WEST HARTFORD – The Conard High boys soccer team has its work cut out for it if wants to achieve its goals, but it also has its destiny in its own hands.
Riding a six-game unbeaten streak, the Chieftains are entering a tough stretch that will determine wether or not they can cross off some of the items on this season’s to-do list.
Conard (9-2-1) has not lost since dropping consecutive games to Farmington and Newington a little over three weeks ago. The Chieftains have recovered to go 5-0-1 since and control their own fate in their quest for a CCC West title.
“We are playing good soccer and in a good spot,” Conard coach Adam Linker said. “We just need to make sure we stay focused on each day and each game. If we do that we will have a chance to accomplish some of our goals.”
Those goals include a CCC West championship and at least one home game in the state Class LL tournament. Last season the Chieftains won a pair of home games in the tournament before falling to third-seeded Fairfield Prep, 2-1 in double overtime in the quarterfinals. That success showed Conard how important a few home games can be come tournament time.
The Chieftains are currently fifth in Class LL, last season they were seeded 11th.
“One of our goals is to make sure we get at least one home game,” Linker said. “It was a good atmosphere last season and hopefully that is something we can have again this year.”
Adding to the atmosphere and the Chieftains’ drive to get a home date or two come tournament time is the fact that lights have been installed and the game could be played at night.
“The lights are in and from what we’ve been told they will be ready for the end of the season,” Linker said. “It would add something to the games if we could get a home tournament game under the lights, it would be great.”
Work remains for there to be any home game for the Chieftains in the tournament, day or night. Conard’s last four games are against a group of familiar foes that the Chieftains are 1-2-1 against so far this season. The rough stretch started with a game against state powerhouse Farmington on Wednesday and then it continues with a home game against Newington on Friday.
Simsbury, which Conard beat 4-1 the first time around, visits next Monday and a rival game at Hall ends the regular season on Oct. 23.
“We have a tough stretch coming up, the CCC West is just so tough, there isn’t any chance to take a deep breath and relax, every game is a battle,” Linker said. “And ending with Hall, it doesn’t matter what the records are for that game, you can throw those out. It’s a rivalry game and always a battle.”
If Conard is to reach its goals down the stretch expect Matheus Souza to be a big reason why. An All-New England selection with 20 goals as a junior, Souza is having a big senior season as well with 16 goals so far. Kevin Yigle, Erik Ribeiro and Sebastian Rengifo have also been instrumental in Conard’s success so far this season.
“We are playing well and we have a great group of kids,” Linker said. “We have a tough stretch of games coming up but we control our own destiny and you can’t ask for anything more than that.”