Many spectators and players were expecting a bruising, multiple overtime epic in Friday's game between the Wilton and Darien High School girls lacrosse teams, given the recent history between the teams. Instead, Wilton dominated to win the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference crown.
The Warriors were far and away the better team Friday, led by their core trio of sophomores, Casey Pearsall (four goals), Tegan Helms (three goals) and Megan Boepple (one goal, three assists). Darien tried to isolate Pearsall, but she kept finding holes to attack the Blue Wave. Wilton built a six-goal lead late in the second half that was too much for Darien to overcome. The Warriors hung on to win, 15-12, to defend their FCIAC championship under first-year head coach Caitlin Jackson.
"You can never quit playing against a team like Darien, so we just kept playing together," Pearsall said. "Our second half push just came from digging deep and finding it within ourselves."
Pearsall, Boepple, Helms and Christie Huidekoper were interchangeable cogs, each stepping up to attack. When Darien focused too much on Pearsall, Helms would find the net. If Boepple got too much attention, Huidekoper found a seam to score.
That was how Wilton kept the drama low in a rivalry that has brought blood pressure levels to the boiling point in previous meetings. Even when Darien knotted the game at seven early in the second half, Wilton still looked in control.
Pearsall was closely guarded about 20 yards from the goal when she yelled for Shannon Quinlan to set a pick for her. That small distraction was all she needed to tear through the Darien defense and give Wilton the lead for good.
The Warriors outscored Darien 7-1 over the next 10 minutes, and the aforementioned quartet scored six of those seven goals. Darien made things interesting, scoring three times in the final two minutes. But Wilton's lead was too much to overcome.
"Casey, Tegan and I are all great friends, and I think that connection really helps on the field," Boepple said of the core trio. "We have a great group of girls out here that are willing to give it all we've got."
The win is Wilton's fifth FCIAC title in school history and third in four years. The Warriors will try for more hardware as the top-ranked team in the Class M state tournament . They host 16-seeded Bethel on Thursday, June 2.
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