Darien field hockey fends off New Canaan
Published 2:12 pm, Wednesday, September 28, 2016
DARIEN — For a team that had averaged over seven goals per game through its first five contests, Darien wasn’t used to having to win with its defense — but that’s exactly what happened Friday.
The Blue Wave took down rival New Canaan 3-1 at home to make it a clean 6-0 to start the year.
“New Canaan plays a different style than we’ve faced,” Blue Wave coach Mo Minicus said. “They’re very aggressive one-on-one when we have the ball and it’s good for us to experience that, they were all over us so we needed to know not to play with the ball.”
Matheis’ goal wouldn’t even be her most impressive accomplishment on Friday however.
With a minute and a half remaining and the score 3-1 in favor of the Blue Wave — courtesy of a second-half goal from Darien’s Emily Gianunzio — a Rams shot went over the head of goalie Kalli Coughlin. Coughlin got a piece of the ball sending it skyward where Matheis raised her stick and batted it out of the air and away to safety.
“It was crazy,” Coughlin said of the play. “Campbell just stuck her stick out, and if she didn’t do that it could have been a totally different game.”
The New Canaan offense started to come alive in the second half, especially in the final 10 minutes when it frantically tried to make up a two-goal deficit.
“It was really hectic back there,” Coughlin said. “I knew I had to keep in communication with all the defenders and they were checking with me, I was trying to clear the balls out wide and reminded everyone to stay calm and composed in order to do our job well.”
According to Minicus a tough test was just what the doctor ordered for Coughlin, a first-year starter.
“Kalli had a great day in goal today,” Minicus said. “She really stepped up, her clears were strong, she kind of came into her own and she needed that, she hasn’t really been tested like that today and I think today was a great confidence booster for her.”
New Canaan got its own confidence boost on the day after coming on strong in the second half.
The Rams lone goal came off the stick of Ellery Baran midway through the second and the score could have been much different if not for the handy work of Coughlin.
“Between the first and second half we were a completely different team and that’s all I can ask for,” first-year New Canaan coach Alyssa Havens said. “For them to go out there and play with heart and that’s what they did in the second half.”
The Rams started the year 3-0 before dropping their previous two contests against Norwalk and Darien, which are both undefeated, and Havens likes her team’s chances going forward.
“I just told them to harness what they did in the second half,” Havens said of her post game message. “And if they use that the rest of the season we’ll be unstoppable.”
DARIEN 3, NEW CANAAN 1
NEW CANAAN 0 1—1
DARIEN 2 1—3
Records: New Canaan 3-2; Darien 6-0. Goals: NC—Ellery Baran; D—Kendall Wisinski, Campbell Matheis, Emily Gianunzio. Goalies: NC—Grace Brown (7 saves); D—Kalli Coughlin (6). Shots: NC—12; D—17.