Artur Branco has been around long enough to not get too high or low with any one result for the Cheshire boys soccer team.
Now in his 22nd season at the helm, Branco has one primary concern on his mind: Make sure the Rams are peaking once the postseason begins on Saturday. At 9-1-4 with two games left, Cheshire is in very good shape.
“By the end of the (regular) season, we want to have them be at their peak physically and mentally and be playing at their best,” Branco said.
The Rams have done it with a stout defense. They have pitched shutouts in their last five games and six of their last seven. Only Shelton, which scored five goals in a win and a tie against its former SCC Housatonic Division rival, has been able to score more than one goal against Cheshire.
Cheshire has nine shutouts overall.
“Take away the Shelton games and we have allowed five goals in our other 12 games. That’s a stat I’m very proud of,” Branco said. “We take pride in what we do defensively. Primarily, it starts with the four guys in the back, but everyone does their share.”
Cheshire found success in the first season of the Southern Connecticut Conference’s realignment, beating Guilford Friday night to clinch the SCC Oronoque Division crown. But that’s not something Branco, who won his 250th game at the school on Oct. 15, gets too wrapped up in.
“Being first, second or third is no longer important as it used to be to me when I first started coaching,” Branco said. “To me, it doesn’t matter where we are ranked, whether we play home or away. I’ve been on both sides of the coin, won and lost on both sides.”