DARIEN — New Canaan was ranked No. 1 in the first Connecticut girls lacrosse coaches poll for 2021, which was released earlier Monday.
It looks like the Rams plan on staying there for a while.
Kaleigh Harden scored on a free position 2:45 into overtime to give New Canaan a 10-9 victory over No. 2 Darien Monday at Darien High School.
It was the Rams’ seventh win in 12 days and second in as many tries against the Blue Wave.
New Canaan coach Kristin Woods said the Rams (7-0) practiced free positions on Sunday. That work paid off, according to Harden.
— Dave Stewart (@DStewartSports) May 3, 2021
“Our team worked so hard for this win, so I knew I had to get it into the back of the net,” Harden said. “There was a little more pressure, but you can’t let it get into your head. You’ve just got to shoot to score. Think of it as a normal free position that you always work on.”
Darien coach Lisa Lindley said there were more positives for her Blue Wave (6-2) than in the rivals’ first meeting
“That could’ve gone either way,” Lindley said. “Unfortunately at the end, we were fatigued. The ball was on defense a lot and we couldn’t come up with a ground ball, which killed us all game. But we played a much better game than the first time we saw them.”
New Canaan had a multi-goal performance from Dillyn Patten, who scored twice, and Darien had a hat trick from Ryan Hapgood and a pair of goals from Ceci Stein.
Outside of a brief five-minute span at the beginning of the second half when Darien led 4-2, the rivals were never separated by more than one goal.
Harden scored consecutive goals a minute apart to tie the score at 4, and Patten netted one with an assist from Quinn McKiernan to put the Rams ahead at 5-4 with 17:03 remaining.
For the rest of regulation, the Wave and Rams traded goals, with New Canaan edging in front and Darien tying it four times. Darien’s Sadie Stafford scored the final goal in regulation with 1:55 on the clock.
In overtime, the Wave had possession, but the Rams defense came up with a stop and reversed the field, leading to Harden’s free position.
“These kids are a great group of athletes and competitors,” Woods said. “When it comes down to it, these kids love to compete and having (the season) taken away from them last year has really lit a fire under them.”
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Kaleigh Harden, New Canaan: The junior had a hat trick, including the winner in overtime. Plus her two goals in the second half erased a 4-2 deficit and the Rams did not trail again.
“We’ve just really had a lot of games. We take everything day by day, and when we do have practice, we work hard and work on the little things.” — Harden on the Rams’ playing seven games in 12 days.