DARIEN -- When halftime commenced Friday afternoon to hand the Darien and New Canaan girls lacrosse teams a deserved breather, the scoreboard at Darien High Stadium read exactly as any should halfway through a rivalry game, displaying a one-goal difference.
The five minutes that came after intermission, however, gave way to a score far more akin to a blowout.
The Blue Wave scored four goals in the first five minutes of the second half, before cruising to a 14-6 victory in a key FCIAC matchup. Hollis Perticone notched a game-high four goals and five assists to lead her team, which improved to 8-1 on the season. Emily Stein, Anna Moorhead and Mariah Matheis all collected hat tricks for Darien.
"We decided to make some personnel adjustments," Blue Wave coach Lisa Lindley said of the second half. "We put more speed in the midfield and moved Stein back to attack, so I think that helped us."
Darien registered three of its four game-changing goals during a power play born from a yellow card handed to Ram midfielder Matty Novick. Upon her return, New Canaan (5-4, 5-2) closed to within 8-5 on unassisted efforts by Sami Stewart and Madeleine Gertsen.
But the Wave continued to overwhelm its rival with a balanced attack that yielded six scores in the final 12 minutes, two more than it recorded in the entire first period.
"In the first half, defensively, I thought we played spectacularly," Rams coach Kristin Woods said. "Offensively, we didn't have as much confidence as I wanted them to. We'll get there."
Stewart led New Canaan with three goals, two of which registered in a back-and-forth opening period. Darien initially jumped out to a 3-0 lead when Anna Moorhead struck gold unassisted less than two minutes in and Perticone followed by collecting both a goal and an assist over the ensuing 70 seconds.
Following the Rams' first draw win of the afternoon, Stewart found the back of the net and helped New Canaan maintain possession. Then, Perticone scored Darien's final goal of the half at the 14:25 mark, before the Wave went on to stall to a 4-3 halftime edge.
"We're a very fast team, so we wanted to move the ball quickly, because that's where we can beat teams with our speed," Perticone said. "But in the first half, we had some silly errors where we couldn't do that."
From the opposite sideline, an excellent performance from Ram goalie Bailey Pilder (11 saves) and a commitment to team defense seemed to stem the tide.
"I think (the difference) was just taking care of the ball," Woods said. "Defensively, it was getting back to the hole and matching up. I think their goals to that point were either fast breaks or one-on-ones. But once we got back to our team defense, we were playing well."
Later, neither Pilder nor any New Canaan defensive scheme could slow the Blue Wave.
Dillon Schoen added a goal and assist for Darien. While the final score seemed to highlight youthful transition the normally explosive Rams program is undergoing this season, Friday's win was no less sweet for rival Darien. Read Full Article
"It's New Canaan," Perticone said. "They lost a lot of great players, but no matter what we want to beat them as much as we can. A New Canaan victory is the same as any other year."
DARIEN 14, NEW CANAAN 6
NEW CANAAN 3 3--6
DARIEN 4 10 --14
Records: Darien 8-1, 6-0 FCIAC, New Canaan 5-4, 5-2 FCIAC. Scoring: NC--Sami Stewart 3 goals, Isabel Taben 1g, Madline Gertsen 1g, Catherine Granito 1g; D-- Hollis Perticone 4 goals, 5 assists, Emily Stein 3g, 2a, Anna Moorhead 3g, 1a, Mariah Matheis 3g, Dillon Schoen 1g, 1a; Goalies: NC--Bailey Pilder (11 saves); D--Kyra Gardner (6). Shots: NC--15; D--31.