DARIEN, Conn. Dariens boys soccer team caught the attention of the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference with one loss in its first 10 games this season. Thursday, the Blue Wave announced themselves as potential challengers for the league title.
The Blue Wave (8-1-2) upset previously unbeaten Staples, 1-0, on a goal by Eliot Helgans in the 11th minute. Under a driving mist, Eric Kanigan sent in a free kick from midfield, which Helgans ahtletically leapt up to and redirected into the net. The victory was Dariens first over the Wreckers since 1997 and ended Staples 23-game unbeaten streak against FCIAC opponents.
"There's absolutely no pressure on us. Everyone is looking at Staples to get the 'W,' but we just came out, scored an early goal, and stayed strong on defense," said Fisher, who made three diving saves late in the game. "It was organized chaos at the end there. Everybody did what they had to do and we just got it done."
Goalie James Hickok made nine saves for Staples (7-1-2), which pressed for the equalizer in the second half. The Darien defense and Fisher were equal to the task, however, and held tight when the Wreckers had three corner kicks and several throw-ins during the final three minutes.
"Last year we only had two wins and the year before that we only had three. We did not mark this game down as a win. This is huge," Helgans said. "I give a lot of credit [in the turnaround] to the captains and coach [Jon Bradley]. We work hard every day."
Darien, whose only loss was a 1-0 setback to Wilton, also tied New Canaan earlier this week. The Rams are the defending Class L state champions. It was the Blue Waves fourth shutout this season, and they have allowed just eight goals all season. Darien also held Staples scoreless for the first time this season.
Darien returns to action Friday against Trinity Catholic. It faces another tough battle Monday when it visits Norwalk (7-1-1) at 7 p.m. at Testa Field.
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