The New Canaan girls lacrosse team certainly didn't play as if it was looking ahead to the game of the regular season against Darien on Thursday.

Instead, the Rams delivered another dominating performance to suggest they are ready for the challenges the Blue Wave are going to present.

Led by hat tricks from Elizabeth Miller and Isabel Taben, New Canaan put on a clinic in defeating Staples 14-4 on Tuesday afternoon at home. The Rams (9-2) led 9-1 at the half to ensure they entered Thursday's showdown on a high note.

"I'm really excited that the kids came out focused," New Canaan coach Kristen Woods said. "They were excited to play we did a good job coming up with the loose the balls and draw controls and defensively I thought our slides were great."

The Rams won most of the early draws and spent minutes at a time in the offensive zone. The Wreckers defense held firm early but couldn't transition without turning the ball over. Miller scored two early goals to help New Canaan to a 3-1 lead with 18:03 left in the first half, but the Rams had to wait nine minutes before their next goal as Staples made things difficult early.

"Our defense played well, certainly for the first half," Staples coach Pete Najarian said. "The turnovers killed us. We need to be able to handle pressure and turn the ball over less."

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New Canaan then took full advantage of a Staples yellow card late in the first half, scoring three times during the two-minute penalty that turned a 6-1 lead into a 9-1 one.

"I liked that they stayed composed and looked for the open player," said Woods of her team during the man advantage.

The Wreckers (7-3), who lost to Darien Friday and were again without several of their top players, got goals from Colleen Bannon, Olivia Troy, Megan Johnson and Sam Kratky.

"We were flat today," Najarian said. "I think we were intimidated when we got off the bus and I also think New Canaan is one of the best teams in the state.

Miller was at the heart of most of what the Rams did at both ends of the field. Staples had just two shots at the cage in the first half the Rams controlled the ball on offense and forced turnovers on defense when necessary.

"(Miller's) defense is one of the strongest components of her play," Woods said. "Obviously she's not shabby on offense either. She's a hard-working kid and comes to play every game no matter what."

New Canaan and Darien may be the two best teams in the state. Both have two losses to teams from New York, and both are the last undefeated teams in the FCIAC. Darien has won the last five meetings between the schools.

"(Darien) always come out strong, they have a lot of talent," Woods said. "I think we just have to come out for the full 50 minutes."