DARIEN — When Anna Moorhead talked on Thursday about the Darien girls lacrosse team being under the radar at the beginning of the season, there was nary a raised eyebrow.
That should not have been the case. Are the Yankees ever under the radar? Manchester United?
Darien girls lacrosse? The most decorated team in the sport in state history?
Moorhead was not far off. Maybe the Blue Wave were not under the radar, but they certainly were not the lone target.
“It really motivated us,” Moorhead said. “I think people are noticing us again.”
Moorhead was speaking minutes after the Blue Wave’s impressive 20-10 domination of Greenwich. They, incredibly, led by 14 goals before the Cardinals, much better than they showed under first-year coach Caitlin Young, scored the final four goals.
Katie Cronin scored five goals, Moorhead and Mariah Matheis added four apiece and Chandler Kirby had a hat trick for the Blue Wave (7-2, 6-0 FCIAC).
“I was very pleased with the way they shot the ball,” Darien coach Lisa Lindley said. “They finally shot the ball the way they are capable of for the first time all season. They’ve never shown it. Today was the first time it all clicked.”
The Blue Wave are always a team in transition with regard to replacing great talent, but last year was seismic with the departure of one of the the best midfields in league history: Dillon Schoen, Emily Stein and Hollis Perticone.
Matheis said with the loss comes some benefits.
“They were great leaders and we are following up on all they taught us and so far it has worked out well,” Matheis said. “Sometimes you lose so many great players you have a lull. One of the great things about this team is I don’t think we’ve had a lull.”
Quite the contrary. There were losses to Garden City and Manhassett in the first four games, but Darien has rolled since, including a victory over Notre Dame (Mass.) Academy.
The win over Greenwich was the first tangible sign of the potential of the Blue Wave’s offense.
“I was very happy,” Lindley said. “I was a little disappointed in our defense, it was a little slow and we didn’t do well on our slides, but it didn’t kills us and we made an adjustment on our draw and that seemed to help us build the lead.”
Moorhead is one of the seniors accepting the scepter from the departed leaders from last year’s team that finished 21-2, with league and state titles.
“All season we’ve had the potential so it was nice to see it on the field today,” Moorhead said. “We have a really well-rounded offense.”
The FCIAC is as loaded as ever. Many people feel this is New Canaan’s year, with so many returning starters. Wilton is coming on after a slow start.
And, as Lindley said of Greenwich, “I’m anticipating seeing them again and it’s going to be closer.”
Lindley said there would be a transition period in April but that her team has progressed faster than expected.
“We are building momentum,” she said. “Each game we are gaining individual confidence. And we have a lot of weapons. You shut down one, another will step up and I’ve always thought that’s been the strength as a program.”
Matheis, a major contributor last season, thinks the team she is now leading is capable of the same achievements.
“I’m feeling really, really good about the team,” she said. “We lost a lot last year but have plenty coming in. I think we have been working on our chemistry and it is coming together well. If we keep working this team is capable of greatness.”