New Canaan girls lacrosse rallies past Darien for repeat FCIAC title

NORWALK — It took the New Canaan girls lacrosse team 28 years to break the “FCIAC curse” when it finally won its second conference championship last spring.

It took the Rams just one more season to make it three.

New Canaan scored the final four goals to rally past rival Darien 10-8 and capture the 2022 FCIAC championship Wednesday night at Testa Field in Norwalk. The Rams trailed 7-4 early in the second half before taking over.

“This is so crazy,” New Canaan senior Caitlin Tully said. “Darien is such an amazing team and we knew this was going to be a huge challenge. While there were some ups and downs, we really played together and remained calm, even when we were down.”

“That second half really showed what competitors they are and what leaders we have,” New Canaan coach Kristin Woods said.

The Rams dominated possession time in the second half and held the Wave to just one goal over the final 19 minutes to nail down the win. Senior goalie Claire Mahoney collected seven saves and was named the game’s MVP.

“It was a big goal of ours to come back and win the FCIAC for a second year in a row,” Mahoney said. “We were going one game at a time, focusing on the semifinal on Monday, and then yesterday in practice we were zoned in on the final. This was definitely our goal.”

The two rivals were meeting in their third straight FCIAC final, with Darien winning in 2019, and New Canaan winning the past two years. After winning their first FCIAC title in 1993, the Rams had been the runner-up 14 times before breaking through with a 7-4 victory over the Wave in last year’s final.

The two teams have been the state’s top ranked teams for the entirety of the past two seasons, with Darien (17-1) at No. 1 and New Canaan (17-2) at No. 2 in the latest coaches poll.

With Wednesday’s result, every girls lacrosse team in the state now has at least one loss, as the Wave had a 21-game win streak snapped.

“They just have to keep their heads high,” Darien coach Lisa Lindley said. “We need to do some things better, particularly shooting. We had our opportunities we just didn’t bury the shots.”

The Rams had huge games from sisters Caitlin and Lexie Tully, who combined for five goals and four assists. Caitlin had two goals and two assists, and Lexie, a sophomore, had three goals and two assists.

One of Lexie Tully’s assists came on the biggest goal of the game, scored by Stella Nolan with 1:01 to play.

After Kaleigh Harden had put the Rams up 9-8 with 6:05 to play, New Canaan won the ball and possessed for the nearly five minutes as the Wave scrambled to try and force a turnover.

With just over a minute to play, Darien goalie Shea Dolce ventured from the goal to attack the ball, but the Rams reacted quickly as Lexie Tully got the ball to Nolan for the goal to make it 10-8.

“We practice that, so we definitely were prepared,” Caitlin Tully said. “When we went into the timeout, Dillyn (Patten) said ‘this is why we run, this is why we do our conditioning’.” That last effort, we left it all out on the field.”

Woods said the Rams had some added motivation with seniors Hollis Mulry and Carolyn Baran sidelined with injuries.

“Our seniors played outstanding,” Woods said. “Carolyn and Hollis, this senior class really wanted \o win this for them and they did.”


Claire Mahoney, New Canaan: The Rams’ senior goalie, who had seven saves, played a huge part in the stellar second-half effort which saw New Canaan hold Darien to just one goal in the final 19 minutes.


“We played together and we kind of looked to each other. We looked to our left and right and played for each other. We were doing it for the person next to us and especially for Hollis (Mulry) and Carolyn (Baran), who are injured. We wanted to do it for them and for each other.” - New Canaan senior Caitlin Tully; @dstewartsports

No. 2 NEW CANAAN 10, No. 1 DARIEN 8

NEW CANAAN 4 6 —10

DARIEN 5 3 —8

New Canaan: Lexie Tully 3g, 3a; Caitlin Tully 2g. 1a; Stella Nolan 2g, 1a; Kaleigh Harden 2g; Caroline Underwood 1g; Darien: Chloe Humphrey 3g; Ceci Stein 2g, 1a; Kelly Holmes 1g; Ryan Hapgood 1g; Molly McGuckin 1g. Goalies: NC -Claire Mahoney 7 saves; D - Shea Dolce 8 saves. Records: New Canaan 17-2, Darien 17-1.