DARIEN — With just under nine minutes left in today’s New Canaan-Darien girls lacrosse showdown, the Rams seized momentum with consecutive goals, cutting what had been a 7-4 Blue Wave advantage to 7-6.
Enter Katie Ramsay.
Darien’s 6-foot faceoff specialist dominated the draw throughout the homestretch, leading to six unanswered scores as the Wave cruised to a 13-6 win at home over their arch-rival.
“It feels great, especially since it’s my senior season and maybe the last time we play New Canaan,” Ramsay said. “This really meant a lot to the seniors and everyone knew it from the freshmen on up that we are playing together and as a whole. It was really important to get this win.”
In addition to her draw control success, Ramsay was also a force in the scorebook as the senior co-captain racked up three goals. Sophomore Ashley Humphrey also added a hat trick along with an assist and fellow sophomore Sarah Jaques had two scores for the Blue Wave, who improved to 7-0 in the FCIAC and 10-1 over all. New Canaan, which entered the game as the only other undefeated team in conference play, fell to 6-1 in the FCIAC and 7-2 over all.
“Ramsay was the difference on the draw,” Darien coach Lisa Lindley said. “She did a very good job.”
For 41 minutes the Rams were step-in-step with Darien, utilizing a strong defensive effort to keep the game close. New Canaan goalie Caroline O’Dea made several tough saves off point-blank shots on goal, while seniors Julia Ozimek and Leigh Charlton, along with junior Caroline Schuh and sophomore Natalie Lopez, constantly hounded Darien’s front line.
“Our defense executed everything we worked on throughout this week at practice,” New Canaan coach Kristin Woods said. “I could not be more proud of all of our defenders —midfield, our low D’s and Caroline O’Dea. Offensively, we struggled in the first half and that hurt us.”
Both teams started slow offensively, as the game remained scoreless for nearly 10 minutes after the opening faceoff. Ashley Humphrey finally broke the ice with a goal off a feed from her sister Nicole for a 1-0 Wave lead with 15:27 left in the half.
Less than five minutes later Jaques scored the first of her two goals, extending the Darien lead to 2-0.
New Canaan answered back as senior co-captain Braeden Dial put home a shot with 1:32 remaining to cut the Darien lead to 2-1.
Humphrey countered with just seven seconds left in the half with an unassisted goal, putting the Wave up 3-1 heading into the intermission.
New Canaan grabbed momentum early in the second half. Senior co-captain Karlie Bucci fed junior Campbell Connors for a goal at the 23:36 mark, getting the Rams back to within a goal at 3-2.
A yellow card on Jaques gave New Canaan a two-minute player advantage and New Canaan took advantage. Dial slipped through the Blue Wave defense to score unassisted and knot the game at 3-3 with 20:09 left to play.
Almost immediately after re-entering the game as her penalty expired, Jaques came from behind New Canaan’s net and fired a shot past O’Dea for a goal and a 4-3 Darien lead.
Connors countered with a score for the Rams, beating Darien goalie Maddie Brooks up high to tie the game at 4-4 with 18:43 remaining.
Darien then scored the next three goals, thanks in large part to the play of Ramsay, who started the run with a remarkable juke of two New Canaan defenders before hitting the back of a net with her first score of the game to make it 5-4.
After Ramsay won the ensuing draw, Darien senior co-captain Emma Jaques’ shot caromed off O’Dea’s stick into the goal for a 6-4 advantage with 16:26 left in the game. Two minutes later Christine Fiore — off a perfect pass from Humphrey — completed the trifecta with a score and a 7-4 Darien lead.
New Canaan answered once again, as goals from junior Lauren Bisceglia and Bucci pulled the Rams to within one, trailing 7-6 with 8:56 on the clock.
Then Ramsay took over, and there was no stopping Darien.
The Wave dominated draws and — as a result — possession for the balance of the game.
Maddie Joyce started the onslaught with an unassisted goal at the 8:19 mark, putting Darien back up by two, 8-6 with 8:19 left. Ashley Humphrey was next, taking another pass from sister Nicole to extend Darien’s lead to 9-6. Then it was Nicole Humphrey’s turn to score off an assist from Kendall Wisinski as the Wave went up 10-6.
Two scores from Ramsay sandwiched a goal by Wisinski to cap off the scoring for Darien.
With the win, the Wave sent a message to the rest of the FCIAC they could handle adversity, rebounding from a tough 13-12 loss against Manhassett, earlier this week. And with 10 different players landing in the scoring column against New Canaan, they also showcased a depth of talent that is unparalleled in the conference.
“In our system everyone has to contribute — it’s not a star system,” Lindley said. “Today was indicative of that. At any moment I have 10 players who can score. That’s why we’re successful.”