Darien, Glastobury co-champs in Class L field hockey
WETHERSFIELD -- It took until the state championship for Darien to do something against Glastonbury that hasn't been done all year--score a goal.
The Tomahawks came into the CIAC Class L final as the No. 1 overall seed with a perfect 18-0 record and hadn't let up a single goal all year, but that changed Saturday afternoon at Wethersfield High School when Darien's Kyla Johns was able to score off a penalty corner from Marissa Baker.
That goal came six minutes after Glastonbury had struck resulting in a 1-1 game that would hold as the final, making the Tomahawks and Blue Wave (15-4-1) co-champions.
"I'm trying to tell the girls that we we're the seven seed no one expected us to be here," said Darien coach Mo Minicus, whose team has now won three straight state titles. "But then you get so close you get greedy, the girls played out of their minds today it felt like we dominated the game so it does sting a little."
The stats do back up Minicus' statement as Darien outshot Glastonbury 21-4 in regulation plus two overtimes.
"We knew that they are strong defensively and they pack it in," Minicus said of Glastonbury's defensive prowess. "So we powered forward with numbers to see what we can do."
As important as the pure volume of shots was offensively for Darien, the play of goalie Kaeleigh Morrill proved to be just an significant.
Morrill stopped two shots in the final two minutes of the game. On the first she came charging up and thwart a breakaway attempt, a maneuver that gave Glastonbury a penalty corner, on which she made a nifty kick save against Leyna DiMico.
"With the diving one I knew if I hadn't stepped out on her she would have scored so it was a lot of reaction and I just kind of ran at her to take her out," the sophomore goalie said of her first save. "And that caused the corner and I just kicked my leg out as fast as I could."
Glastonbury's DiMico scored the lone goal for the Tomahawks on a penalty corner. She actually swung twice on the shot, the first was blocked but the power from her stroke knocked the stick out of the Darien defender's hands, allowing her another look, which she capitalized on.
Asked if the prefix "co" in the title had any ill effect on Glastonbury, head coach Maureen Perkins was adamant. "Absolutely not," she said. "To play against a team of Darien's quality and to stay with them for 80 minutes and to score first on them and pressure them -- absolutely nothing bad about this one."
Being overlooked as a contender at the beginning of the season after graduating a core group from last year's team only fueled the Blue Wave, and ultimately Darien proved it could be successful.
"I know a lot of people doubted us coming into the season," Morrill said. "But we had some good losses early on that really pushed us forward in the season and made us intense coming out as the underdog."
Darien 1, Glastonbury 1
DARIEN 1 0--1
GLASTONBURY 1 0--1
Records: D 15-4-1; G 18-0-1. Goals: D--Kyla Johns; G--Leyna Dimico. Assists: D-Marissa Baker. Goalies: D--Kaeleigh Morrill (3 saves); Maire Casey (11). Shots: D-21; G-4.