The state tournament pairings were announced today. The Wreckers open Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) “LL” (extra large schools) play this Tuesday, Nov. 10, at home against Conard-West Hartford. Game time is 2 p.m.
Staples and 2 other schools were tied for the 4th best LL regular season record (14-2-0). Lots were drawn; Amity is 4th, Staples 5th, New Milford 6th.
Glastonbury (15-0-1) is 1st, followed by Guilford and Naugatuck (14-1-1; also by lot).
Conard is a familiar name to Staples soccer fans — but only those with long memories. The Wreckers and upstaters have met 4 times in state tournament play. Staples holds a 3-0-1 edge in the series, with every win decided by only 1 goal.
In 1961 the Westporters won 1-0, in the state semifinals.
After a 9-year hiatus, the Wreckers and Chieftains met again — and did so for 3 straight years. Those 3 games were all state finals.
In 1970 the teams battled to a 0-0 draw, and were declared co-champions. Staples finished the year 16-1-1, surrendering only 2 goals all season (to Nyack, N.Y. — a 2-1 loss).
In 1971 the Westporters capped a 13-2-1 season with a 1-0 state final victory over Conard. Junior Jeff Williamson got the game-winner — a hard shot that caromed off a defender — with just 4 minutes left to play.
In 1972, Dennis Murphy scored a mere 30 seconds after the opening whistle. It was the sole goal of the game. The Wreckers’ 1-0 win gave them a final record of 18-0-1 — and a 4th straight state championship.
Other FCIAC schools in the 2009 LL tournament are Central (#10), Greenwich (#11), Ridgefield (#12), Trumbull (#15), Norwalk (#22), Stamford (#27), Danbury (#29) and Westhill (#33). Westhill must play on Saturday to reach the round of 32 (34 teams qualified with at least a .400 winning percentage). An intriguing 1st-round matchup pits Greenwich against Norwalk.
In the “L” (large schools) division, Fairfield Ludlowe is 16th, followed by Fairfield Warde (21), New Canaan (23), Wilton (26) and — making their 1st state tournament appearance ever — Bassick (27). The FCIAC’s lone “M” (medium schools) representative is St. Joseph (#28).
Click here for the entire CIAC “LL” draw.