The Platt Tech girls soccer players aren’t hiding from the opportunity in front of them. In fact, they haven’t all season.
The Panthers have an opportunity to win a third consecutive Connecticut Technical Conference tournament championship this week They even have a slogan: Embrace the target you put on your back and three-peat.
“We talk about it every day,” Platt Tech coach Dennis Vai said. “To keep it fresh in their minds. We want to try to keep the trophy at our school, where it belongs. This is what we shoot for every year. We don’t compete well in the states (tournament).”
Platt Tech (12-2-2) is the No. 2 seed and hosts No. 3 Bullard-Havens on Thursday at 3 p.m. The Panthers were the top seed the last two years, beating Windham Tech last year and sharing it with Windham Tech in 2017.
The Panthers feature the CTC’s leading scorer, Jaelynn Mitchell (14 goals) and veteran goalkeeper Kim Chiroy (eight shutouts, 10 goals allowed).
“Without Kim, this season would have been totally different,” Vai said. “Any team in the state would want here. She’s an amazing goalie. … Jaeylnn controls everything. But we have so many weapons on the team, that they can’t just focus on her.”
Even with both of those players, along with sweeper Alana Caammano and stopper Darrlyn Arriaga, Vai still wasn’t sure this team could make another championship run. But two freshmen, midfielders Hammerlyn Arriga and Rachel Norabuena, stepped into the starting lineup and have solidified things for the Panthers.
“I knew we would be competitive, but getting those two freshman was huge,” Vai said. “Our defense has been locking down other teams.”
By the time the CTC semifinals roll around, Platt Tech will have had more than two weeks off after its regular-season finale on Oct. 23. Vai is thankful a couple of other CTC teams were willing to come down to Milford for a scrimmage, including Wilcox Tech on Monday.
Other than that, the team has gotten some necessary rest and been practicing penalty kicks. Platt tech and Bullard-Havens have tied twice during the season, both 1-1 results. Windham Tech is the top seed and hosts No. 4 Norwich Tech.
State tournament outlook
The CIAC pairings are scheduled to be released on Friday. Here is an outlook at what we could be looking at.
Class LL: Southington can clinch the top seed with a victory over Northwest Catholic on Monday. Staples, a finalist the last two seasons, is currently the No. 2 seed, followed by fellow FCIAC teams St. Joseph and Ridgefield, the two-time defending champion.
Glastonbury has two regular-season games left and could jump a couple of spots. Newington and South Windsor, currently seeded right behind Glastonbury, have games left as well. Cheshire, the top seed in the SCC tournament, is seeded eighth.
Right now, 28 teams have qualified, but that could also change before the pairings are finalized.
Class L: Suffield drops down from Class LL and will be the No. 1 seed here. RHAM and Pomperaug are the No. 2 and 3 seeds, respectively, followed by Ledyard, which edged out Mercy for the No. 4 spot and the final first-round bye – assuming Avon doesn’t upset Farmington on Monday.
Guilford follows Mercy as the No. 6 seed and will host North Haven, which tied Guilford 2-2 on Oct. 15. Sheehan follows at No. 7 and hosts No. 26 Barlow. Masuk will be No. 9 and could be making the long trip to No. 8 Killingly in Thursday’s second round if seeding holds to form.
Class M: Granby swept the season series from Suffield and is the only undefeated team in the field. Granby won the Class M title in 2017. Plainfield, last year’s finalist, is seeded second, followed by Nonnewaug, Weston and Platt Tech. The top four seeds will receive first-round byes.
Defending champion Lewis Mills is the No. 6 seed, followed by Notre Dame-Fairfield at No. 7, which could host No. 10 Watertown in an intriguing second-round matchup.
Class S: Housatonic Regional locks up the top seed here with a win over Wamogo in its regular-season finale on Tuesday. Windham Tech, the CTC regular-season champion, is the No. 2 seed, followed by Holy Cross and Portland, the regular-season champ in the Shoreline Conference.
Old Lyme, the reigning three-time champion in this division, is currently the No. 7 seed, but Litchfield has two games left and likely jumps Old Lyme to take that seed and the last of the seven first-round byes here.