TRUMBULL -- The Darien boys soccer team moved north of the .500 mark by picking up a 3-0 shutout victory at St. Joseph High School Tuesday afternoon.
For the most part, Darien (3-2) was in control from the opening kickoff until the final horn, and the Blue Wave attack was paced by two goals from Brennan Branca.
"I honestly think that we have played better at times, but there were some things we were working on in practice that worked," Branca said. "We've been working on keeping the ball on the ground. We're not really tall people, and if we play the ball on the ground that's how we're going to beat teams. We really accomplished that this game."
After 31 minutes of thoroughly outplaying the Cadets (1-5), the Blue Wave finally had something to show for it when Branca collected his first marker with exactly nine minutes remaining in the opening half. On the play, Darien's Jack Kniffin sent a pass to Ben Highton, who centered it to Branca for a one-touch tally.
"Ben Highton took the ball down the line and he honestly beat like four or five guys," Branca said. "He cut back, I was wide open in the middle and just kind of slided it into the back left."
Branca's second goal, which came with 34:03 remaining in the second half, required significantly less effort than the first. As Darien was given a free kick, St. Joseph goalie Erik Lewicki vacated the net, and Branca seized the opportunity by sending an uncontested shot into the net for the 2-0 lead.
"Every part of the field we were dominant today," Darien coach Jon Bradley said. "We teach the kids to play quick every day. Get the ball down and play. Their team went to sleep."
St. Joseph nearly cut Darien's lead in half, but Sean Martino's shot from close range bent just wide of the left post.
The Blue Wave iced the game when they were given another free kick with 4:51 remaining. Highton picked up his second assist by sending the ball to Jonathan Gill, who one-touched it for the 3-0 lead.
"On the third goal, that's a free kick we've been working on in practice since the start of the season, so it was nice to see them pull it off," Bradley said. "It was definitely a fair result. All these games are tough. I thought we moved the ball around well, but we probably should have been up more goals at halftime."
Darien bounced back from a 4-2 home loss against Brien McMahon on Saturday, but St. Joseph has now lost five in a row after defeating Brien McMahon 3-2 in its first game of the season.
"Obviously, they deserved the result. The goal hurt us at the end of the first half, but 1-0 is a game," St. Joseph coach Steven Waizenegger said. "We just played poorly. No excuses but they just have to play better. Harder and better."
Darien 3, St. Joseph 0
DARIEN 1 2 --3
ST. JOSEPH 0 0 --0
Records: Darien 3-2; St. Joseph 1-5.