DARIEN -- Trailing by just three goals early in the second half, the Darien High School girls' lacrosse team had a couple of in-close chances to draw closer, but Manhasset (N.Y.) goaltender Kelsey Quackenbush came up with some key saves and the Indians went on to pull away for a 16-9 win Saturday morning.
"That is a game-changer," Darien High coach Lisa Lindley said of her team not capitalizing on point-blank scoring chances, and seeing the Indians race back the other way and score on more than one occasion. "We weren't finishing. I can't come up with the right combinations on offense. We certainly had our looks."
Manhasset improved to 6-3 and Darien dropped to 4-3 overall.
The Blue Wave got three goals and an assist from Emily Stein, two goals and an assist off the stick of Brynn Gasparino and a pair of tallies from Dillon Schoen. Jena Frits and Charlett Stevenson added goals.
After a back and forth start, the Indians -- who got hat-tricks from Julia Glynn and Lindsey Ronbeck -- pulled ahead 9-5 in the final minute of first half. Manhasset had been winning a majority of the faceoffs, but Darien got control off the ensuing draw and Schoen raced to the goal and scored with 12 seconds left in the opening half.
The Blue Wave got control of the ball early in the second half and Lexi Perticone made a nice cut to the goal, but was denied. Darien goalie Caylee Waters made a save on Glynn off a free position, but Quackenbush came up with another tough stop to deny Gasparino.
Manhasset's Maddy Molinari scored one of her two goals with 22:20 to play for a 10-6 lead. Darien responded less than a minute later when Schoen weaved through the defense and whipped home a shot. However, the Blue Wave went 16:30 without scoring and the Indians reeled off the next four goals to put the game away.
The Indians finished the game with advantages in ball control off draws, ground balls and turnovers forced, coming up with a 7-2 advantage in the latter category. Manhasset cashed in by scoring off several of those turnovers.
"You can't coach aggressiveness. Maybe people disagree, but I don't think so," said Lindley, adding her players need to get better at picking up loose balls and doing the little things. "I think my defense played well," she added.
The coach also said she didn't think Manhasset was necessarily a better team than hers.
"They played better than we did. Can we stay with them? When we have all of our players playing we can," said Lindley, referring not to missing team members, but those not playing to their capabilities.
The Blue Wave will try to rebound on Thursday but it's not expected to be easy. The opponent is 7-0 Wilton, the defending FCIAC champion. "It's always tough. They've got the best player in the state. We have to hold her in check and score some goals," said Lindley, referring to Casey Pearsall.
Andy Hutchison is a freelance writer from Fairfield County
Manhasset, NY 16, Darien 9
MANHASSET 9 7--16
DARIEN 6 3--9
Records: Manhasset 6-3. Darien 4-3
Scoring: M--Charlotte Avallone (2g, 1a), Julia Glynn (3g, 1a), Maddy Molinari (2g, 1a), Emily Koufakis (2g), Lindsey Ronbeck (3g), Christina Manis (1g), Natalie Stefan (2g, 1a), Abby Kucharczyk (1g). D--Jena Frits (1g), Brynn Gasparino (2g, 1 a), Emily Stein (3g, 1a), Dillon Schoen (2g), Charlett Stevenson (1g), Hollis Perticone (1a). Goalies: M--Kelsey Quackenbush (8 saves); D--Caylee Waters (11). Shots: M--19; D--21.