Darien beat Wilton to nets its 10th FCIAC field hockey championship
NORWALK — “That’s so Georgia.” “That’s so Marissa.”
Those words were the only explanation Darien coach Mo Minicus could offer when it came to the play of her two stars — Georgia Cassidy and Marissa Baker — making plays that led to the No. 1 Blue Wave winning the FCIAC title, defeating No. 2 Wilton 1-0 at Brien McMahon High School Thursday night.
Baker made three separate diving plays to clear balls out of her team’s shooting circle. With three minutes left Wilton amassed six separate penalty-corner opportunities, including three with no time remaining on the clock.
Darien, however, found a way to thwart all six, finally finishing the game on Baker’s last diving clear.
“To still have the legs to sprint to the top of the circle, that’s Marissa,” Minicus said. “But I credit the entire defensive unit back there, they were tough. We have to work on getting the ball out a little bit stronger but they never gave up and they stayed really tough.”
The championship is the 10th overall for Darien, which lost in last season’s final to rival New Canaan.
The lone goal in the contest came in the third minute of the second half. Darien created a transition opportunity and Cassidy, like she did to beat New Canaan in the semifinals, found herself just feet from the cage and no one but the goalie in front of her.
The forward flattened her stick to the ground and smashed a backhand shot that rattled into the bottom left corner of the cage.
“That was just instinctive and that was an awesome shot,” Minicus said. “It’s not easy to score against (Wilton goalie) Amanda Hendry and I think she took Amanda by surprise with that shot and just nailed it.”
The title adds to the luster of what is a 17-0 season so far for Darien heading into state tournament play. While a championship may have always been the Blue Wave’s goal, perfection certainly wasn’t and Darien had to earn every bit of the record especially the last two contests against New Canaan and Wilton.
“They earned it, they worked really hard,” Minicus said. “The teams we played had great game-plans against us, really trying to mark-out Georgia and Marissa, its’s smart but they’re so good that they still manage to make things happen and the rest of our team really stepped up today and I’m proud of how they responded.”
Wilton played even with Darien for all but those couple seconds that resulted in Cassidy’s goal. Coach Diedre Hynes-Ormond called a timeout with just over two minutes left and told her team to believe in themselves.
The Warriors (14-3) listened and created late opportunity after late opportunity but came up just short.
“I’m extremely proud of them, this team from August to now, night and day,” Hynes-Ormond said. “Especially in terms of their intensity and fight, we could beat teams just with their skill and get kind of complacent, but blood, sweat and tears — they left it all on the field tonight and I can’t ask for anything more than that.”
DARIEN 1, WILTON 0
DARIEN 0 1—1
WILTON 0 0—0
Records: Wilton 14-3; Darien 17-0. Goals: D—Georgia Cassidy. Goalies: W—Amanda Hendry (4 saves); D—Kaeleigh Morrill (1). Shots: D—6; W—2.