5 things to look for
Branford rolling: The Hornets are coming off a 2-1 win over Cheshire in the SCC tournament championship game for their first SCC title. They have been clicking on both ends of the field. The defense is led by midfielders Autumn McHenry and Carol Frye, defenders Sabrina Torcellini, Alanna Grimm and Britney Bunbanlu and goalie Keira Integlia. The offense is led by Kiersten Bjork, Lanle Crotty and Molly Zaffino. Branford coach Cathy McGuirk will be trying to win her 11th CIAC Class M championship.
Cheshire loaded front to back: Rams’ coach Eileen Wildermann expects her team to use the loss to Branford as motivation in the Class L tournament. The Rams have one of the top goalies in the state with Alyssa Stevens. Other top players are forwards Sarah Pierpont and Mikayla Crowley, midfielders Bailey Cunningham, Julie Roche and Sam Simione and defenders Julia Schaff, Mia Pulisciano and Annie Eddy. Cheshire has been in the Class L final four of the last five years and won the title in 2011.
Glastonbury elite once again: The Tomahawks enter the Class L tournament as the No. 1 seed with a 16-0 record. Led by forward Catherine Guanci, a strong defense and goalie Emily Pepe, the Tomahawks have outscored opponents 54-4. Since 2010, Glastonbury has been in two Class L finals and both times ended up co-champions.
As usual, FCIAC is loaded: Wilton, coming off a 1-0 OT win over Staples in the recent FCIAC tournament final, heads the list of strong FCIAC teams expected to make an impact. Wilton, Staples and Darien adds to a long list of strong teams in Class L. New Canaan is the defending champion in Class M.
Other New Haven area teams to watch: Westbrook, coming off a 1-0 win over Valley Regional in the Shoreline Conference tournament final, is the No. 1 seed in Class S, Haddam-Killingworth is No. 3 and North Branford is No. 5. Other SCC teams to watch are Hamden and Amity in Class L and Guilford, Lauralton Hall, Hand and Sacred Heart Academy in Class M.
5 players to watch
Alyssa Stevens, Cheshire: Stevens, last season’s Register Area MVP, has developed into one of the top goalies in the state. The senior has 14 shutouts and has allowed only seven goals this season.
Autumn McHenry, Branford: McHenry leads a stifling defense for the Hornets. The midfielder is one reason the Hornets have allowed only 14 goals this season and posted eight shutouts. McHenry was selected the SCC tournament’s most outstanding player.
Catherine Guanci, Glastonbury: The speedy forward been one of the top offensive players in the state the past two seasons. The senior is one of the big reasons Glastonbury went 16-0 in the regular season and outscored opponents 54-4.
Alexa Mulvihill, Westbrook: The top scorer in the Shoreline Conference, Mulvihill holds the school record for most goals in a season with 30. She scored the game’s only goal in leading the White Knights to their first Shoreline Conference tournament title over Valley Regional. Mulvihill was named the Shoreline Conference player of the year.
Emma Likly, Wilton: Wilton has been one of the many dominant teams in the FCIAC this season. Likly, the goalkeeper has been a key factor in the team’s success with 12 shutouts during the regular season. She had nine saves in a 1-0 double overtime win over Staples in the FCIAC tournament final. Likly was named the tournament’s most outstanding player.