NEW CANAAN — When asked to discuss her six-goal performance tonight, New Canaan’s Jane Charlton was slightly incredulous, thinking her output was somewhat lower.
Wilton wishes that was the case.
Charlton scored three minutes apart to start the second half, igniting a run of eight straight goals as the Rams overcame a 5-3 halftime deficit and rolled to an 11-6 home win over the Warriors.
“I think after halftime, after having a little break to calm down and cool our heads we were able to refocus and go back to the fundamentals and finally click as we normally do as a team,” said Charlton, who added two assists. “First half we were very flustered. We expected them to come out hard, we expected to come out hard and we weren’t cohesive maybe. They were very loud and enthusiastic and they always are so we should have expected it.”
New Canaan and Wilton were two of the four remaining teams unbeaten in conference play. The Rams are 9-2 over all heading into the biggest game of the regular season, at home Saturday against Darien.
Kendall Patten scored twice for New Canaan, while goaltender Caroline O’Dea stopped eight shots.
“We did a much better job possessing,” New Canaan coach Kristin Woods said. “I also talked to them at halftime about shot selection. Going back to basics, not forcing weak shots. They did a good job executing. I have to give it to Wilton. They had an exceptional first half and came to play. We definitely learned from both halves what our intensity needs to be for the whole game.”
The Warriors (7-3) played with a lead most of the first half, going out in front 1-0, 2-1 and ultimately taking a 5-3 lead at the break.
“We were taking care of the ball and making sure we were making very good decisions,” Wilton coach Meredith Meyran said. “Then we had turnovers. We lost our composure. And New Canaan did a great job. We got a little complacent and I think that really hurt us in the second half.”
Charlton’s fifth goal was the most spectacular as she maneuvered in front of the goal and took what looked like a hard golf putt.
“It definitely helps when Jane goes into beast mode, goes on fire,” Woods said. “She did very well today. She’s played very well. She just goes 110 percent at all times and that’s what I love about her.”
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The Rams also did a better job on draws and thus dominated time of possession. And their zone defense was more assertive blocking off paths to the net.
“The second half we decided to really focus and get after it and play our game and it was amazing,” Woods said. “We did switch the defense to a zone in the second half. We were playing it in the first half. They were just playing a little more intense. I think it was a few things. Intensity and basics. Instead of going for the swing, play body.”
The Warriors were held scoreless in the second half until Sophie Sudano scored with 3:23 remaining.
Sudano and Julia Skillin each scored twice for Wilton.
“I’m proud of the girls’ effort,” Meyran said. “They left it all out there. There’s a lot of stuff you can’t control and a lot of stuff that you can. We need to focus on what you can.”
The last time New Canaan and Darien met was 10 months ago in the state semifinals. The Rams ended their rival’s 107 in-state win streak and went on to capture the state title.
“We’ve got all Darien from here on out,” Woods said. “I haven’t thought about it. It will be a good rematch, bring back another great rivalry. Every year we play Darien two or three times and it’s always a battle. So it should be fun on Saturday.”
Added Charlton, “We have a lot of practice time until then so we’re going to be working on offense, defense as much as we can. Everything.”