Most times whenever a team goes up against the Darien Blue Wave in girls lacrosse, it's a where's-the-silver-lining scenario.

The Blue Wave gave the Norwalk Bears a clear-cut answer to that question in Tuesday afternoon's 17-6 win at Darien High. After trailing 12-0 by halftime, the Bears managed to score five straight goals -- something that may not happen to Darien (10-1) again at any other point this season.

Blue Wave coach Lisa Lindley was liberal with her substitutions and played her reserves more minutes than she did the starters.

This game was a confidence-builder for the Blue Wave and another step closer toward two big out-of-state tilts before the playoffs arrive.

"The last seven to days have been more working on fundamentals," Liz Calby said. "We've had our big in-state, FCIAC games, so right now we're looking to prepare for Farmingdale and Suffern, who are two New York teams, and get the basics down for the postseason."

Calby scored three times and had two assists. She led Darien in points, while Brynn Gasparino also scored three times and Ann Fucigna and Lanning McDonald each had two goals.

And while the Blue Wave did allow Norwalk to creep too close after building up a big lead in the first half, Calby said the young players out there were put under a test they needed to go through for their futures in this program.

"I don't think it's very hard to stay focused because our teammates demand so much of each other in practice," Calby said. "When we're on setup D and setup attack, we really challenge each other."

Darien challenged the Norwalk goalies to the tune of 14 saves for starter Megan Carney and five for Vanessa Pagano.

Norwalk's goals in the second half were bookended by Christine Mace, and the team also got back-to-back scores from captains Olga Sidiropolous and Nicole Broncaccio.

After Norwalk (5-5) cut the lead to 12-5 with 13 minutes remaining, Gasparino scored three of the Wave's final five goals to pull the leady away into double digits once again.

"My girls play 100 percent," Bears coach Al Morganthaler said. "It was a huge boost because they pass the ball, they move the ball -- and they came out with a lot more energy than we had in the first half. ... Those five or quick goals, regardless of who they had on the field, were a huge boost."

Part of the reason Norwalk was able to come back was because Lindley pulled starting goalie Claire Dickson in the first half and played her reserves throughout the final 25 minutes.

Before the game, the Norwalk captains advised the team to watch and learn what Darien would do. Morganthaler expected the offensive onslaught; he even had his own reserves seven minutes into the game.

The Blue Wave got out to a 3-0 lead in the first 3:35 of the game after Fucigna, Hardison and Cali Ceglarksi all scored to break the game open. Calby and McDonald traded goals between 16:04 and 8:22 mark to make it a 7-0 Darien lead.

"We were nervous in that first half," Morganthaler said. "We wouldn't even dodge on them. They get scared. But I have a strong offense, and the defense played great today. [Norwalk goalie] Megan [Carney] was making the saves. The problem is, we weren't getting ground balls. Eventually, that's going to hurt us."

For Darien, freshman Caylee Waters had six saves after taking over for Dickson, who only managed to have two chances to send back a Norwalk shot.

"When you're in the zone 24 out of 25 minutes, you get tired" Morganthaler said. "They move the ball so fast, and most teams we play you don't see that."

The head coach said his team's goal was to keep it as close as possible and work on improving defense against a swift vertical and horizontal team like the Blue Wave.

"We come in here knowing what's going to happen," Morganthaler said. "You hope for the best, and they really played as a team that second half. We really need to capitalize on that."

The Bears have 12 seniors, and afterward the team came full circle, with the captains speaking to the team sans Morganthaler's presence.

"The girls ended that game with a positive attitude," the coach said.

Darien now has a road tilt against St. Joseph Friday afternoon, then gets less than 24 hours of rest before the big home, out-of-conference game against Farmington Saturday.