Darien shuts out Norwalk
Updated 10:32 pm, Monday, October 30, 2017
NORWALK — Katie Elders is a field hockey first responder.
Her job description as the “fly” on Darien High’s defensive penalty corner defensive unit is short and succinct: Race from the cage and disrupt the opponent’s play before it has a chance to start.
Elders did her job in impressive fashion on Monday night at Casagrande Field as the Blue Wave denied all 14 of Norwalk’s penalty corners while posting a 4-0 win over the Bears in an FCIAC playoff semifinal.
“Katie was unreal,” said Darien coach Mo Minicus. “She’s just super fast, competitive, hungry, focused and she was just in the moment.”
Eleven of Norwalk’s corners came in the second half as the Bears desperately tried claw their way back into the game.
Each time, though, the Blue Wave defensive squad was up to the task each time.
“My main focus is just getting the ball out of the circle,” Elders said. “Just stop the ball. I have to get out there as fast I can and go stick to stick, that’s what I’ve always been told. The insert goes straight out and I just follow it directly.”
Along with her trail Bridget Mahoney and post defenders Sally Cassidy and Kiki Tropsa, the unit joined goalie Erica Blaze (7 saves) in shutting out the second-seeded Bears.
“I have to hand it to Mo and how they played us defensively on the corners,” Norwalk coach Kyle Seaburg said. “I think we were looking for the perfect shot, instead of just getting off shots. It stings right now, but we’ll learn from it.”
For Norwalk, goalie Jess Monterio made four saves.
Darien, the third seed, will face sixth-seeded Wilton, a 3-2 overtime winner over Greenwich, in the FCIAC championship game on Thursday at 7 p.m., back at McMahon.
A BALANCED ATTACK
Offensively, Darien was balanced, getting four different goal scorers in the win.
Kendall Wisinski (from Cassidy) tallied the first goal on a penalty corner while Tropsa gave Darien a 2-0 lead at the half with a goal set up by Sydney Schrenker.
Molly Hellman and Schrenker added second-half goals, both set up by Elders.
“We are that balanced,” Minicus said. “We don’t rely on one single player. It’s whoever can make it happen. Our goal scoring is all spread out and I like that. You can’t key on anybody.”
Norwalk struggled maintaining possession in the first half, but were still in the game, down two goals at the break.
“We talked at halftime about playing more of our game, being more aggressive to the ball and in the second half we had some opportunities,” Seaburg said. “If we could have made it 2-1 and gotten some momentum, who knows?”
Outside of Norwalk’s corners, the Bears’ best opportunity at a score came with 20 minutes left in the second half when freshman Tessa Albrecht ripped a nifty reverse stick shot on goal which just went wide of the cage.
“I play high mid. It’s an offensive/defensive position, so I’m always going the full 100 yards, which is amazing because I’m playing all over the field,” said Elders, describing her full role with the Blue Wave team.
DARIEN 4, NORWALK 0
DARIEN 2 2—4
NORWALK 0 0—0
Records: Darien 15-2-1, Norwalk 15-3-0; Goals: D—Kendall Wisinski, Kiki Tropsa, Molly Hellman, Sydney Schrenker, Assists: D—Katie Elders 2, Schrenker, Sally Cassidy; Goalies: D—Erica Blaze (7 saves), N—Jess Monteiro (4 saves).