FAIRFIELD -- It was a good day for Fairfield Warde High School's girls soccer team, and a good comeback effort by visiting Darien.
In the end, Warde escaped with a 4-2 win on the turf in the mid summer-like heat and humidity in the season-opening clash on Wednesday afternoon.
The silver lining for the visiting Blue Wave is that the team nearly overcame a 3-0 deficit, pulling to within a goal and applying pressure on the Mustangs until the hosts sealed the win with a late put-away goal. Both teams have something to build off of as the season gets going.
All of the scoring came in the second half, and it didn't take the Mustangs long to seemingly gain control. Megan Overby found the back of the net less than three minutes out of the break.
Jenn Maldanado got the next two, scoring with 30:20 and 23:30 left. Her second goal came on a hard, rising shot from the left side which clanked off the crossbar and landed on the other side of the line. What looked like an icing on the cake goal at the time turned out to be a crucial tally.
"I wasn't surprised," Warde coach Tom Cunningham said of his team's early second half scoring barrage. "Because I know what we're capable of doing. It took the first half to get the wheels going and get into sync."
The Blue Wave didn't go down without a fight, however. They forced a turnover on Warde's end of the field, and Kelly Karczewski lobbed a perfectly-placed shot over the head of leaping Warde goalkeeper Carly Strachan to make it 3-1 with 22:27 to go.
It took Darien only a couple minutes to trim the deficit to one. The Blue Wave kept pressure on the Mustangs and a loose ball came to Erin Karczewski, who blasted a low shot into the net with 20:31 to go.
There was still plenty of time, and Darien created more chances, even getting a corner kick opportunity with less than six minutes to play.
The outcome remained in question until the final seconds. With Darien pressing, the Mustangs finally got the ball away and Nell Carpenter scored with 12 seconds left to seal the game.
"The girls have what it takes to come against those kind of odds," Darien coach Leigh Parsons said. "They're resilient, they never quit and they fight for each other."
The Darien coach is hopeful that his team can take some positives from the game.
"The score doesn't reflect how well we played," Parsons said.
"Getting the win out of the way, it means a lot. It's a tough opponent. Darien always plays us tough," Cunningham said.
The Blue Wave had the better of the play throughout the second half and kept the ball on Warde's side of the field during a good portion of the game.
"They weren't really in our half much. We were all over them," Parsons said.
Fairfield Warde 4, Darien 2
DARIEN 0 2--2
FAIRFIELD WARDE 0 4--4
Records: Darien 0-1; Fairfield Warde 1-0. Goals: D--Kelly Karczewski, Erin Karczewksi. FW--Jenn Maldanado 2, Megan Overby, Nell Carpenter Assists: FW--Carpenter, Sarah Reilly, Anna Glovin. Goalies: D--Kelly Berrigan; FW--Katie Brennan, Carly Strachan.