Darien field hockey rolls past Greenwich
DARIEN -- Nine days had passed since Darien field hockey coach Mo Minicus was inducted into the Connecticut Field Hockey Hall of Fame, but Tuesday afternoon offered the very first chance for the Blue Wave to honor her properly. And by the time Minicus' squad left the field against an aggressive Greenwich team, it had done the job.
Four different Darien players scored and the Wave defense limited the Cardinals to eight shots during a thorough 7-1 home win to strengthen the team's hold on the FCIAC. Georgia Cassidy and Gabby Noto tallied two goals each, and Greenwich junior Katie Palastro posted her team's only score late in the first half. Darien (6-1) now moves on to a pivotal clash with Wilton Friday.
"I was very impressed with the goals that we scored. Some of them were absolutely beautiful, some of them were true grit just getting it in low and getting it in," Minicus said. "I thought our corners were sharper today. So I think all in all it was a good win for the whole team."
Playing in front of second-string goaltender Caroline Schultz, the Cardinals made a concerted effort early to break out on the offensive. However, Greenwich couldn't maintain possession outside the first few minutes and surrendered an airborne Cassidy goal less than five minutes in. When a subsequent Cardinals score was washed out by a late whistle, Darien raced back to the other end, where it forced three consecutive penalty corners and Noto eventually struck for a 2-0 lead.
By the 10-minute mark of the opening half, the Blue Wave had doubled its edge to 4-0, which Greenwich coach Ally Orrico partly chalked up to her team's inexperience and inconsistency.
"It's been a little bit tough because we've had people get sick and people have been out," Orrico said. "So the girls have really been trying to hold it together, and it's been difficult to get everyone practicing together. But I think ¦ it was a lot greater game than what the score indicated."
Darien opened the second half in much the same fashion it closed the first, forcing penalty corners and adding to its lead. Noto, Julia Russo and Kat Culliton each found the back of the net, as the Blue Wave collectively recorded the first 11 shots of the half. The Cardinals eventually managed to push back over the game's final minutes, but couldn't slip much by starting goalie Kaeleigh Morrill nor her back-up Kallie Coughlin.
"We have to continue to work hard on our technique," Orrico said. "One of the things we need to do a better job of is not overcommitting, especially against a team like Darien, because if you overcommit on defense, they're going to go right around you. So we're still trying to work on that with our younger girls."
Post-game, Minicus shared she learned of her Hall of Fame award back in January and was honored on Sunday, Sept. 21, at an annual banquet. She also said that her current team's key to success won't be far different than the formula that helped make her a Hall of Famer in the first place.
"I firmly believe if we do the basics and we do them well, we don't really need to focus on much more. Know your job, know your skills, keep it simple and play hard."
Darien 7, Greenwich 1
GREENWICH 1 0--1
DARIEN 4 3--7
Records: Darien--6-1, 5-0 FCIAC; Greenwich--2-2-3, 2-2-2 FCIAC.
Goals: D -- Georgia Cassidy 2, Gabby Noto 2, Marissa Baker, Julia Russo, Kat Culliton. G --Kate Palastro. Assists: D -- Baker 3, Kyla Johns 2, Cassidy. Goalies: D -- Kaeleigh Morrill (4 saves), Kallie Coughlin (4). G-- Caroline Schultz (17).