DARIEN — With the lacrosse postseason on the horizon, Darien’s girls team finds itself in a familiar situation at this point of the season — undefeated in FCIAC play.
Unbeaten in its first seven conference games heading into Tuesday’s showdown against visiting Greenwich, the Blue Wave kept their impressive trend going, showcasing all its strengths in the process.
Junior attack Sarah Jacques scored a game-high six goals, while junior attack Ashley Humphrey recorded a hat trick for Darien, which tallied 12 times in the first half on its way to registering a decisive 21-8 triumph over FCIAC foe Greenwich.
The Blue Wave are 11-2 overall and 8-0 in the FCIAC with two conference games remaining. Coach Lisa Lindley’s squad has captured the FCIAC title the past seven seasons.
“We are really looking forward to the postseason,” Jacques said. “Our team has the mindset of wanting to be the first seed in the FCIAC Tournament and be highly ranked at states.”
Senior attack Shea van den Broek, freshman midfielder/attack Molly McGuckin, senior midfielder/defender Charlotte Wittstock, Jordan Vaught (junior) and Maddie Joyce (junior) each tallied twice for Darien. The Blue Wave displayed their scoring options throughout, while playing stellar defense.
“Moving the ball and playing a team offense, that’s what we focused on doing,” Jacques said. “We tried to find the open girl and make every goal have an assist, which I think really helped us. It kept Greenwich’s defense honest and always moving.”
The Cardinals’ record stands at 6-7 overall following the loss and 4-3 in the conference. Greenwich must win two out of its three remaining matchups to qualify for the CIAC Class L Tournament.
Senior attack Paige Finneran scored a team-high four goals to pace Greenwich, which showed more rhythm to its offense in the second half.
“We looked to make the most out of each possession,” GHS coach Rachel Vallarelli said. “We needed more goals overall, but I am proud of our effort. Credit it to Lisa (Lindley), she is a great coach. They are well disciplined, they have multiple threats and they play well as a unit.”
Jacques got the scoring going for Darien, putting a free position shot past GHS senior goalie Sloane Loveless 1:36 into the first half. Vaught scored from close in off a dodge, then Wittstock tallied off a pass from behind by van den Broek, making it 3-0 at the 15:23 mark.
Greenwich closed to within 3-2 on a pair of goals from Finneran, the second of which came off a pass from junior Leah Caputo.
Joyce converted a shot, Humphrey scored off a free position attempt and the Blue Wave made another 8-meter shot, padding their advantage to 8-2. After Finneran dodged and scored, the Blue Wave ended the opening half with a 6-0 run to take a 12-3 lead. Jacques and van den Broek led the charge for the home team.
Meanwhile, the Blue Wave were sound defensively in front of freshman goalie Shea Dolce. She made five first-half saves and finished with eight overall.
“It starts with our offense and having strong attackers, who create momentum,” Dolce said. “That pumps everyone else and when the other team gets the ball, our defense is really strong and focused.”
Dolce made several saves off shots from close range and stopped a pair of 8-meter attempts.
“Being a goalie is mostly mental,” Dolce said. “It is about focusing and concentrating. Our defense is very strong. We were switching between man and zone and our defense can play well while switching to anything.”
Greenwich’s best moments came early in the second half, as it pulled to within 13-6 on back-to-back tallies from Caputo. Senior attack/midfielder Grace Fahey and sophomore Delaney Roth added one goal apiece for the Cardinals, who received six saves from Loveless. Fahey helped GHS at the faceoff circle, while Maggie Ramsey and McGuckin ignited the Blue Wave.
“We did really well on the draw and everyone that was in the circle did well today and stepped up,” Vallarelli said. “It was a challenge today, but we enjoyed it.”
PLAYER OF THE GAME
The recipient of on-target passes, Jacques helped Darien gain an early lead.
“She is a goal-scorer, you can always count on her to put the ball in the back of the net,” Lindley said. “I need six other kids to do the same as her. Because if someone shuts her down, who is scoring?”
Humphrey dished out five assists to go along with her three goals
“Greenwich always comes out really hard against us, so it was really important to come out strong,” Wittstock said. “Defensively, we knew it was important to come out strong and we did. Last year, we won the FCIAC title, but unfortunately, we couldn’t win a state championship. We hope to win both of those this year.”
Darien hosts Westhill, then visits Wilton on Friday. Greenwich visits Brien McMahon Thursday and New Canaan on Saturday.
“Wilton is going to be a test,” Lindley said. “We’ll know where we stand at this point of the season when we play them.”
DARIEN 21, GREENWICH 8
GREENWICH 3 5 – 8
DARIEN 12 9 – 21
Scoring: G – Paige Finneran 4 g; Leah Caputo 2 g, 2 a; Gracey Fahey 1 g; Delaney Roth 1 g; Olivia Caan 1 a; D – Ashley Humphrey 3 g, 6 a; Ashley Jacques 6 g, 1 a; Shea van den Broek 2 g, 2 a; Molly McGuckin 2 g; Charlotte Wittstock 2 g; Jordan Vaught 2 g; Maddie Joyce 2 g; Kathleen Arrix 1 g, 1 a; Goalies: G – Sloane Loveless (6 saves); D – Shea Dolce (8 saves).