— GameTimeCT (@GameTimeCT) June 11, 2016
MILFORD – The Darien girls lacrosse machine rolled on Saturday morning, topping FCIAC rival Fairfield Warde 12-5 in the Class L final, the fourth straight state crown and 8th in 10 years for the top-seeded Blue Wave.
The graduating class for Darien never lost in postseason play, capturing four straight conference and state titles.
Despite the final score, possession was even for much of the contest and Darien finished with just a 23-19 shot advantage.
But while the Blue Wave was able to score on seven of its first eight shots, No. 6 Warde was stymied at the other end by Darien goaltender Carly Schoudel. She made five first-half saves, including one on a breakway by Warde sophomore Olivia Seymour just seconds into the game.
At the other end, it was senior leadership that paced Darien. Cal-bound Susannah Ropp scored three times in the first half, while Michigan-bound Chandler Kirby added a pair (with junior Laura Murphy scoring two as well).
The Blue Wave scored six times in the first 10 minutes of the game and led 9-2 at the half when Kaeliegh Morrill beat the buzzer.
Warde (14-6-1) scored the first two goals after the intermission to cut the advantage to 9-4. Ropp scored her fourth soon after. But Libby McKenna – just a sophomore – scored her fourth goal of the game to cut the Darien lead to 10-5 with 9:55 left.
Despite the Mustangs having plenty of the ball and battling until the end, the Blue Wave defense and Schoudel stood tall.
“Carly had some big saves and she stepped it up this season, four sure,” long-time Darien coach Lisa Lindley said. “We did what we had to do. Obviously, four states and four FCIACs is quite an accomplishment for this group of seniors and they should be extremely proud of themselves. There’s no drama.”
For the Mustangs, who were making their first CIAC title game appearance, Saturday’s result was disappointing, but wrapped up a magical season for a program that was 2-14 just four years ago.
“Every year we’ve progressed. We’ve gotten better players. We have a youth program now. It’s amazing how far we’ve come,” Fairfield Warde coach Tom Davis said. “The kids have put a lot of time in and it’s shown.”
Ropp finished with four goals, Murphy three, and Kirby and Morrill two each for Darien, who did not lose a game to Connecticut competition this season.
Saturday’s result marked the third closest game it had in-state all season. After dominating rival New Canaan in the regular season, the Blue Wave needed overtime to beat them two weeks ago in the FCIAC final.
“Looking back on all the years, all the championships were different,” Ropp said. “This one felt really special because all the seniors contributed. We really wanted to go out with a bang and we did.”
Darien 12, Fairfield Warde 5
Warde 2 0 — 5
Darien 9 0 — 12
Goals: (DR) Susannah Ropp 4; Laura Murphy 3; Kaeleigh Morrill 2; Chandler Kirby 2; Katherine Cronin 1; (FW) Libby McKenna 4; Olivia Seymour 1;
Assists: (DR) (DR) Susannah Ropp 1;
Saves: (DR) Carly Schoudel 6; Ellie Taney 1; (FW) Rebekah Snitkoff 5;
Shots—FW: 12; DR: 17;
Team records—Darien 15-4-1; Fairfield Warde 17-2-1