Darien's girls lacrosse team remained undefeated against state opponents Thursday afternoon with a 15-6 victory over one of the FCIAC's up-and-coming teams, Warde, at Tetreau/Davis Field in Fairfield.
The host Mustangs, who scored the game's first two goals, lost for the second time since April 22. The Blue Wave scored 11 consecutive goals.
Emily Stein gave Darien a 3-2 lead almost 15 minutes into the first half, and finished with a game-high five goals and one assist. Hollis Perticone added two goals and three assists as the Blue Wave improved to 13-2 overall and 11-0 in the FCIAC.
Warde, which received two goals each from Amanda Orvis, Sarah Reilly and Hannah Dougherty, dropped to 10-3-1 overall and 7-3-1 in the conference. Reilly and Orvis each fired home their first goals of the game in the opening five minutes.
Against Greenwich on May 5, the Mustangs' defense forced the Cardinals to make an adjustment. Mustangs' coach Tom Davis saw a replay of sorts with Darien responding to Warde's stingy defense at first.
"We scored early in the game and late in the game and in the middle they scored," Davis said. "They adjusted to what our defense was doing, and they attacked it. I thought we threw some good things at them both offensively and defensively. Once they start rolling, anyone's in trouble.
"They're No. 1 in the state. They're big, they're strong, they're fast."
The Blue Wave got in gear with crisp ball movement and by outracing the Mustangs up and down the field. Its transition game was devastating. Darien's advantage in getting free balls led to more possession time. Some of the 11 straight goals were almost unchallenged; others showed the resourcefulness that has led the Blue Wave to being a state championship favorite.
"We have a problem recently of coming out of the gate flat," said Darien coach Lisa Lindley. "I don't understand why we do that. We've done that the last three games.
"I'm not concerned with our ability to score goals. When we possess the ball and get opportunities, we can convert."
Darien was successful at drawing Warde into infractions that resulted in free positions. The Blue Wave converted on four of those chances. But Warde goalie Rebekah Snitkoff, who has been reliable if not spectacular all season, stopped several of them. She recorded 11 saves.
Davis said Snitkoff's goaltending prevented the final margin from becoming more one-sided.
"We ran with them for awhile," Davis said. "We didn't mix up our shots high and low."
Lindley noted the Mustangs' improvement.
"On offense, they possessed the ball and worked it around for quality shots," Lindley said.
firstname.lastname@example.org; 203-337-4879; twitter.com/ReidWalmark
DARIEN 8 7--15
WARDE 3 3--6
Records: Darien 13-2, 11-0 FCIAC; Warde 10-3-1, 7-3-1 FCIAC. Scoring: D--Emily Stein 5 goals, 1 assist, Hollis Perticone (2g, 3a), Dillon Schoen (2g), Gabriella Noto (2g), Mariah Matheis (2g), Caroline Benitez (1g), Katherine Cronin (1g), Susie Ropp (1a); W--Amanda Orvis (2g, 1a), Sarah Reilly (2g), Hannah Dougherty (2g). Goalies: D--Kyra Gardner (4 saves), Sammy Neilsen (1); W--Rebekah Snitkoff (11). Shots: D--26; W--11.