Darien’s perfect record highlights FCIAC girls lacrosse season

The greatest season ever for the great Darien High School powerhouse program headlined another successful girls’ lacrosse season which included very good years from several more FCIAC teams.

If any girls’ lacrosse player, coach or afficionado in the past or present were to claim that the 2023 edition of the Blue Wave was the best team ever in state history, one would certainly have a plausible argument to state that claim.

Though it is always subjective as to determining such a thing, given the several variables such has comparing teams from different years and different eras, etc., coach Lisa Lindley’s Blue Wave could not have been any more successful and impressive than it was this year.

This was the No. 1 team in the country in every poll from the preseason to the final poll in the USA Lacrosse Magazine Nike/USA Lacrosse National Top 25. Darien also finished No. 1 in the nation in the Final Inside Lacrosse Girls’ Top 25 High School Power Rankings.

The Blue Wave sealed those national No. 1 rankings by finishing with an undefeated 22-0 season with conference and state championships and being ranked No. 1 in the final state coaches’ poll.

No, a high school girls lacrosse team cannot accomplish anything more than what the 2023 Blue Wave did.

And, for good measure, USA Lacrosse Magazine announced in late June that University of North Carolina-bound Chloe Humphrey was selected the USA Lacrosse High School Girls’ Player of the Year.

New Canaan’s 18-4 Rams had a very good year in advancing to FCIAC and state tournament championship games before losing to Darien and was ranked No. 2 behind top-ranked Darien in the Final 2023 Girls Lacrosse Coaches State Poll.

Coach Kristin Woods’ defending state champion Rams put forth an excellent challenge to give Darien a legitimate upset scare in the championship game of the 2023 Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference Class L Girls Lacrosse Tournament. In a rematch of last year’s state Class L final won by New Canaan, 14-13, both rivals had another see-saw battle and were tied up at 13-13 with less than two minutes to play. Humphrey fired in her 209th and final career goal with 1:16 remaining for the game-winner which secured Darien’s first unbeaten season ever.

The FCIAC had all four teams in the CIAC Class L tournament semifinal round.

New Canaan defeated Wilton, 10-7, in the semifinals while Darien advanced to the final with a 15-5 victory over Greenwich.

Humphrey had four goals and an assist, Sadie Stafford scored three goals, and Kelly Holmes had two goals and an assist while helping lead Darien to that 14-13 victory in the state championship. Maddie Tully scored five goals and Devon Russell netted four goals to lead New Canaan.

Humphrey racked up 289 career points, including her 80 assists. She had 103 goals and 38 assists as a senior to follow up on her excellent junior year in which she had 76 goals and 32 assists.

Humphrey scored six goals and Holmes had three goals and an assist to lead Darien to an 11-7 victory New Canaan in the 2023 FCIAC Girls Lacrosse Tournament final. Darien cruised to a 16-2 victory over Greenwich and New Canaan nipped Wilton, 10-9, in the semifinals.

In the conference tournament quarterfinals: top-seeded Darien defeated eighth-seeded Stamford, 19-1; second-seeded New Canaan beat seventh-seeded Fairfield Ludlowe, 14-3; No. 3 Wilton posted a 17-3 victory over No. 6 Staples; and No. 4 Greenwich nipped No. 5 Ridgefield, 13-12.

The perennial strength of FCIAC girls’ lacrosse is evident yet again by the fact that the conference had all five teams in the upper half of the final coaches’ state poll as Darien and New Canaan were followed by No. 3 Wilton (15-4), No. 4 Ridgefield (13-8) and No. 5 Greenwich (12-6).

The teams ranked 6-10 in that state poll, in order, were Newtown (20-1), Class M state champion Guilford (16-7), Class S state champion Weston (20-2), Cheshire (16-4), and East Lyme (20-2).

In addition to Darien being ranked No. 1 in the two national polls, New Canaan and Wilton were also ranked in both of those polls.

New Canaan and Wilton were ranked No. 11 and No. 12, respectively, in the Final Inside Lacrosse Girls’ Top 25 High School Power Rankings. New Canaan cracked the top 10 at No. 10 and Wilton was ranked 21st in the final USA Lacrosse Magazine Nike/USA Lacrosse National Top 25.

Humphrey, her Darien teammates Ryan Hapgood, Kaci Benoit, Kate Demark, and Stafford; New Canaan’s Stella Nolan and Russell; Wilton’s Molly Snow and Greenwich’s Emma Abbazia were the nine players who were selected to the All-FCIAC First Team for the second consecutive year.

The other 15 players on the 2023 All-FCIAC Girls Lacrosse Tier I First Team are Colette Quinn, Maggie Bellissimo, Morgan Massey, Hope Schoudel, and Holmes of Darien; Maddie Tully, Lexi Tully, Izzy Appelt, Ella Patterson, and Cecilia Patterson of New Canaan; Emerson Pattillo, Addison Pattillo, and Josie Goldman of Wilton; and Ridgefield’s Caroline Trinkaus and Caroline Gerosa.

Darien led the way with 10 players, New Canaan was second with seven, Wilton had four, Ridgefield had two, and Greenwich had one player on this year’s 24-player All-FCIAC Tier I First Team.

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