Platt Tech lost six players, all major contributors from its 15-1-4 girls soccer squad last season. So it’s understandable no one was exactly sure what to expect from this year’s edition of the Panthers before the preseason began.
It didn’t take long to get head coach Dennis Vai some good news. Platt Tech defeated Norwich Tech/Holy Family 4-1 in the opener.
“I knew (a good season) was possible, but things had to fall into place,” Vai said. “All of the upperclassmen needed to step up and take on positions they necessarily didn’t want to be in. We came together as family.”
Vai said he saw signs even in the preseason that what has occurred this season could be possible: a 15-1 regular-season record and the top seed in the Connecticut Technical Conference tournament for the second consecutive season. The tournament begins Thursday.
The Panthers had a strong returning midfield with Juliana Pinto, Johana Campoverde and Joseline Rodriguez.
“Campoverde is our best player. She leads the team by moving the ball around and helping out on defense,” Vai said. “The two outside wingers are extraordinary, breaking down the line and making crosses for goals.”
Vai was a little more concerned about what he lost off a defense that allowed six goals during last year’s regular season. Toni Gauger and Darlyn Arriaga did return, as did goalkeeper Kim Chiroy, who has allowed just seven goals.
“It’s close to last year’s defense. It took them awhile to learn together,” Vai said. “Nobody can get by Toni or Dani.”
Platt Tech has more than a week off in between its regular-season finale and the CTC semifinal Thursday against Wilcox Tech. The game begins at 3:30 p.m.
Last season, Platt Tech shared the CTC title with Windham Tech.
“The goal every year is to make the league tournament and hopefully win it,” Vai said. “It all stems from Campoverde. When she is on, playing at her best, the kid all follow.”