Blue Wave could muster, however, and the Warriors pulled away with a pair of second half net-finders.
The coach said he generally wants a player with fresh legs and confidence to take a penalty kick, not necessarily the team member who drew the penalty. In this instance, however, Gilbert ensured him she was ready to take the kick.
"Kristy got up, her ankle was a little sore after she went down -- she hobbled over quickly and said she wanted to take it," said the coach, adding that the senior did a nice job of capitalizing.
Parsons was impressed with the play of Taylor and junior Morgan Sawitsky, a defensive-minded midfielder who worked to get to loose balls in the opener. Sophomore defender Ellie Bennett was not at full strength, battling back from an ankle injury, which had an impact on the game, he added.
"[Wednesday] was an eye opener," said Parsons, adding there were some positives to be found, but that his team needs to play more consistently in games to prevail against tough FCIAC competition. "There are definitely some things we need to work on."
The Wave graduated a large group of seniors from last year's team, which went 9-4-3 during the regular season and fell in the FCIAC tourney's quarterfinals before losing to eventual champion Glastonbury by one goal in the Class LL state tournament's second round.
But Parsons notes that inexperience isn't an issue.
"We have a core of returning players that are good players. It's just fine-tuning it -- putting it together," Parsons said. "We have players that can play. Hopefully we bounce back from this game and it defines our season in a positive way."
Up next for Darien is the team's home opener when Trumbull visits for a 4 p.m. contest tonight at Darien High School.