Darien and Greenwich girls soccer teams play to scoreless tie in regular season finale
DARIEN -- Mother Nature threw a little bit of everything at the Greenwich and Darien girls soccer teams in their regular season finale on Thursday, which ended in a 0-0 draw.
The Cardinals and Blue Wave were dealt a combination of sleet, howling winds, a glaring sunlight with occasional spurts of warmth and even a rainbow.
With the FCIAC tournament beginning on Saturday for the Blue Wave, the random nature of the weather on Senior Day has them prepared for anything.
"We came out here with Senior Day and everybody was pretty hyped up. I don't think we really played our game; we did a lot of kick and run, but our spirits aren't dampered at all going into this tournament," Kelly Karczewski said. "I love the cold. I think it heightens the tension. I love that stuff."
As for the game itself, scoring opportunities were kept relatively in check for both sides, and Darien goalie Kellyn Berrigan (four saves) and Greenwich netminder Kylie Ginsberg (10 saves) notched dueling shutouts.
Julia Black, one of Darien's senior captains who has been out all season due to injury, was penciled into the starting lineup by coach Leigh Parsons to take the opening kickoff. Parsons removed her a few seconds later when the ball went out of play.
"It was a nice little gesture to get all of our senior captains out there," Parsons said. "She's been such big part of the program and dearly missed this year."
Greenwich's Victoria Galbier and Liz Warner created some chances in the second half, though none of the Cardinals shots ever seemed destined for the back of the net.
"It's a story of our season; of the eight (FCIAC playoff teams), we've tied four of them and lost to three of them by a goal," Greenwich coach Danny Simpson said. "Credit to the girls. We played some hard-nosed football today in cold conditions with wind, rain, sun and everything."
Late in the second half, Darien managed three shots in the span of just a minute, set up by a pair of corner kicks by Dillon Schoen. Off the first corner, Darien's Sage Thacher struck a header to the left side of the net, but Ginsberg stretched out for the save. On the second, Alexa Sheldon managed a shot for Darien but was also stopped.
As a result of the tie, Darien is guaranteed a home game to start the FCIAC playoffs and could finish as high as the No. 2 seed or as low as the No. 4 seed. The Blue Wave play in the tournament quarterfinals on Saturday, tentatively scheduled for 4 p.m.
"We started a bit flat on a chilly day. It's a tough one. To give Greenwich their credit, they defended really well, they worked hard all 80 minutes," Parsons said. "I think we've got to come focused and work hard, but there's still things in that game you can take out and be happy about."
Prior to the start of play on Thursday, the Cardinals had already been eliminated from FCIAC playoff contention, though they were also guaranteed a spot in the state tournament.
"I think it's a good way to end our season. I think (the break before states) is probably going to be good for us," Greenwich captain Caroline Markowitz said. "In the past, we've always done well in FCIACs and struggled in states. I think this time it'll give us time to focus on things we need to improve on, get our fitness back up and be fresh and ready to go."
GREENWICH 0, DARIEN 0
GREENWICH 0 0--0
DARIEN 0 0--0
Records: Greenwich 6-6-4; Darien 10-3-3. Goalies: G--Kylie Ginsberg (10 saves); D--Kellyn Berrigan (4) Shots: G--5; D--15.