By Andrew Callahan
DARIEN — You can’t do much better than a perfect 10.
Led by junior Mariah Matheis, the third-seeded Darien girls lacrosse team recorded the first 10 goals of its Class L quarterfinal game against No. 6 Newtown Thursday en route to a 20-5 victory in a match up between the FCIAC and SWC champions. Matheis scored on all five of her shot attempts while senior captain Emily Stein netted four goals. Nighthawk attack Meaghan Brophy notched a hat trick, but her team could never overcome a double-digit deficit before halftime.
The Blue Wave will now face No. 7 Cheshire Tuesday in its eighth trip to the state semifinals over the last nine years.
“They obviously have some good players on their team, but I think our depth just sort of wore them down,” Darien coach Lisa Lindley said. “And you know, my girls finally came out with some spark in them. We scored right off the bat, and I thought that set the tone.”
Blue Wave draw specialist Katie Cronin claimed the first faceoff of the contest, darted ahead and unloaded on the Newtown net for a score 12 seconds in. The Nighthawks (14-6) responded by claiming the ensuring draw, but were stifled in their attempts to pass the ball onto the doorstep, a theme that would persist all afternoon.
“I thought we did very well there,” Lindley said of her defense. “And I was also very happy with the ball movement, the execution and our finishing ability.”
Back with possession, Darien (19-2) watched senior Dillon Schoen pick up an assist and a goal in the next four minutes to hand the Wave a 3-0 lead. Moments later, Matheis’ first score of the game drew a Newtown timeout and simultaneously kickstarted a 10-minute stretch that bore seven more Darien goals. Midway through the run, the Nighthawks switched to a zone defense that yielded no different results.
“We really just tried to slow things down and get our middies back on defense,” Nighthawks coach Maura Fletcher said. “But it doesn’t help in lacrosse when you can’t get possession.”
Newtown’s Kristie Voswinkel snapped the shutout with a goal from a free position just outside the four-minute mark of the first half. Brophy added another score on the following possession, but Darien tacked on three more goals for a 13-2 halftime edge.
While she knew the challenge that lay ahead of her team coming in, Fletcher never imagined the outcome that played out.
“We knew it was Darien and we knew it was going to be tough,” Fletcher said. “I was hoping to go in and play a little bit looser. But I think right from the get-go they were a little shell-shocked from the speed and the skill level. I would’ve liked to have seen us put up a little bit bigger of a fight & but if you’re going to lose, you feel all right losing to Darien.”
DARIEN 20, NEWTOWN 5 Read Full Article
NEWTOWN 2 3 —5
DARIEN 13 7 —20
Records: Darien 19-2, Newtown 14-6. Scoring: N— Meaghan Brophy 3 goals, Carley Ferris 3 assists, Kristie Voswinkel 1g, Emily Maher 1g; D— Mariah Matheis 5g, Emily Stein 4g, Kaeleigh Morrill 3g, 1a, Dillon Schoen 2g, 3a, Hollis Perticone 1g, 2a, Anna Moorhead 2g, Chandler Kirby 1g, 1a, Katie Cronin 1g, Elizabeth Fucigna 1g, Gabby Noto 1a; Goalies: N—Kyle Dandrea (4 saves); D—Kyra Gardner (7), Samantha Nielsen (1).
Highlights: N—Meaghan Brophy netted a hat trick. D—The Blue Wave scored the first 10 goals of the game. Mariah Matheis tallied five scores and Emily Stein recorded four. Dillon Schoen finished with two goals and three assists.