Underdog Fairfield Ludlowe got off to a fast start, taking a two-goal lead early in the game. But the top-seeded Darien Blue Wave girls lacrosse team dominated most of the rest of Friday afternoon's FCIAC tournament quarterfinal round matchup en route to a 19-6 triumph.
"We came back pretty quickly. I thought we moved the ball well through the midfield. I thought we finished our shots well," said Darien coach Lisa Lindley, whose team built a 13-2 halftime lead.
Ludlowe, the tourney's eighth seed, got three goals from Emily Demaso and one each off the sticks of Brittany Rosenfeld, Alison Gorab and Miranda Rosenfeld.
"We talked about, with today's game, setting the tone for the rest of the tournament and coming out strong, with intensity -- and I think we did," Lindley said.
The Falcons came into the game knowing they had their hands full against a team that lost only to a pair of New York schools and handed Ludlowe an 18-5 defeat on Tuesday.
"Darien's a strong program. They've got great players. We've got great players, too, though," Ludlowe coach Heather Lewsey said. "We knew what we needed to do and, we started that way in the first two minutes."
What the Falcons needed to do was possess the ball more, but Darien controlled the ball off a majority of the draws, leading to numerous scoring chances.
"When we do win the draw controls, we tend to make positive things happen," Lewsey said.
Ludlowe goaltender Sarah Chapdelaine faced 32 shots and stopped 13. Darien starting goaltender Kyra Gardner made six first-half stops before giving way to backup Samantha Nielsen, who made three saves before being relieved late in the game by Isabella Scribiano (two saves).
The Blue Wave (15-2) moved on with nice passing and hustle to get to loose balls. Lindley said she expects a tough game in the next round. The Falcons will have to wait for the state tournament action to get back into game play. They do have some positives to pull from the conference tourney setback.
"I think (in) the second half, we did some really good things. We had some great moments but couldn't put together a complete game today," said Lewsey, whose squad was outscored by only 6-4 after halftime. "I'm still proud of my squad. They never give up. We're a very resilient squad."
The Falcons (7-8-1) will have a chance to bounce back, and put their mettle to the test in the state playoffs. Darien, meanwhile, is one step closer to its third straight conference title.
Andy Hutchison is a freelance reporter