The weather may not be cooperating today, but one way or another there will be a host of CIAC championship action this weekend. To get ready for the competition, here are a few notes on each of the finals taking place over the next few days, beginning with boys volleyball which is impervious to the inclement weather. As always, be sure to keep up with all the tournament happenings (including any schedule changes) at the Tournament Central website.
Class L final, #1 Glastonbury vs. #3 Staples: Glastonbury enters the final with just one blemish on its record, while Staples has not lost since dropping its first match of the season. Glastonbury has one volleyball title on its resume, which came back in 2002, and is the team’s only previous final appearance. Glastonbury avenged its only regular-season loss with a 3-2 win over Southington in the semifinals to reach the championship match. Staples are trying to add to its CIAC-best eight volleyball titles, the last four of which came in class L. The Wreckers are making their 11th appearance in the finals since 2001 and claimed a title in its first eight trips to the finals with the last victory in 2009. Staples have been the runner-up in its last two finals trips in 2010 and 2011.
Class M final, #1 Oxford vs. #3 Enfield: After a runner-up finish in class M last season, Oxford rolled through the regular season without a loss and dropping only two sets the entire year. Enfield returns to the finals for the first time since 2008 which was the second of consecutive runner-up efforts for the Raiders. Enfield has been pushed to five sets in each of its two tournament matches, outlasting Darien 3-2 in the semifinals. The top seed has won each of the past three class M tournaments and Oxford is trying to become the first class M team to go unbeaten in the regular season and earn the title since Lewis Mills in 2007.
Class S final, #1 Cromwell vs. #6 Oxford: Oxford survived an 11-inning victory by a 2-1 score in the second round to help reach the finals while Cromwell is another top seed to reach the championship game after allowing only one run in three games en route to the game. Cromwell had nine shutouts during the season while piling up a 17-3 record and is looking to claim back-to-back class S championships, and its fourth title overall. This marks Oxford’s first appearance in a baseball championship game and comes at the end of a season in which the team had only two losses by more than three runs. The team also showed a penchant for extra-inning games with six games going to extra frames including the second-round tournament win.
Class M final, #1 Northwestern vs. #11 St. Joseph: St. Joseph is the lone double-digit seed to reach any of the baseball finals, while Northwestern is one of two top seeds to reach the finals. Northwestern reached the finals with three of its four tournament wins coming by a single run, while St. Joseph is averaging more than 10 runs per game in its four victories. This is St. Joseph’s first final appearances since winning the crown 1985 and is its fifth trip overall, while Northwestern has never won a baseball championship and its only previous appearance in the final came in 1973. Northwestern had only one loss in the regular season — which came in its final contest of the year. St. Joseph was 12-2 in early May but dropped three of its last six regular season games.
Class L final, #4 New Canaan vs. #2 Waterford: Superb run prevention has carried both New Canaan and Waterford to the class L championship game. New Canaan has allowed a total of five runs in four games, while Waterford has surrendered three runs in four games, with two shutouts. New Canaan is back in the finals after falling to Fitch in the championship game last season, and is searching for its first baseball title in their third trip to the championship game. Waterford is looking for its 10th state title in its 15th appearance in the championship game, with its last victory coming in the 2005 and its last berth in 2010. New Canaan closed the regular season with just a 6-3 record in its last nine, while Waterford has won its last seven elimination games after claiming the ECC Tournament championship.
Class LL final, #4 Southington vs. #6 Amity: Southington has surrendered five runs in four games during its run to the title game, while Amity has given up three runs with two shutouts. Both teams have one-run wins under its belt in the tournament as Amity got past Fairfield Prep 3-2 in the semifinals and Southington topped Glastonbury 3-2 in eight innings in the quarterfinals. Southington has won three baseball championships in 10 finals appearances in its history, with the last coming in 2009, while Amity has claimed the championship in two of its previous four trips to the final game with the last coming in 2007. The teams have never met in the championship game and did not face off during the regular season. Two of Amity’s three regular season losses came by one run, and the same is true of Southington.
Class L final, #4 Greenwich vs. #2 Darien: The two teams with the most CIAC titles in the nine year history of the girls lacrosse tournament square off in this match-up. Both teams have earned three CIAC titles which ties for the most in the history of the tournament including Greenwich earning each of the past two class L championships. The two teams have never met in a CIAC final and Darien won the regular season meeting between the two teams by a 17-9 score. Darien’s only loss this season came in overtime against a team from New York, and they enter the finals having won 18-straight contests. Greenwich is playing in its fourth-straight championship final and entered the tournament dropping three of its previous six games, but have outscored opponents 39-31 in the tournament.
Class M final, #1 New Canaan vs. #6 Wilton: This contest is a rematch of last year’s class M final which went the way of New Canaan which marked the team’s second title in three years and the program is 2-0 in championship matches. Wilton has two titles on its resume with the last one coming in 2006, and leads all girls lacrosse programs with what will now be its seventh finals appearance in 10 tournaments. New Canaan won the regular season-meeting between the FCIAC rivals by a 17-11 score in what was the second game of the season for both teams. Both teams have also bulldozed their way to the finals of the class M tournament with New Canaan winning by an average margin of 11 goals, and Wilton has picked up its victories by an average of 10.7 goals.
Class S final, #1 Haddam-Killingworth vs. #2 Weston: One of only two top seed versus second seed in the 16 championship games taking place this weekend, Haddam-Killingworth tries to earn its first title after falling in the semifinals each of the past three seasons. Weston survived a one-goal win in the quarterfinals and is trying to earn its second championship after winning the title in its only other finals appearance in 2011. Both teams lost in the semifinals one year ago. Haddam-Killingworth has not lost this season, while Weston’s only regular season setback came in the first game of the season, giving the teams a combined 39-consecutive victories entering the weekend.
Class S final, #13 St. Joseph vs. #15 Weston: A battle of two teams that have made surprising runs (at least by seed) to the championship game, and it marks the first time since the boys lacrosse tournament began in 1995 that a tournament final has featured two double-digit seeds. Weston is back in the final for the first time since it made four-consecutive trips to the final ending in 2010 and the team won twice during that time. St. Joseph is making a fourth trip to the finals and has won in two of its previous appearances, last claiming the title in 2011. This will be a rubber-match final meeting between these two teams in a class S final as they met in the championship game in 2009 and 2010 with St. Joseph capturing the first meeting, and Weston getting revenge in 2010.
Class M final, #17 Wilton vs. #2 Joel Barlow: Wilton is the highest seed remaining in any of the championship games after knocking off the top seed in the opening round and then getting past Darien in the quarterfinals to make its ninth championship appearance since 1995. The team has five titles overall with the last coming in 2011. Joel Barlow won an overtime thriller in the semifinals to earn a shot at claiming a second-consecutive championship and its third overall, though the two previous titles both came in class S. Joel Barlow’s only loss during the regular season came to a team from outside of Connecticut while Wilton has bounced back from a tough start to the season as the squad started the season with a 1-4 before finding its stride in the postseason.
Class L final, #4 Fairfield Prep vs. #3 Staples: Fairfield Prep enters the championship game riding a nine-game winning streak while Staples has been sparked by a pair of overtime wins to also close the season strong to reach the finals. Staples reached the finals with a tough one-goal win over Greenwich in the semifinals, and will be making just the second finals appearance in program history and looking for the first title. Fairfield Prep is the defending class L champion and is looking for its sixth championship overall in its ninth trip to the championship match. It would be the first consecutive title since the team claimed four-straight championships from 2006-2009.
Class LL final, #1 Southington vs. #6 Mercy: Top seed Southington earned a spot in the final with a 3-2 semifinal win, while Mercy battled through an extra-inning quarterfinal win en route to its championship game appearance. Southington owns a dominant history in softball with 14 championships in 18 previous appearances – its last win coming in 2004 — but the team is trying to rebound from a loss in the final last season. Mercy is a perfect 2-0 in championship finals, with the last win coming in 2006. The teams did not meet during the regular season and Mercy has excelled in elimination games having won seven-straight tournament games including its league tournament, and Southington has not lost since its third game of the regular season.
Class L final, #8 Foran vs. #2 Masuk: Masuk is one of three teams playing this weekend to try and complete an unbeaten season and capture a state championship as it takes on a Foran team playing in a third-consecutive final. Foran were the runners-up in class L last season and won the title in 2011 after capturing its first title in 2002. Masuk was victorious in its first three trips to a championship game, with its last win coming in 2008, and were the runners-up in 2009 in last appearance in a final. Masuk had two shutouts in its first two tournament games before getting past Berlin by a run in the semifinals, and nearly identically Foran posted shutouts in its first three victories before knocking off Maloney by a single run in the semifinals.
Class M final, #12 Waterford vs. #2 Granby Memorial: Waterford survived a one-run game in the opening round and has used it to reach its ninth championship final where it will deal with a Granby team that is looking for its first championship after its second runner-up finish last season. Waterford has won three times in its eight previous trips to the tournament final, with the last triumph coming in 2010. Granby Memorial dropped only one game during the regular season and had 12 games in which it allowed zero or one run. Waterford dropped thee games late in the regular season and also reached the finals of the ECC Tournament.
Class S final, #1 Oxford vs. #2 Terryville: The other top seed against second seed of the champion weekend sees Terryville overtake top seed Oxford. Terryville earned its lone softball championship in 2010 and then was the runner-up in 2011 and has three finals appearances overall, while the appearance in the final will be wholly new circumstances for Oxford which has never reached the championship game of the tournament. It has been one of the best season in program history for Oxford which lost only three games during the regular season and has allowed just one run in three tournament games. Terryville has won two of the three games in the tournament by a single run to earn its way back to the final.