In the team’s biggest game of the year, in the game’s most crucial moments, Platt Tech girls soccer coach Dennis Vai said nothing.
Sometimes, that can be a very good thing. Let your players figure it out for themselves. With the Panthers trailing 1-0 to Windham Tech with under 10 minutes remaining last Wednesday, Vai did just that.
“We were playing against the other undefeated team (in the Connecticut Technical Conference),” Vai said. “They put solid minutes in and with 3 minutes left, we had a corner kick and we scored off a rebound to to tie the game.”
Because of that 1-1 tie, Platt Tech earned the top seed in the CTC tournament and will host No. 4 Norwich Tech/Holy Family in the semifinals on Wednesday. If the Panthers win, they advance to the tournament final Saturday at Cheney Tech in Manchester.
“This is what we have been shooting for since day one. I told the girls (before the season) I could see us going undefeated (in the league),” Vai said. “We speak about playing with confidence. We spoke about it all year. At that moment, we saw them finally put it all together.”
It starts with the senior leadership. All four captains play on a defense that has helped allow just five goals. The four captains in the back are: Claire Wolf (sweeper), Liz Dooher (center defender), Aiyani Mattoso and Ashlee Caamano.
Sophomore goalkeeper Kimberly Chiroy has nine shutouts.
Vai noted how tested the team is as a whole due to all the close games the Panthers have been in. Of its 16 regular-season games, 11 have been decided by a goal or less.
The Panthers now get a chance to capture their first league title since 2011, when Platt Tech won the Constitution State Conference crown.