Wayne Mones has been around too many years coaching soccer to get too excited over a great start.
Notre Dame-Fairfield has won its first six games, the opening five by shutout, making the Lancers a bona fide South-West Conference contender again. The team advanced to the league tournament semifinals last season.
“Time will tell. I try to tell them how they practice and play in all games is who they are,” Mones said. “We are not good enough to beat good teams unless we play at our best.”
Katarzyna Zawadzki, a coaches all-state selection from a year ago, is the unquestioned leader of the defense that allowed its first two goals against East Lyme.
“Today (Saturday), we didn’t play well at all (against East Lyme),” said Mones, who spent 17 seasons coaching the Western Connecticut State men’s soccer team.
Toni Domingos may have surprised some teams with an impressive freshman season. Now she will get the extra defensive attention afforded to one of the league’s best offensive threats.
“She’s looking at Division I schools now,” This girl is as good as anyone in the league (SWC). I put her with either one of them (Masuk standouts Kacey Lawrence and Giavanna DeLorenzo). She is super-skillful. She is going to be an outstanding college player.”
The Lancers will continue to need contributions from several people, and continue to play solid defense, with the likes of Newtown (Thursday), Weston (Oct. 8) and Immaculate (Oct. 13) among others still left on the schedule.
The Lancers have been Class S co-champions twice during Mones’ tenure (2015 and 2016) before falling to New Canaan in the Class L second round last season. Notre Dame is competing in Class M this season.
“We don’t have any idea how good we are,” Mones said. “We’ve all got to get better, compete on a higher level to beat the top teams. We all need to be on the same page and want it bad enough. It can’t just come from me. That’s not enough.”