GREENWICH — Gorgeous. Text book. Picture perfect.
Those were a few of the terms Darien field hockey coach Mo Minicus used to describe Sarah Bogdan’s tip-in goal off a shot from Brinsley Rushe late in the third quarter of the Blue Wave’s 2-0 victory over Greenwich at Cardinal Stadium on Friday.
The goal was a definitive moment for Darien, as it looks to end this abbreviated season on a high note.
“That’s what you practice,” Minicus said with a smile. “We’re always talking about framing the cage, getting the tips, and getting your stick in there. Just get the ball in the circle and see what happens. Brinsley hit a really beautiful insert and Sarah was right there for the tip.”
Darien (7-0-0-1) has been rolling through opponents of late, pushing its winning streak to seven games during which they hold a crazy 46-1 advantage in goals.
Greenwich (4-3-1-0) played well in the loss, receiving a huge effort from goalie Jorja Pastore (7 saves), but has been unable to score against the Blue Wave in two meetings this fall.
“Darien is a super aggressive team, they stay low, and they’re explosive,” Greenwich coach Megan Wax said. “At halftime, we talked about picking it up to our speed, making sure we stayed nice and low like they are, and knowing that the second you get the ball, you’re going to have someone in blue right on you.”
Darien grabbed the lead in final minute of the first quarter when Kaci Benoit slammed in a pass from Maddy Hult during a penalty corner.
The score remained there until late in the third, when Rushe fired the ball in from the top of the circle, and Bogdan was in the perfect spot for the tip to make it 2-0.
“We work on shots all the time in practice, and when I’m at the top of the circle, I just want to look to my teammates. They’re always there,” Rushe said. “We really wanted to focus on connecting, so we stepped it up, connected, and worked well together.”
Outside of those two goals, Greenwich kept the Wave in check with solid play from the defense, led by seniors Charlotte Gans and Guadalupe Balaguer. Pastore stole the show at times, making several diving stops to keep the game within reach.
“Jorja is awesome,” Wax said. “She’s been our goalie for the last two years and we feel incredibly safe with her having our backs all the time. She’s incredibly athletic and has a great game IQ, and she’s very skilled too. A lot of plays come down to her making unbelievable plays for us.”
The Blue Wave’s defense had its sixth shutout in seven games with a rotating lineup that included goalie Grace La Du (2 saves), along with Riana Johns, Rushe, Hult and Lindsey Olsen.
“We keep changing things around and keep changing people,” Minicus said. “I feel like sometimes our starting lineup is never set in stone because we’re still trying to tweak things.”
Each team has two games remaining in the regular season and then a possible FCIAC West Division tournament. It’s a much different scenario, but the coaches and players aren’t complaining.
“We just feel so grateful,” Minicus said. “Honestly, we really do play every day for the next day. You never know when it’s going to end. Play for the moment and just be grateful to be out here, be together, playing the sport they love. But we’re also gunning for the season and making the most of what we have.”
“Our theme this whole season has been to live in the moment because we don’t know what’s going to happen with everything going on in the world right now,” Wax said. “So we try every single day to be present, give 100% mentally and physically, and keep striving for a better tomorrow in everything we do.”