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High School Soccer Notebook: South Windsor Learns From Tough Stretch

The South Windsor boys suffered two recent losses to fellow CCC contenders, but with a 9-3 record, coach Pete Lepak's team remains poised to compete as the postseason draws closer.

"It's not about winning or losing. It's how you play, because even if you win when you play poorly, what do you get out of it?" Lepak said. "A losing streak is not something we wanted, but playing in a tournament-type atmosphere is only going to make us better."

Prior to rebounding with a win over Enfield Monday, South Windsor lost 4-1 to Farmington (8-1-2) on Oct. 10 before coming up short 2-0 against E.O. Smith (11-0) on Friday. Heading into to the Farmington loss, South Windsor had played three games in the previous week.

"We came out flat and couldn't get into a groove; we gave up a penalty shot because one of our kids got angry," Lepak said. "With E.O. Smith, I think we had better opportunities to score than they did, but our boys weren't devastated like they were against Farmington."

Lepak is satisfied with his middle third, but said his team lacks a strong scoring forward to depend on.

"This year we have two brand new forwards, so we knew we wouldn't have a 15-goal scorer," he said. "We're well-balanced with strong players, but we don't have a kid who's as talented or developed as someone like [E.O. Smith's] Cooper Knecht."

Glastonbury Girls Looking Forward

After their record-setting winning streak came to an end with a draw against Tolland on Sept. 19, the Glastonbury girls lost to RHAM by a score of 1-0 on Oct. 10. It was the school's first loss since Sept. 23, 2014, against South Windsor.

"It was upsetting, but a major part of our program has always been to not look at [the streak], and we're a little less stressed now that it's out of our minds," senior captain Olivia Allen said. "We still have a target on our back because of our record and history."

Glastonbury (9-1-2) responded with wins over Northwest Catholic and Hall. Defense has set the tone for a unit that has shut out nine opponents this season.

"Heading into the tournaments, we want to make sure our back four is solid," Allen said. "The loss to RHAM was a wake-up call. We know we don't like that feeling of losing. We know we've got to practice harder, and now we're more focused and motivated."

Motivated For Postseason

The Old Saybrook boys, who have not lost a regular season game since 2015, are leading the Shoreline at 13-0, but after last year's loss to Coventry in the Class S final, the team is eyeing redemption.

"Losing the Class S final motivated these kids to finish the job; they worked hard in the offseason, and it's all paid off," 22-year head coach Sam Barnes said. "Another perfect season would be nice, but we're not looking at it that way."

Old Saybrook has allowed two or more goals just twice this season, with seven shutout wins. The team has leaned on captains Justin Phillips and Austin Hilger following the graduation of All-State player Ashton Reiner.

"We're fast and smart on defense, and our returning goalkeeper has the experience," Barnes said. "Offensively, we have a deeper bench that allows us to make adjustments and have fresh legs, depending on who we're playing."

The Granby boys (11-0-1) are closing in on the top seed in the NCCC, having beaten contenders Somers, Suffield and Ellington…The Suffield girls (12-0) allowed their first goal of the season in a 2-1 win over Rockville on Tuesday. …The Hand boys (11-1-1) are a strong second in the SCC, with their loss coming against first-place Guilford.

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