Never count out a champion, no matter how much talent graduates.
That’s the lesson seven-time defending state champ Garden City showed the Tri-State on Saturday at Darien High School. The Trojans pulled off a sensational 12-11 (OT) comeback victory against the defending FCIAC champion Blue Wave.
Freshman Kerry Defliese scored the game-winner with 7.5 seconds left in overtime to give Garden City its fifth straight win over Darien in the series. It was her second goal of the game and second of her career.
“I’m actually a defender, but played midfield today and when I got the ball I looked at the clock and my team was just telling me to go,” Defliese said. “So I just went and somehow scored, the goalie came out and I just threw it in, it was nerve wracking.”
Garden City trailed 10-4 with 15:57 left in the second half, but refused to die. Darien completely dominated the first half with draw control and possession, but the Trojans wouldn’t go away. Jackie Jahelka scored four goals to lead Garden City and Tara DeAngelo added a hat trick to aid the comeback.
“We are never going to give up, games like this are fun,” Jahelka said. “The difference was at halftime. We needed to use our bodies more on draws and it changed the game.”
A win over a national power like Garden City would’ve been a huge boost for Darien, which led 7-2 at the half. When the Trojans started the comeback, it was obvious that the Blue Wave were playing not to lose.
“Towards the end of the second half, they were sending doubles and triples at us to try and keep the lead,” Jahelka said. “They left people open and it worked to our advantage.”
Dillon Schoen led Darien with three goals and three assists and Jenna Fritz added three goals and two assists for the Blue Wave and Caylee Waters was fantastic in goal with 16 saves. Darien took an 11-10 lead in overtime on a nice feed from Hollis Perticone (1G, 3A) to Anna Moorehead, but Garden City answered with a quick goal from Jahelka.
“That draw was so important and Lily Schmidt did a fantastic job,” Jahelka said. “We had to answer back quickly and we did.”
The narrow loss should give Darien confidence as it looks ahead to a challenging FCIAC schedule. The win helps Garden City prepare for tough games on Long Island.
“Now we know that we can always come back no matter what the deficit is,” Defliese said. “We wanted to play hard and get back in the game and we did a great job of that in the second half.”
For a freshman like Defliese, it’s a great way to build the heart of a champion.
Email John Malone at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MSGV_Malone