Darien beats New Milford to advances to Class L field hockey final
Published 2:06 pm, Thursday, November 15, 2012
WESTON -- Going up against No. 4 New Milford in the semifinals of the Class L state tournament at Weston High School on Wednesday, the top-seeded Darien field hockey team had a considerable edge in every stat except for the only one that counts: The score.
Just shy of 49 minutes of scoreless play, the Blue Wave earned their best opportunity of the night when they were awarded a penalty stroke.
Hollis Perticone took Darien's 21st shot of the night and placed it just out of the reach of diving New Milford goalie Meeghan Doris and into the bottom-left corner of the cage for a 1-0 lead that would hold up as the final score. With the win, Darien advanced to Saturday's state championship game where it will take on No. 2 Cheshire at Wethersfield High School at a to-be-announced time.
"Awesome battle. I'm really proud of the girls for getting into their groove," Darien coach Mo Minicus said. "It was beautiful field hockey. (Cheshire and Simsbury) are playing right now, so we'll see. We're just ready to play, go back to the finals and do our best."
The last 10 minutes weren't without drama as New Milford, which began pressing for the equalizer, began to spend more time in Darien's half of the field than it had done all night.
Despite eventually being out-shot by a 24-2 margin, the Green Wave got the opportunity they were looking for when a penalty stroke was awarded to Olivia Monteiro with 6:16 remaining.
After a relatively uneventful night, Darien goalie Danica Hornick was there for the Blue Wave when they needed her. Hornick dove to her right to make a tough blocker save and preserve her team's spot in the final.
"I was just trying to relax. We practice them a lot, so I wouldn't really have been able to do it without the help of my team, who always take strokes on me," Hornick said. "I always feel like I'm really in the game because I'm always talking to all the players on my team, so they really keep me into it. We're really excited and we really want to win this year."
In the game's waning minutes, New Milford maintained possession, but the Blue Wave defense kept the Green Wave at bay and would not permit another shot.
New Milford's season came to an end one game after picking up a marathon 1-0 triple-overtime victory over New Canaan in the tournament's quarterfinals.
"These girls have played hard together for a long time. We have nine seniors -- great young ladies. They've spent a lot of time playing field hockey together, and they've been three-time SWC champions," New Milford coach Dawn Hough said. "So I'm very proud of them; they played their hearts out today. Darien is a real machine and Mo is exemplary down there."
Another stat where Darien had a sizable advantage was penalty corners, which were 13-1 in favor of the Blue Wave. However, Darien could not convert any of those chances thanks in large part to stellar goalkeeping by Doris, as well as some all-important clears courtesy of Meghan Lacey and Emily Sanders.
"We kind of can play like that sometimes. We played some good defense," Hough said. "It doesn't matter how many shots you have; it's really about scoring. We'll miss our seniors. They were great bunch of role models for our school and our sport."
DARIEN 1, NEW MILFORD 0
NEW MILFORD 0 0--0
DARIEN 0 1--1
Records: Darien (18-1-0-0); New Milford (14-3-2).
Goals: D--Hollis Perticone. Goalies: D--Danica Hornick (2 saves); NM--Meeghan Doris (9). Shots: D--24; NM--2.