Soccer Notebook: Hand Girls Hang On, Set Sights On SCC Title

Things keep going right for the Hand- Madison girls soccer team.

After being slowed by Shelton in an SCC semifinal Monday, Kayla Howard scored the winning goal with a minute to go in the second overtime to give the 14-1-1 Tigers a 3-2 win.

“Shelton outplayed us for a good portion of the game. Their ability to possess the ball made it difficult for us to get anything going,” Hand coach David Dikranian said. “We hung in there, and once we got to overtime, we pushed forward to bypass the midfield and build our attack from there. It was working, and we had them on their heels.”

Hand advanced to the SCC final against Law-Milford (11-2-3), which beat Sheehan-Wallingford 3-0 Monday. The championship is Thursday in West Haven. The Tigers are No. 2 in Class L with tournament seeding and schedule information in boys and girls soccer, field hockey and girls volleyball coming out Friday.

“Law is very well-coached and has a good record for a reason,” Dikranian said. “As a coaching director for Milford’s youth program, I worked with many of their players, and I know we’ll have to adjust as we go.”

Old Saybrook Under Pressure

After securing a first-round bye, the Old Saybrook boys (16-0) host Morgan (12-3-1) in the semifinals of the Shoreline Conference Tournament on Wednesday. The teams rank first and fifth in Class S. The game was pushed back from Tuesday as part of a schedule shift caused by the weather that impacted several games in the tournament.

“The Shoreline tournament prepares us all for the state level,” Old Saybrook coach Sam Barnes said. “We’re a deep league, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we meet Morgan or North Branford again in the Class S tournament.”

Old Saybrook beat Morgan twice this year, 2-1 and 7-0. Morgan coach Ross Demay previously served as an assistant under Barnes at Old Saybrook.

“It’s hard to beat a team three times in one year,” Barnes said. “I think our kids are starting to feel a lot of pressure, since we haven’t lost, but they’re mentally prepared.”

Cromwell Girls On A Roll

The Cromwell girls (10-2-4) travel to Old Lyme (16-0) on Wednesday for a Shoreline semifinal, advancing with a 4-1 win over East Hampton in the quarterfinals. Old Lyme won 3-1 when the teams met Oct. 5. Cromwell hasn’t lost since, going 5-0-2.

“We’re hitting a nice stride and found a starting lineup that’s clicking,” Cromwell coach Marcelo Caetano said. “Old Lyme is on another level. They really don’t have any flaws, which is kind of unheard of at the high school level.”

Cromwell is ranked 12th in Class M, while Old Lyme leads Class S. Although rainouts pushed the Shoreline final closer to the Class M start date, Caetano hopes the shortened gap between the tournaments will help his team retain momentum.

“When you’re hitting a rhythm like we have, you don’t want to stop playing,” he said. “You are susceptible to injuries, especially in these conditions, while other teams are resting and getting healthy, but oftentimes the hot team wins.”

Farmington (10-2-3) is ranked seventh in Class LL and faces Simsbury in the regular season finale Thursday. The team, which won last year’s state tournament, graduated last year’s entire starting defense, however five players have older siblings who won state titles with Farmington.

“For them, the taste of the championship has become a flavor in the family,” coach Steve Waters said. “As a group, we’re trying to hone in on synergy, and we’ve got our final games this week to figure that out.” … The Hand boys face Fairfield Prep in the boys SCC final. Hand is ranked 10th in Class L, while Fairfield Prep is eighth in LL. …The Suffield girls (15-0) clinched the top seed in Class LL with a win over HMTCA on Tuesday. … The Prince Tech boys advanced to the CTC quarterfinals after beating Wolcott Tech 4-1, thanks to three goals by Ojo Otasowie.

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