Darien beats New Canaan in double OT to win fourth straight FCIAC girls lacrosse title
NORWALK -- Anna Moorhead and the other Darien girls lacrosse captains would not let their team lose this game, no matter how long it took.
Not after the previous three Blue Wave teams had taken home the FCIAC crown, not after they had worked so hard to defeat every Connecticut opponent they had played since June of 2012 -- a span of 51 games.
And when Moorhead had the ball in her stick behind the New Canaan goal with 1:46 left in sudden death overtime, she made sure they wouldn't.
Moorhead delivered a beautiful stick-to-stick pass to Mariah Matheis, who buried it, giving Darien a 13-12 victory and its fourth consecutive FCIAC title.
"We never allowed them to give up." Moorhead said of the captains' message to the team. "And we ended it, we put it away just like Darien should every year."
With Moorhead behind the net controlling the ball the rest of the Darien offense huddled together, creating a mass right in front of the net. Matheis snuck around the back and was wide open when Moorhead delivered the pass that ended the game.
"I trust her implicitly, she's been my teammate from day one," Moorhead said of Matheis, who hadn't registered a point in the contest until registering the game winner. "I knew we were going to end it; I am so happy I could be a part of that play, we're a team that doesn't give up, even if we were down by four. We came here with a mission and we accomplished it, I couldn't be happier right now -- I'm in shock."
The New Canaan defense, led by goalie Bailey Pilder held the powerful Darien offense scoreless for a 20 minute stretch during the game, building a four-goal second-half lead behind the three-goal, one-assist effort of Catherine Granito and two goals from Kylie Murphy.
"I'm so proud of the way they played today and I told them that at the end," New Canaan coach Kristin Woods said. "They gave 110 percent and there were some times where we made some mistakes and (Darien) took advantage, you can't make mistakes against Darien."
In the final four minutes of regulation Darien finally broke out of its slump, scoring three times to force overtime. First Katie Cronin scored off a ground ball, followed by Laura Murphy scoring twice; the first off a perfect feed from Moorhead and the second when she was surrounded by defenders but used her height to put one into the top of the net.
"It was awesome," Blue Wave coach Lisa Lindley said of the comeback. "I did think that we were done to be honest, but once we started scoring I was like, `Hey, maybe we have a chance here."
The two teams traded two goals apiece in the first two overtime periods with Elizabeth Miller and Granito tallying for the Rams and Kaeleigh Morrill and Moorhead scoring for Darien. Moorhead's came with just three seconds left in the first overtime.
The meeting was the second between the teams as Darien also took the first contest 12-9 on May 7.
With the teams being in different CIAC classes for the first time this season, Darien now resides in L while New Canaan stays in M, Thursday marked the last time the arch rivals will meet.
"The nice part is that we do have states," Woods said. "We can get back at it and try to get that state title; it's not going to be easy, but if the girls stay on their game and stay focused we'll get there."
Darien 13, New Canaan 12 (OT)
NEW CANAAN 6 4 2--12
DARIEN 4 6 3--13
Scoring: NC--Kathleen DeMarino 2 goals, Kylie Murphy 2g 1 assist, Catherine Granito 3g 1a, Elizabeth Miller 2g 1a, Isabel Taben 1g, Samantha Stewart 1g, Emily DeTour 1g; D--Kaeileigh Morrill 3g, Laura Murphy 3g 1a, Katie Cronin 3g, Chandler Kirby 2g 1a, Anna Moorhead 1g 2a, Mariah Matheis 1g, Susannah Ropp 1a. Goalies: NC--Bailey Pilder (6 saves); D--Sammy Nielsen (8). Shots: NC--26; D--29.