While a number of girls soccer teams had to make up regular season games last week to get caught up before league tournament play begins, Immaculate spent the week practicing and resting.
The Mustangs have had 10 days off since beating Notre Dame-Fairfield on Oct. 11. They close the regular season Monday against Amistad.
“We don’t have the numbers some other teams do,” Immaculate coach Nelson Mingachos said. “We were beat up a bit, so the opportunity to have all of these days off is going to help us tremendously. It will benefit us a lot more than I thought it would.”
Mingachos spent much of last week away on business. When Immaculate did practice, longtime assistant coach Brad Jeeves ran it. “Nothing skips a beat here,” Mingachos said.
Immaculate is 11-3-1. The team lost two straight games — to Newtown and Weston, respectively — before rebounding against Notre Dame. Immaculate led both games 1-0 and lost both 2-1.
“The kids now know what to expect, what kind of effort is needed against the top teams (in the South-West Conference),” Mingachos said. “I think those losses will help us more than wins would have.”
Those defeats mean the Mustangs will be on the road for the SWC tournament quarterfinals on Friday. Immaculate, the defending champion, has locked up the No. 5 seed and will play at No. 4 Weston. Newtown is the top seed.
“I honestly believe this year anyone seeded one through eight can win the SWCs,” Mingachos said. “There’s not a soft team, even at (seeds) seven or eight. The results have been close throughout the year. The teams that comes prepared ready to play, ready to compete will pull off wins. … My team will be prepared. I expect to be in the final.”
It was Weston that knocked off Immaculate in the second round of the Class M state tournament last year. In part because of that loss, Immaculate is in the CIAC Class S division, where the Mustangs won nine state championships between 2003-12.
The Mustangs were Class L state champions in 2014 and Class M co-champs with Notre Dame in 2016.
“This year, we probably belong in M, being inexperienced and being young. In a year, I may tell you differently,” Mingachos said. “I feel that the decision (which class each team should be in) should be made at the end of the year. Look at the record and results to see where teams belong.”
Mingachos also coaches the Immaculate boys basketball team, which won Division II last year. Now Immaculate is in Division I for this upcoming season.
If the Mustangs win another Class S girls soccer title, or even reach the semifinals, they will move up to M next season.