On the final day of the regular season, a heartbreaking come-from-behind victory for Staples over Darien had serious implications for the postseason . Coming into Thursday, Darien held the fifth seed in the FCIAC tournament, needing only a tie to clinch the spot. Two controversial plays would be the difference in the game as the Wreckers snatched away the win in the final minutes.
Darien came out fiercely determined to hold their place in the standings. They looked well on their way to a huge road win when Kristy Gilbert blocked an attempted clearing pass and scored just seven minutes into the game. The Blue Wave dominated the first half, keeping the ball in the Staples zone for what seemed like the entire half.
Staples finally started getting some offensive chances in the second half, which led to the first controversial call. Abbey Lake sent a long cross to Ally Crofts, who rocketed a left-footer towards the net. The initial "clang" of the goalpost, along with the ball shooting back onto the field suggested Crofts had missed. After a discussion by the referees, it was determined the ball actually went through a hole in the net and the goal counted for the Wreckers, tying the game at one.
Just five minutes later, it appeared that Darien had retaken the lead after a perfectly executed corner kick by Marieke Bravo found the upper-right corner of the net. The ref waved off the goal, however, saying that a Darien player pushed Staples keeper Jessie Ambrose inside the box. That non-goal seemed to suck the life out of the Blue Wave as the Wreckers pounded away for the rest of the game. Staples completed the dramatic comeback when Lake came up with another beautiful pass, finding Jaclyn Katz, who easily slid the ball past the Darien keeper with just 2:34 remaining.
Because of the loss, Darien will have to settle for the eighth and final seed in the FCIAC tournament . They will play the top-seeded Ridgefield Tigers on Saturday afternoon.
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