Along the fence at Virginia Parker Field at Staples High School, there’s a “Staples Field Hockey” banner with a picture of the Wreckers celebrating a big victory. It just so happens that the picture is from Staples’ victory over Darien in the FCIAC tournament a year ago. The win snapped an 82-game winning streak for the Blue Wave.
With the banner looming in the background, Darien exacted its revenge reversing the score from 2011 with a 1-0 victory over Staples.
“The game last year was definitely on our minds coming in here,” Sloane Bessey said. “I mean they have that very nice sign over there reminding us, so it was definitely something we were thinking about.”
Bessey scored the game’s lone goal with 5:17 left in the first half on a broken play.
“I was expecting the ball to get deflected in front of the net,” Bessey said. “Nobody got to it and it just slipped in there I guess.”
Staples had just a few scoring opportunities due to a dominant defense, midfield, and offensive possession. Goalie Danika Hornick turned away four shots including a diving save in the first half. It was the first shot Staples had in the game.
“Danika is amazing back there and always has her head in the game,” Bessey said. “She’s constantly communicating and helping us out so there’s never a time when she isn’t ready even if the shots aren’t coming.”
Staples’ freshman goalie Molly Barreca was superb in a losing effort. She finished with 13 saves and kept the potential second goal out of the net in the frenetic final minutes.
Darien kept the pressure on throughout the second half and earned six of its eight penalty corners in the final ten minutes of the game. Hollis Perticone controlled the tempo and offense for the Blue Wave. She was responsible for the penalty corners and hassled Staples defenders whenever they managed to take possession.
“We wanted this win because we dominated them last year and we lost,” Bessey said. “So a second goal would’ve been nice.”
The victory puts Darien’s new winning streak at 13 games heading into the FCIAC tournament.
“It’s great to finish strong with a win,” Bessey said. “We can’t rest though because as we know from last year, it’s always about your next game.”
Darien lost a second game in 2011 after the Staples loss. It was in the Class M semifinals to Wilton, the undefeated leader of the FCIAC right now.
“Beating Staples is nice, we’re glad to get that out of the way,” Bessey said. “We’d like to get Wilton back, but we have important games before then too.”
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