Staples head coach Dan Woog and his staff always stress that rankings mean nothing. When pushed, they concede that the final poll of the year counts for something.
Well, the final polls are in. The state champion Wreckers finished 6th in the country, and 1st in New England.
Nationally, the Wreckers leaped from “Not Ranked” to #6 on the strength of their state tournament semifinal victory over previously unbeaten Glastonbury (ranked 4th in the nation in the previous poll), and their subsequent state final win against New Milford.
In New England, the Westporters vaulted from #11 to #1. The only other Connecticut teams in the Top 11 are Brookfield (#7) and Tolland (#10).
“In a way, the rankings are silly,” Woog said. “How can anyone say we’re better than Seton Hall (NJ) Prep (#7), but not as good as Apple Valley of Minnesota (#4)?
“But the fact that we’re the highest rated team in the country with 2 losses shows that people around the country recognize the strength of Connecticut high school soccer.
“And the fact that 14 of the 25 teams are private or Catholic schools — which recruit — is a testament to our public high school program. Being #6 in the country, and #1 in New England, isn’t our proudest achievement — but we’re not giving it back.”
The final Connecticut high school poll (conducted by coaches) also shows Staples in 1st. The Wreckers — #3 last week — received 7 first-place votes. Second-place Brookfield earned 1 first-place vote. The rest of the Connecticut Top 10 for classes LL and L, in descending order: Glastonbury, New Milford, Guilford, New Canaan, Simsbury, Farmington, Amity, Avon.