Darien routs Staples to reach girls lacrosse semifinals
By Ryan Lacey
DARIEN — Thursday marked the three-year anniversary of the last time the Darien girls lacrosse team lost a game from a team from Connecticut. Since then, it’s been a sustained period of dominance from the Blue Wave and no one has been able to stop them.
Seeking their third straight Class L state title, No. 3 Darien advanced to the semifinals with a comfortable 17-5 win over Staples. The 10 seniors that have overseen one of the winningest stretches in the program’s rich history signed off on their home careers with another emphatic performance.
“To be honest they don’t know, and I didn’t know until we played New Canaan the first time (A 12-9 win May 7) that there was some kind of record,” Darien coach Lisa Lindley said of her team’s streak. “We don’t talk about it because I don’t want them to have that added pressure. Right now we have to take one game at a time.”
Darien, which has won 55 straight against in-state competition, will meet Conard in the semifinals on Tuesday. Anna Moorhead led the charge with four goals, while teammates Katie Cronin and Mariah Matheis each fired hat tricks.
Darien, which beat Staples 17-6 during the regular season, got off to the best possible start with two goals inside the first minute and five before the Wreckers could blink. Cronin and Emma Lesko took turns controlling the faceoff circle that led to plenty of possessions.
“It’s something we’ve talked about, coming out with intensity from the beginning and playing the whole 50 minutes,” Lindley said. “We’ve had a few games where we’ve haven’t. I think my seniors did a good job getting everyone prepared.”
Jenna McNicholas, who scored four goals for Staples, scored twice midway through the first half to cut the lead to 5-2. But the Blue Wave rattled off three straight to close the door, and another three before the half to slam it shut.
“We really focused this week on moving the ball and seeing the cutters and being patient,” Mathias said. “That’s what we did on offense today; we really clicked and I’m proud of the team.”
Darien outscored the Wreckers 6-2 in the second half. No. 6 Staples saw its season end at the quarterfinal stage after beating Warde at home in the first round.
“In the second half we were just trying to play for pride,” Staples coach Pete Najarian said. “I told the girls at halftime to forget about the scoreboard and prove we can play. I’m proud of our kids, they fought hard the whole time.”
The Blue Wave are now two wins away from wrapping up another unblemished season in the state.
“All of the players on the team take it seriously no matter what their role is,” Mathias said. “It really shows on the field. Now our focus is on Tuesday and to work on what we have to work on.”
DARIEN 17, STAPLES 5
STAPLES 3 2—5
DARIEN 11 6 — 17
Records: Staples 12-6; Darien 15-3.
Scoring: S—Jenna McNicholas 4 g; Sam Kratky 1 a; Paige Murray 1 a; Colleen Bannon 1 g, 1 a. D — Katie Cronin 3 g, 1 a; Mariah Matheis 3 g, 1 a; Anna Moorhead 4 g, 1 a; Gabby Noto 1 g; Chandler Kirby 1 g; Kaeleigh Morrill 1 g, 1 a; Emma Lesko 1 g; Susannah Ropp 1 g; Laura Murphy 2 g. Goalies: S — Emma Boland (3 saves); Alexa Moro (6 saves) — Sammy Nielsen (3 saves); Isabella Scribiano (1).