DARIEN -- The Blue Wave couldn't quite hold on.

The Darien girls lacrosse team dropped a nail biter Saturday morning at home 9-8 to Garden City (N.Y.) despite leading for a most of the contest.

"If we did one or two things a little better it would have been a different outcome," Wave coach Lisa Lindley said. "We did certain things well, we had our looks offensively, but we shot a couple right into the goalie and we can't afford to do that to win games like this."

Darien got first half goals from Mariah Matheis, Katie Cronin (2), Laura Murphy and Anna Moorhead to go into the break tied at 5-5. Garden City took its first lead at 6-5 eight minutes into the second half on one of Katie Muldoon's four goals.

Darien rallied to tie the game multiple times behind scores from Gabby Noto, Kaeleigh Morrill and Matheis but Muldoon's goal with 2:16 left proved to be too much for the Blue Wave to overcome.

"She's tall, fast, she uses her speed really well and she has a really hard shot," Garden City coach Diane Chapman said of Muldoon. "When you have the aggressiveness she has she is able to get that one step on the defense."

Despite being down by as many as three goals the Trojans never stopped fighting and Chapman tabbed that as a key to defeating a talented Darien team.

"We play them every year and they're such a good team," Chapman said. "We just told our girls they have to keep fighting and if we're down you have to stay focused; it was a great team effort today."

The biggest moment in the game came during an 8-8 tie with eight minutes left when Trojan goalie Juliana Kubler made two point-blank saves, followed by a Darien shot that hit the crossbar and then another Kubler save, all in the span of 90 seconds.

"That's huge," Lindley said of the missed opportunities. "We had two in the game that hit the crossbar; if any of those are converted it's a different ball game."

Darien's brightest star on the day was Matheis who fueled the Wave offense late, recording an assist and her second goal to tie the game with nine minutes remaining.

"She played well," Lindley said of Matheis. "She's a senior captain so she should. She has very good leadership we just needed six more attackers to be on the same page with her."

Being only the second game of the season against a quality non-league opponent the loss won't hurt Darien in the long run, and Lindley just hopes the Blue Wave are able to build off it.

"We're going to learn from it hopefully," the coach said. "I thought we did some positive things and to have a one goal game against Garden City is still good."

aparelli@bcnnew.com @reportedbytheAP

Garden City (NY) 9, Darien 8

GARDEN CITY 5 4--9

DARIEN 5 3--8

Records: Garden City 2-0, Darien 1-1. Scoring: GC--Alexis Leighton 2 goals, Kerry Defliese 2 g, Celia Concannon 1g, Jenn Medjid 1 assist, Katie Muldoon 4 g; D--Katie Cronin 2g, Mariah Matheis 2g 1a, Chandler Kirby 1a, Anna Moorhead 1g, Laura Murphy 1g, Gabby Noto 1g, Kealeigh Morrill 1g. Goalies: GC--Juliana Kubler (4 saves); D--Sammy Nielsen (3). Shots: GC--15; D--14.