The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference, which governs high school sports in the state, released its Class L, M and S field hockey pairings today (Friday) and New Haven County teams Cheshire, Hand, Haddam-Killingworth and Lauralton Hall should have solid post-season runs.
Championship games for all three classes will be at Wethersfield High on Nov. 16 with times to be announced.
On Tuesday in a first round Class M game, the Connecticut field hockey world will focus on Madison as No. 3 Hand (16-2-1) hosts No. 14 Branford (9-9) at 7 p.m. Branford coach Cathy McGuirk tries to be the first Connecticut public school field hockey coach to reach 500 career wins with her record currently at 499-109-63-9.
And it won’t be easy as Hand is a strong favorite to win the CIAC Class M title this season.
“Hand is a very solid team with very good coaching,” McGuirk said. “They are strong favorites to win the game. But I keep telling my players on any day any team can beat any team, especially in our sport because there are so many factors that contribute to wins and losses.
“My kids know about my record becauae quite frankly you guys (media) keep reminding us. We have some special players on our team and I know our kids are going to play this game like they do all the others, giving their all on the field. They work hard and they never give up. You never know.”
Class M shapes up as an interesting tournament with defending champ and No. 2 Wilton (15-1) a solid favorite with its tough defense and depth. No. 1 Lauralton Hall (15-0-1) moves up from Class S and is led by scorers Maureen Connolly and Jackie Brewster.
On paper, the Tigers should advance to the championship game with their talent and depth front to back led by forward Brenna Hobin and goalie Mel Rennie.
No. 6 Guilford (11-4-1) can never be counted out with its veteran coaching of Kitty Palmer.
Class L looks like a repeat of 2012 with No. 1 Darien (14-1-1) and No. 2 Cheshire (17-2) destined to meet again in the championship game. The Blue Wave defeated the Rams 4-0 last season in the final.
The difference this season is Cheshire, led by forward Emma Farrel and midfielder Michelle Federico, has the depth front to back to match the deeply talented Blue Wave.
Defending Class S champion and No. 6 seed Haddam-Killingworth (12-4) is poised for a repeat performance in 2013 led by coach Patsy Kamercia who earned her 400th career win earlier this season. The Cougars open on Tuesday in the first round hosting No. 11 Lewis Mills (10-5-1) at 2 p.m.
One of the top challengers in Class S is No. 1 Nonnewaug (15-0-0-1).