Wilton edges Darien in early showdown
For Madison Hendry, all that practice made for the perfect penalty stroke.
The junior scored the game's only goal with 16:47 remaining in the second half, lifting Wilton to a hard-fought 1-0 victory over rival Darien in an early-season FCIAC field hockey showdown Wednesday afternoon that was live-streamed on MSGVarsity.com.
Hendry's penalty stroke was set up by a high stick on the Blue Wave. Moments later, Hendry converted on a shot to the low right corner.
"I've probably practiced penalty strokes 1,000 times," Hendry said. "I knew that even if I missed the goal, my teammates would be there. We were psyched all day for this game. The goal now is to keep getting better, so hopefully we can beat them again in the playoffs."
It was the third straight shutout to open the season for the Warriors (3-0), who knocked off the perennial powerhouse Blue Wave in overtime of last year's Class M semifinal contest en route to a state title.
Darien (2-1) dictated the pace early on and finished with a 13-8 edge in shots.
But the Blue Wave were unable to get the ball past junior goalie Lizette Roman-Johnston, who made 12 key saves.
The Warriors nearly broke the scoreless tie 10 minutes into the second half, but a rebound attempt by Kailey Zengo was ruled a no-goal although it appeared to cross the goal line.
About three minutes later, Hendry left no doubt.
"In the second half we changed formations and learned from our mistakes," Wilton coach Deidre Hynes said. "The girls were calm, cool and collected. I thought we did a tremendous job in the second half, they really stepped up."
It was the first regular season loss in nearly four years for the Blue Wave, who got seven saves from junior Danica Hornick.
The teams finished with eight penalty corners apiece.