Darien field hockey shuts out Staples
WESTPORT — The Darien field hockey team hadn’t had too many close calls in its perfect start to the season. Staples provided a test to the unblemished record on Friday afternoon, but the Blue Wave eventually showed their class to pull away.
A goal off a penalty corner from Georgia Cassidy with 23:36 left in the game broke a scoreless tie, and Darien would go on to win 3-0 behind a hat trick from the senior star to improve to 8-0 this fall.
“I thought Staples played us well,” Darien coach Mo Minicus said. “They had a nice plan defensively to hold us out; I thought (Staples goalie Jodie Baris) kept them in the first half. We stayed with it and varied our shots.”
The favorites to win the FCIAC and state title were a little slow out of the blocks, but Cassidy’s goal came right before a 30-minute delay for lightning. Following the break, Darien hit its top gear and scored twice in a five minute stretch to seal the win.
“We knew we had to attack before the storm came; I’m glad we finished the whole game so there were no questions about the outcome,” Minicus said. “I’m proud of how my team played in those last 23 minutes.”
Staples had a chance with a penalty corner midway through the second half, but didn’t score. Less than 15 seconds later, the ball was in the back of the Wreckers cage as Cassidy converted a counter attack with a perfect sweeping shot.
“We were finally settling in and playing the ball how we’re supposed to move it,” Minicus said.
Cassidy would get her third on a penalty stroke with 8:51 left in the game.
The Blue Wave defense comfortably cleared out several Staples (4-4-1) penalty corners for their sixth shutout of the season.
The Wreckers hung tough in the first half, doing a sound job of defending the Blue Wave attack with simple clearances and few errors. Staples has dropped four straight games without scoring a goal.
“We’ve mastered playing our own third and the middle third; we’ve got to do a lot of work in the attacking third,” Wreckers coach Ian Tapsall said. “That’s something we really have to work on; we get panicked a little bit and they’re overplaying it.”
Tapsall was pleased with his team’s performance against such a strong opposition; which included adding an extra defender to the backline to try to cope with Darien‘s potent attack.
“I thought our girls played superbly,” Tapsall said. “We knew we were going to have to be defensive so we changed the system up. Had it not been for a couple lapses we would have made it a lot more difficult for them.”
DARIEN 3, STAPLES 0
DARIEN 0 3—3
STAPLES 0 0—0
Records: Darien (8-0), Staples (4-4-1).
Goals: D—Georgia Cassidy 3; Goalies: D—Kaeleigh Morrill (0 saves); S—Jodie Baris (16 saves). Shots: D—23. S—1.