By Andrew Callahan

The Darien field hockey team owes Marissa Baker one.

Or maybe three.

The Blue Wave junior came to her team's rescue Wednesday during a 5-3 victory over New Canaan with her first career hat trick, including the eventual game-winner and an insurance goal. The Rams overcame a 3-0 halftime deficit to close within a goal, but couldn't combat Baker and classmate Georgia Cassidy, who tallied three assists. By game's end, Darien outshot New Canaan 24-12.

"Our passing game was on today," Baker said. "We do flow drills in practice a lot, and I think that's really important to our game because it teaches to play like a team. I think our team chemistry was off the charts today, especially me and Georgia. We clicked really well on the field. All of us clicked really well."

Olivia Hoyda opened the Blue Wave scoring midway through the first half on a rising shot, which Rams coach Erin Gildea described post-game as indefensible. New Canaan then failed to convert on a pair of ensuing penalty corners, opening the door for Baker at the other end. Handling a well-aimed cross from Rebecca DeMaio, she deposited her first goal at eight minutes to play before intermission, and junior Kat Culliton added another moments later in similar fashion.

"I was very frustrated with the last 10 minutes of the first half. We backed off and they stepped up," Gildea said. "But I am so proud of the way they came back in the second half and took it right to them."

Early in the second half, the Rams managed to pull themselves back into the game via their own flurry of offense.

New Canaan freshman Meredith Heaney struck first by redirecting a shot from captain Isabel Taben, less than five minutes following intermission. While Baker answered immediately with her second goal, Rams sophomore Ellery Branan kept the pressure on thanks to a perfect feed from Sabrina Santoni, drawing a Darien timeout. The pause in play provided the Blue Wave little more than a simple breather, however, as Taben joined in the scoring fray just under the 20-minute mark.

"We got on the board early, which is what our gameplan was. But I was disappointed when there was a change of momentum and how we got very tense and let it get the best of us," Darien coach Mo Minicus said. "I think we focused too much on them scoring on us than saying 'OK, move on.' "

The 4-3 margin held through more than a dozen minutes of back-and-forth play, when Baker put the game out of reach on a score from in close.

"We had been practicing that (play) a lot, and I just went to the net and I knew I had to put the ball in," Baker said of her final goal. "Georgia had a really good cross, and I just had to put that goal in. We needed to be a little more reassured in our game."

Darien will return to the field Tuesday for a home game against Greenwich at 4:30 p.m. New Canaan will next travel to Stamford on Saturday at 10 a.m.

acallahan@bcnnew.com; @DNCSports

Darien 5, New Canaan 4

DARIEN 3 2--2

NEW CANAAN 0 3--2

Records: Darien--5-1, 4-0 FCIAC; New Canaan--3-2, 3-2 FCIAC.

Goals: D -- Marissa Baker 3, Olivia Hoyda, Kat Culliton. NC -- Meredith Heaney, Ellery Baran, Isabel Taben. Assists: D -- Georgia Cassidy 3, Rebecca DeMaio. NC -- Elizabeth Miller, Sanbrina Santoni, Taben Goalies: D -- Kaeleigh Morrill (6 saves). NC --Emily Conley (9), Sarah Klearman (2).