WEST HARTFORD – It is battling but time is running out on the Northwest Catholic boys soccer team.
Mired in a losing streak of five games, Northwest Catholic is in danger of missing out on the Class S state tournament after a run to the state semifinals a season ago.
The Indians’ latest loss came to Simsbury, 3-1, on Tuesday. Northwest Catholic has had some close calls during its recent slide, including a 3-2 overtime loss to East Catholic on Oct. 4 and a 3-2 loss to West Hartford rival Conard (9-2-1) on Friday.
“It’s tough right now for us, we play a very hard schedule in the CCC West, every game is tough,” NWC coach Terry Phillip said. “We need to regroup and put a few wins together and try and get into the Class S tournament.”
If the Indians do make it to the states, they know better than anyone that anything can happen. Last year NWC went 7-9 in the regular season and was the No. 23 seed. They may have had a losing record, but the Indians were battle tested and won three tournament games before falling to defending Class S champion Somers by a goal in the semifinals.
If this year’s team can make it back, coach Phillip feels they will be ready for whatever Class S teams can throw at them.
“Last season we had a losing record but it didn’t matter, we were tested by playing against bigger schools all season,” Phillip said. “When we get into the Class S tournament and can play teams our own size we are ready. We’ve been playing Farmington and Simsbury and Conard and much bigger schools all season.”
Bigger schools dot the Indians schedule and so do more experienced teams. Phillip has just four seniors on this year’s roster and the CCC West is a tough place to learn on the fly while trying to pick up wins.
“We have a young team this season and it will pay off down the road and into the coming seasons,” Phillip said. “We are getting experience against very strong teams and have played well in a lot of games. Being so young and inexperienced can be tough, but you can see the team getting better game by game.”
But now the Indians have no margin for error and have to win out for a chance at another magical run. The tournament essentially begins for Northwest Catholic on Friday when it goes across town for a match at Hall. The Indians beat the Warriors in the first meeting of the season and have to sweep the season series to keep hope alive.
NWC is then home for New Britain on Monday and at Newington to close out the regular season next Wednesday.
“We are playing teams that we are competitive with, we just have to break through and get some wins,” Phillip said. “The boys are battling and playing hard. If they keep it up I think we can have some success and have a shot at getting into the tournament.”