Darien blanks New Canaan in field hockey
Published 11:52 am, Wednesday, September 23, 2015
NEW CANAAN — In a clash of undefeated rivals and a rematch of the FCIAC field hockey championship game, it was Darien who came out strong and cruised to victory.
The Blue Wave defeated New Canaan 4-0 on the road Tuesday afternoon to move to 4-0 on the season behind a three goal barrage in the first half.
It was a small measure of revenge for the Blue Wave, who lost 2-0 to the Rams in last season’s conference title game.
“That was huge and that was our game plan — to finish early and often and take advantage of our opportunities,” Blue Wave coach Mo Minicus said of the early offensive pressure. “The girls did a great job of attacking the goal cage and finishing; the goals were great by Katie Elders but it was teamwork to get there.”
Elders, a freshman, notched a hat-trick in the victory; first scoring on a tip in from Marissa Baker, then added one more in each half, both from close range.
“It was so great for her,” Minicus said of the freshman’s performance. “She’s the cutest, most humble girl and she’s just doing her job, that’s all she’s doing with a smile on her face; she was at the right spot and kept it simple.”
Marissa Baker added the other goal on a penalty stroke and also finished with two assists in the tilt. From there it was the Darien defense and goalie Kaeleigh Morrill that kept New Canaan off the board.
“They’re really gelling and Kaleigh has really taken control out there,” Minicus said of her backline, which has only allowed one goal on the season. “She had a good voice and we’ve been working on that, every defender back there is a first-year starter and so they’re coming into their own, it took some time to figure out who was going to play where and we’re finally figuring it out.”
For the Rams (3-1) the result came from a sluggish start and inability to get off high quality shots on Morrill, who made one diving save in the second half but was generally kept clean in the cage.
“Darien’s a great team every year and you have to be playing your best field hockey to give yourself a chance to win,” New Canaan coach Erin Gildea said. “We talked that there were certain mistakes we couldn’t make because they always capitalize and I felt like today was one of those days we didn’t quite gel and as good as they are they are going to take advantage.”
New Canaan will have no time to let the win resonate as it gets right back to work on Wednesday in preparation for another tough matchup with Staples on Thursday.
“This is a huge week for us,” Gildea said. “We have Staples on Thursday, we lost to them last year 1-0, and there are no easy games or days off in this league so I’m hoping that we learn from this and I’ve learned that it’s a long season and you have to be patient.”
DARIEN 4, NEW CANAAN 0
DARIEN 3 1—4
NEW CANAAN 0 0—0
Records: Darien 4-0; New Canaan 3-1, Goals: D—Katie Elders 3, Marissa Baker. Assists: D—Marissa Baker 2. Goalies: D—Kaeleigh Morrill (8 saves); NC—Emily Conley (6). Shots: D—12; NC—9.