TWO SITES FOR FINALS
There will not be any debate about which finalists will be sent to certain parts of the state depending on site availability on Nov. 23. The CIAC is using two sites for the state finals: Willow Brook Park in New Britain and newly-renovated Dillon Stadium in Hartford. Four games at each site, a mix of both the boys and girls finalists. The sites are within 25 minutes of one another, so there is time to get from one place to another.
Oh yes, we could see that matchup for the third straight season in the Class LL state final. The two FCIAC powerhouses are on opposite sides of the bracket: Staples, the reigning league champion, is the No. 2 seed led by Reese Sutter and Mia Gonzalez. Ridgefield, the two-time defending champion, is the No. 5 seed, led by Caitlin Slaminko. Staples is unbeaten, while Ridgefield’s only loss was to St. Joseph in the FCIAC semifinals. Speaking of St. Joseph, the fourth-seeded Cadets could host Ridgefield in the quarterfinals on Saturday, and unbeaten Southington is on the top half of the bracket. Staples will have to contend with McMahon or Trumbull in its second-round game and Glastonbury in the semifinals.
NOT TIME FOR HIBERNATION YET
Granby is the only remaining girls soccer team without a loss or a tie. The Bears were the North Central Connecticut Conference champions. The Bears have posted 10 shutouts. Suffield came the closest, losing 2-0. Class M defending champion Lewis Mills is on the other side of the bracket as the No. 6 seed, as is No. 3 Plainfield, last year’s finalist. But opponents will be hard-pressed to keep Granby from winning its second state championship in the last three years.
THE DEFENSE NEVER RESTS
Guilford has posted 13 shutouts this season, including two in the league tournament en route to its sixth Southern Connecticut Conference championship. Led by the Gambardella sisters, Taylor and Madison, the Indians have only allowed more than one goal once this season. The Indians are seeded sixth in what looks to be a wide-open draw in Class L.
ONE FOR THE THUMB
For those who might be ready to kick dirt on Old Lyme, don’t. The Wildcats were seeded 14th last year and were able to claim their fourth consecutive Class S state championship. Mya Johnson may have graduated, but Old Lyme was still able to finish the regular season at 10-2-4. The Wildcats got upended in the Shoreline Conference tournament semifinals by eventual champion Haddam-Killingworth — they didn’t reach the Shoreline final last year, either. Old Lyme is seeded eighth this year.
KACEY LAWRENCE, MASUK
With her 35 goals and eight assists, the Michigan-bound forward has one last chance to make a deep run in the Class L state tournament. The Panthers are seeded 10th and will host Hand, a semifinalist each of the last three seasons, in the opening round. Then a second-round match at Berlin could await for the Panthers on Thursday.
KAITLYN BOGUCKI, MERCY
Bogucki, a key member of the Tigers’ defense, is heading to play at Marist next fall. She has helped Mercy gain 10 shutouts this season. With Lindsay Stevenson and Emma McMurray leading the offense, Bogucki will do the same on the other end.
MADDIE FRIED, ST. JOSEPH
Lethal scorer who has been dominant in the state’s premier conference, the FCIAC. Bound for Villanova in the fall of 2021, Fried has the ability to put the Cadets on her back and get them to the final day of the season.
CHLOE LANDERS, GLASTONBURY
This all-American forward will soon take her talents up I-84 to UConn. But she has one last chance to reach her first Class LL final since her freshman year, when the Tomahawks won it all. Glastonbury is seeded third in LL this season and could host Darien in the second round on Thursday.
TONI DOMINGOS, NOTRE DAME-FAIRFIELD
Junior has scored in almost every game this season. Had two goals and an assist in the SWC tournament semifinals against Weston. Headed to Maryland in the fall of 2021, Domingos would dearly love to lead the Lancers further than last year’s quarterfinal-round appearance in Class M.