DHS girls lacrosse edges Greenwich
For all of the little things that went wrong -- false starts on penalty shots, a goal being waived off, the first-half clock running out just before a would-be tally -- the biggest thing went the Blue Wave's way on Saturday. The Darien High School girls' lacrosse team pulled out an 8-7 win over previously unbeaten Greenwich at home in the rain on a chilly Saturday morning. The win went beyond the score sheet.
"Obviously, we needed this psychologically," Darien coach Lisa Lindley said. "We have a losing record, although I don't think we're as bad as our record indicates."
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After all, the Wave has lost to a pair of tough New York schools, Suffern and Manhassett, as well as to Loomis Chaffee. And the team was coming off an overtime loss to Wilton two days earlier. With the victory, the Wave improved to 2-4 overall and Greenwich fell to 6-1. Both records are deceiving as the Wave has faced some of the toughest teams in and out of the FCIAC, and Greenwich has had a mostly-easy schedule by comparison.
Darien was without one of its key offensive weapons, Ellie Bullitt, but got two goals apiece from Brynn Gasparino and Jenna Fritz, and one goal from Lexi Perticone, Emily Stein, Dillon Schoen and Kristy Gilbert.
DHS goaltender Claire Dickson made ten saves, including several key stops to preserve the lead late in the contest. She made three in the final minute, including a sliding stop with her knees on a wraparound try. She made a save on a penalty shot with 25 seconds to play.
"She played huge -- I think she had some key saves and she was patient in her clears," Lindley said.
Tory Dunster and Claire Feeney both scored three goals for Greenwich, which trailed 5-4 at halftime but scored less than 20 seconds into the second half to knot the score. Darien reclaimed the lead 2:02 into the half on Gilbert's tally. Fritz scored 3:01 later for a 7-5 lead. Greenwich pulled back to within a goal midway through the half, but Perticone found the net with what turned out to be the game-winner, making it 8-6 with 6:02 to play.
Perticone was stationed behind the net throughout the game, and was looking to set up a teammate when she made a move to the front, spun to avoid a defender and slipped a low shot into the net.
"Nothing was open and I saw an opening around the crease. I just went for it," she said.
Greenwich got back to within a goal with 4:27 to play but could not deadlock the score
"There was a lot of pressure but you always have to keeping thinking it's a whole team effort -- it's not just you back there. Our defense played phenomenal at the end. I'm just so proud of them," Dickson said.
The Blue Wave prevailed, Perticone believes, because the players have been battle-tested in the early going.
"I think we've been in this situation a few times before this season so we knew what to do," said Perticone, adding that the team members remained patient with the ball to set up good shots with the game on the line.
"I think we really showed how much we wanted it at the end and stayed strong throughout the game," Darien's Catherine Lincoln said.
Darien had possession of the ball as the clock wound down to end the first half. The clock kept running after a whistle inside of 20 seconds to play, and that proved costly as a Wave player scored a goal just a second after the halftime horn sounded. There was apparent miscommunication between Darien players and the officials on signals which resulted in false starts negating shot opportunities, and another goal was waived off because of a violation on a penalty shot.
Darien will resume its tough out-of-state play with a clash against Garden City, N.Y. on Saturday at 11 a.m., a team Lindley considers to be perhaps the best in the nation. The Wave lost to Garden City 18-8 a year ago.