Championship Saturday Preview – Field Hockey and Girls Volleyball


Darien Athletic Foundation

The Darien girls volelyball team celebrating a point win on the left. On the right, Darien senior Brooke Bilodeau dribbling with the ball.

Saturday, the Darien High School Field Hockey and Girls Volleyball teams will look to bring a state championship back to DHS. Here’s everything you need to know about the season finale for these two squads.

Field Hockey

At 2 pm on the campus of Wethersfield High School, the Darien Field Hockey team (22-0) will take on the 2nd-seeded Wilton Warriors (18-2-1) for the Class L championship. In the regular season, it was the Wave that won the meeting by the final 4-1. But last year, these teams met at the neutral site of Testa Field in Norwalk for the CIAC Semifinals, and it was the 11th-seeded Warriors with the upset win in the shootout.

Darien Field Hockey celebrating a goal against the Wilton Warriors in the regular season. (Dave Stewart)

Darien is riding in hot, winners over Glastonbury 5-0 in the semifinals. A nail-biting 4-2 win over Greenwich in the quarterfinals and a blowout win over Newtown in the first round. Darien has outscored opponents 134-6 this season! The defensive likes of Morgan Massey, Chi-an Daugavietis, and goalie Lindsey Darby have been great all season, and have not surrendered much this year. This defensive effort combined with the strong attack of Raina Johns, Blake Wilks, Ashley Stockdale, and Ryan Hapgood is all a nightmare for the opposition.

Looking at that seminal game against Glastonbury. Five different Wave players scored, and even better the Guardians, who had the ball across the fifty twice all game! Darby made one save on the sole penalty corner attempt with thirty seconds to play in the game.

Darien has run the tight man-to-man press defense that has worked all season.

Darien’s Ashley Stockdale battling Wilton’s Katherine Costanzo for the ball in the regular season clash. (Dave Stewart)

The Warriors enter after taking down New Canaan 1-0 in the semifinals. Adding on blowout wins over Ridgefield and Trumbull in the First Round and Quarters respectively.

Wilton rides their penalty corner attack. With offensive players such as Charlotte Casiraghi and Riley Fitzgerald, the team has the offense to get them back into any game. Wilton’s sole loss in the regular season came to Darien, and this Warriors team is now playing in back-to-back state championships.

Last year after the upset of Darien in the semis, Wilton advanced to Wethersfield to take on New Canaan for the Class L crown. It was a commanding 3-1 Rams win, but the Warriors were destined to return to Wethersfield.

The game start is scheduled for 2 pm and is the finale of the three-game slate at Wethersfield high. There is a Darien fan bus being sent up for those that want to go to the game. And for those that want to watch this showdown, the NFHS Network has the broadcast. Darien is looking to win their first state crown since 2016!


Girls Volleyball

The second team competing for a state championship on Saturday will be the undefeated Darien Girls Volleyball Team. Darien (24-0) will take on FCIAC foe Trumbull (20-7) in the Class LL title match.

Darien enters play winners over Southington in the state semifinals in straight sets. As well as taking down FCIAC competition Fairfield Ludlowe and Greenwich in the tournament.

Darien Girls Volleyball celebrating the point win over the Greenwich Cardinals in the regular season win. (Dave Stewart)

The Blue Wave had the commanding straight sets win over Greenwich in the quarterfinals which were one of the Wave’s best matches of the season! And all that, with the injuries of starting libero Ayla Schenck and backup libero Alexis Pensiero.

Darien has been riding the four-player attack of seniors Jillian Roche and Leilani Gillespie in combination with the junior Ellie Moore and sophomore Marin Black. All four players have over 120 kills on the season, and Roche and Gillespie are over 240!

Darien struggled out of the gate vs. the Southington Blue Knights in the semifinals, the errors on the serving and attacking ends were costly, but the Wave survived the first set, and head coach Laurie LaRusso talked her team out of it, playing perfectly in sets two and three.

The sophomore Black has stepped up big time in this year’s CIAC tournament. 17 kills and a hand full of blocks to her name adding to the depth of this Wave team.

Darien fell short to Greenwich in last year’s state semifinals and was finally able to overcome the hump and advance to the state championship for the first time since 2018 where the Wave fell to Amity. The Wave entered play with an eight-year drought of championship hardware. With the win of the FCIAC crown earlier this month, Darien looks to cap off the perfect season with a state championship win as well, something the program has not seen since 2014.

Senior Jillian Roche on the attacking attempt vs. the Southington Blue Knights in the semifinals at Bunnell High School. (Dave Stewart)

A meeting in the regular season went in favor of the Wave 3-0. But the Trumbull Eagles came back surging in the FCIAC Championship. Winning the first set and stunning Darien in the third, put the Eagles just 25 points away from the FCIAC crown. But the Wave prevailed and beat the Eagles in five for the FCIAC title.

Trumbull entered the state tournament as the 14 seed. Taking care of business against West Haven in the first round. And then pulling off the upsets against Simsbury, McMahon and Amity is how the Eagles got to this point.

Senior Camdyn Roth leads the attack with a 12-kill performance against Amity in the state semifinals. One of the best setters in the state Maggie Carley returns to set for the Eagles. Carley, the UConn-bound setter will look to keep the offense rolling. This is an Eagles team that can get the offense rolling at any time on the court. The spark plug for Trumbull will be junior middle Ariana Gjonbalaj. Gjonbalaj had ten kills against the Spartans on Wednesday and a dominating 15-kill effort against the Wave in the FCIAC title match.

This is a highly anticipated rematch that will take center stage at 10 am inside the gym of East Haven High School. Like Field Hockey, there will be a fan bus being sent upstate to cheer on Blue Wave Volleyball. For those that want to watch this championship match, the NFHS Network has the broadcast. Darien is looking to win their first state crown since 2014!