MILFORD — The result on the scoreboard was clear. The post-game celebration, the Gatorade bath for the coach and the Hollywood-style picture session with the championship plaque and the medals went off flawlessly.
The Darien High School girls lacrosse team completed its drive for five consecutive Class L state championships Saturday with a 13-10 victory over rival Wilton at Jonathan Law High School.
But make no mistake. It was a fight to the finish where the No. 4 seeded Blue Wave had to pull all sorts of new tricks from its bag to finally conquer No. 11 Wilton.
“I’m happy for our seniors. For them to win four FCIAC titles and four Class L crown in four years is pretty cool,” Darien coach Lisa Lindley said. “But the best way to explain my feelings is this. I’m happy we won another state title. But I’m disappointed in the sense that I always want all our players to play to the best of their ability in the biggest games. It is a bit of a letdown not to see us play a perfect game.”
When your program has captured nine state championships in 10 years dating back to 2007, the standards you are judged on are naturally higher.
And Wilton (13-7) only led the contest at 1-0.
While Darien (20-3) built a comfortable 10-4 halftime edge, the Blue Wave played the final 25 minutes like victory was a foregone conclusion — just like their 15-2 pasting of Wilton in the regular season.
Wilton, however, wasn’t willing to concede anything. . Sophomore goalie Bridgette Wall started the second half for the Warriors and was a spark with four saves.
“We made great adjustments at halftime. Darien is such a highly talented team, period, but we won the second half,” Wilton coach Meredith Meyran said. “At halftime we talked about winning each faceoff. Winning each ground ball. We just kept chipping away.”
With Julia Bonnist scoring two of her four goals and senior co-captain Rebecca Wistreich (four goals) adding a goal and an assist, Wilton closed to 11-9 with 16:57 to go.
But Darien wasn’t ready to release its grip on the Class L championship plaque.
Sophomore goalie Maggie Brooks entered and made two big saves to slow Wilton’s momentum.
Christine Fiore, who had a trio of first half goals, won two critical faceoffs. Junior Kendall Wisinski used her fresh legs to score with 12:39 to go for 12-9.
Darien’s quick strike attack slowed down to kill off a one-minute penalty and take three more minutes off the clock with ball control.
Wistreich brought Wilton to 12-10 with 2:49 left. But Katie Ramsay won a faceoff and Darien regained possession 10 seconds after a Wilton steal to finally slew the Warriors.
“Wilton played a great second half. We were not great on defense and we got into a panic situation,” Lindley said. “But we did what we needed to do when we needed it. Our change in net wasn’t about (senior) Carly Schoudel. I wanted a fresh goalie. I wanted to wake up our defense. I had confidence in Maggie Brooks and she responded (two big saves).”
WILTON 4 6—10
DARIEN 10 3—13
Scoring: W—Julia Bonnist 4 goals; Rebecca Wistreich 4g, 1 assist; Margaret Smith 1g, 1a; Sydney Brant 1a; Erika Bonnist 1g. D—Katie Ramsay 2 goals; Emma Jacques 2g, 2 assists; Ashley Humphrey 3g, 1a; Christine Fiore 3g; Nicole Humphrey 1g; Kendall Wisinski 1g, 1a; Anna Stein 2a; Maddie Joyce 1g. Goalies: W—Paige Brown (1st half, 4 saves), Bridgette Wall (2nd half, 4 saves). D—Carly Schoudel (2 saves), Maggie Brooks (final 18 minutes, 2 saves).
Records: Wilton 13-7 overall; Darien 20-3 overall.