Field hockey: Wilton advances to finals

The Wilton High field hockey team is back in the FCIAC championship game for the first time since 2012, and will play Darien for conference title on Thursday night at 7 at Brien McMahon High School in Norwalk.

The second-seeded Warriors (14-4) earned the spot with a hard-fought 2-0 win over third-seeded Norwalk on Tuesday night at New Canaan High School, in the second game of a semifinal doubleheader.

Top-seeded Darien (17-1) rallied to beat fourth-seeded New Canaan, 2-1, in the first game of the night.

In an exciting first half, both teams produced scoring chances, and either team could have grabbed the initial lead over the first 20 minutes had the ball bounced the right way. The teams combined for 13 shots on goal in the half.

It was the Warriors who notched the important first goal, off a corner with 7:27 left in the half, when Gwen Hall knocked in a ball at the post after a pass from in front by Maddie Duffy.

The second half saw Wilton take control of the game, and the Bears mustered little in the way of offense until the final five minutes, when they had several good scoring chances, as well as their only corner of the half.

By that point, however, they were down 2-0 as Wilton had scored about eight minutes into the second half, when Jillian Mahon drilled a hit from the corner that rolled into the crease, where a shot by Bridget Ward hit the post. But Delaney Chase was able to knock in the rebound to make it a two-goal game.

“It was a well-fought battle, back and forth, by both teams. I think every single player out there played all out, and I think that’s all you can ask for from either team,” said Wilton Head Coach Deirdre Hynes, who wasn’t surprised by the intensity of the play in the first half or Norwalk’s strong play.

“They had their first win in the FCIACs in the last game, so they definitely had their momentum going and I knew that was something to their advantage. So we kind of had to squash that and get that (first) goal., and slightly kill any other momentum they might have had.”

Hynes said the key to Wilton’s better play in the second half was that the Warriors did a better job controlling the ball and connecting on passes.

“We know they’re a physical, big-hitting team, and we played into that, doing big hits instead of keeping possession,” she said. “I think we were just a little bit smarter in the second half with our possession.”

Amanda Hendry finished with six saves in goal for Wilton, while Samantha Troetti had 13 saves for Norwalk (13-4). Both teams had six corners.

Note: You can watch Thursday’s title game live at http://championships.han.network/.