The first signs of championship season have begun as league cross country championships were held across the state, and the first CIAC championships of the fall season will take place at the end of the week with the CIAC cross country championships. All of that is an indication that there are many exciting things to cover from the past week, including hitting on a handful of those cross country championship meets, along with other games impacting postseason considerations.
- A big battle in class S went to still-unbeaten Parish Hill which earned a 1-0 victory over Classical Magnet. Parish Hill is one of just three remaining teams without a loss or tie on its resume, while Classical Magnet dropped to 7-4 and two of its four losses have come to Parish Hill.
- Ellington and Windsor Locks played to a spirited 0-0 draw on Tuesday, in a match of two teams holding spots in the top-10 of their respective rankings. After starting the year 1-2, Ellington had won eight-straight matches prior to the draw, and it was a fifth-consecutive shutout.
- Woodland produced a 2-1 victory over Oxford on Wednesday evening, keeping pace with the top teams in class M. Savannah Aviz and Hailey Borris scored the goals for Woodland which is now unbeaten in its last eight contests including three one-goal win. The Hawks followed up that win with a 2-0 victory over Watertown to further shuffle the class M rankings with just a few weeks remaining in the regular season.
- Woodstock Academy is continuing its strong season and playing some of its best work of the year of late, with the most recent result coming in a 3-2 overtime win East Lyme on Thursday. Emily Becher scored the winning tally in overtime and handed East Lyme just its second loss of the season.
- Litchfield capped a three-win week by capturing a 2-1 win over Northwestern and extended its win streak to five matches. After suffering through a three-game slide in the middle of the season the Cowboys have responded with the five-game streak.
- Two of the top teams in class L squared off in a nice Columbus Day contest as Simsbury and Fairfield Warde played to a 0-0 draw. Katie Stepsis and Allison Renwick both made 13 saves in goal for their teams to keep the game deadlocked.
- Greenwich scored with less than a minute remaining in regulation to preserve its win streak and earn a 2-1 win over Pomperaug as well on Monday. Erika Hvolbeck scored the winning goal with 10 seconds left in the game to capture the win and improve to 10-1 to keep pace near the top of the L rankings.
- North Branford collected a 1-0 win over Valley Regional in a tight battle of a pair of class S teams. North Branford is 10-3 following the win, and nine of the team’s 10 victories have been by shutout. Meanwhile Valley Regional at 4-7-1 has been on the tough end of four 1-0 scores this season.
- Granby Memorial bounced back from just its second loss of the season by earning a strong 2-1 victory over Avon on Tuesday. After a 5-1 start, Avon has gone winless in its last three outings with two ties and the one-goal setback.
- Farmington dealt Hall its first loss of the season in a showdown of a pair tournament-bound programs. Hall had opened the season unbeaten in its first 10 contests, with two overtime wins on the ledger, before Farmington captured the 1-0 win on Thursday. Farmington has specialized in one-goal games as the 1-0 victory over Hall moved the team to 10-3-0-1 and are now 6-2-0-1 in one-goal contests.
- It is the time of year where teams start looking at the .400 winning percentage mark to earn a postseason berth, and Sheehan captured a key win in that regard by topping North Haven 1-0 on Friday. The win moved Sheehan to .429 with two matches remaining on the schedule.
- Cheshire improved its record to 8-0 an dealt Branford its first loss of the season on Tuesday with a 101-83 victory. Lindsay Smalec won both the 200 IM and the 100 butterfly to pace the Rams in the victory.
- Eleven seniors were honored for Wilton and then the team produced a 97-89 victory over Westhill to close out the team’s home schedule. Wilton improved to 7-2 with the victory while Westhill senior Erin Gray enjoyed a strong meet with a pair of individual victories and swam legs on two winning relays.
- Fitch continued a strong season in ECC competition with a resounding 105-61 win over NFA on Thursday. Meredith Hird and Grace Moriarty both earned a pair of individual wins for Fitch which is now 7-3 overall and 7-2 in its league.
- Seymour pushed itself several meets clear of the .500 mark with a 95-75 win over St. Joseph in dual-meet action. Seymour stands at 7-5-1 after the victory which featured the team winning four individual events, but still earning the victory thanks to superior depth and a pair of relay wins.
- Ridgefield earned a narrow victory on the girls side and a more comprehensive win on the boys side in sweeping the FCIAC cross country championships. Trevor Hopper set a course record on the boys side to help the team top second-place Darien by 32 points. On the girls side Hannah Debalsi of Staples also established a new course record but Ridgefield edged Staples by five points.
- Connor Gralton was the first across the line for Norwich Free Academy and he helped his team capture first place in the boys ECC cross country championship. On the girls side, Fitch placed three runners in the top-15 to claim the team title. Kerri Ruffo of Plainfield was the individual winner by nearly 20 seconds to pace the field.
- Thomaston continued its run of Berkshire League girls cross country championships while Lewis Mills earned a second-straight title on the boys side. Jackson Morrow won a thrilling finish for Lewis Mills in the boys meet, helping his team to the crown, and moving up one spot after he claimed a runner-up finish last season. In the girls meet, Thomaston continued its dominance of the meet posting a team score of 35 to earn its seventh-straight championship.
- In the SWC it was the Immaculate girls and Brookfield boys coming away with the championships at the league championship meet in Bethel. Brookfield earned the first team title in program history with a narrow six-point win over New Milford behind Parker Timmerman’s first-place individual finish. The meet was just as tight on the girls side with Immaculate placing four runners in the top-10 to edge Pomperaug 46-57. Gabrielle Richichi was the individual winner in the girls race, helping New Fairfield to a third-place finish.
- Mercy came out ahead of the field in the girls cross country SCC championship meet, led by overall individual winner Kaleigh Roberts who claimed the win by nearly 20 seconds. Mercy finished with four runners in the top-16 to earn the win by a comfortable 21-point margin. Fairfield Prep captured its third ever SCC boys cross country title and also had the individual winner as Christian Alvarado blitzed the field to earn a victory by 50 seconds. Prep had all five scorers in the top-20 of the race to earn 56 points and the title.
- Ledyard maintained its unblemished record by getting past a tough Maloney squad by a 3-0 score on Monday. Ledyard has been rolling all season, having dropped a total of just two sets this season while compiling a 15-0 record.
- Jonathan Law earned a thrilling comeback victory over Foran on Tuesday night. After winning the first set, and leading 2-1, the team had to rally in the fifth set to earn its eighth win of the season and snap a two-match losing streak.
- Amity was pushed to the brink by a tough Lyman Hall team but eventually pulled out a 3-2 win to improve to 12-2 overall. It was a second-straight 3-2 win for Amity after the team knocked off Guilford the previous night. It was a seventh-straight win.
- Northwestern got past Kaynor Tech to improve to 8-4 on the season, and has bounced back from a midseason funk to earn a fourth-straight win. Northwestern has shown some streakiness throughout the season as a 4-1 start turned into 4-4 after a three-game slide and has now won four in a row. Make that five in a row as the team downed Terryville to close out a three-win week.
- Also earning three wins during the week was Haddam-Killingworth, which improved to 15-2 thanks to three 3-0 victories capped by a 3-0 win over Valley Regional to end the week. The Cougars have won each of the matches in its current five-match win by 3-0 scores.
- It was a record-breaking night in Ansonia with senior running back Arkeel Newsome establishing a new state record for career rushing yards as his team downed Masuk 56-21. Newsome set the mark with a 57-yard touchdown run on the first play of the third quarter, and his game total of 396 yards brought his career total to 8,385 yards, breaking the previous mark of 8,279. He also rushed for six touchdowns in helping Ansonia improve to 6-0 for the year and extend its overall winning streak to 34-consecutive games.
- A pair of battles between top-10 ranked teams in the CIAC postseason standings lived up to the billing, highlighted by West Haven winning a thrilling 35-34 decision in overtime against Xavier. The home team stopped the visitors on a two-point conversion attempt in overtime to secure the victory, and help head coach Ed McCarthy tie the Connecticut record for career victories with 321. West Haven is now 5-1 after dropping its first game of the season and is storming up the class LL playoff standings.
- The Farmington defense was the story in a match-up of unbeaten teams as the Indians claimed a 13-7 win over Windsor. After surrendering a first-quarter scoring pass, the defense did not allow a score the rest of the game and Farmington then found the end zone twice in the third quarter to provide the winning margin. A QB sneak from Jeremy Buck was the final score with 1:13 remaining in the third quarter helping keep the team’s unbeaten season intact.
- If defense was the story of that game, it was all offense in Trumbull’s 50-44 win over Greenwich. Marc Cesare’s 10-yard touchdown run with 1:49 remaining in the fourth quarter provided the final margin as Trumbull improved its record to 5-1 and broke into the top-10 of the CIAC playoff point rankings. Trumbull outscored Greenwich 19-13 in the fourth quarter and had the final two scores to earn the victory.
- Tyzhan Leatherwood was the offensive star as Platt also remained unbeaten in class L with a tight 34-32 win over Bloomfield over the weekend. Leatherwood rushed 47 times for 229 yards and had the final score of the game with nine minutes remaining in the game as the Panthers moved to 6-0.
- It might not earn him another spot in Sports Illustrated, but Jeremiah Crowley had another big night as Montville claimed a 41-37 win over Waterford that kept Montville hovering around the top-10 of the CIAC playoff point standings. Crowley had six rushing touchdowns in the game and also piled up 346 yards in the win.
- Lyman Hall was able to halt a three-game losing slide as the team earned a hard-fought 2-2 draw with Amity, one of the top-ranked teams in class LL. It was the second tie this season between these two teams and the draw clinched its league division crown for Amity.
- Staples knocked off Darien 3-2 on Tuesday to continue its fine season. Charlie Leonard scored two goals for Staples which jumped out to a lead with a first-half goal and then held on despite a pair of Darien second-half scores.
- Windham went to overtime, eventually pulling out a victory over Griswold by a 2-1 score in overtime. Mike Hope headed home the winning goal with just 28 seconds left in the second overtime period to improve Windham to 9-3-1 on the year, and in the hunt for first place in its league.
- Shockingly it was another tie for Danbury as the team earned a 1-1 draw with Fairfield Ludlowe in a class LL showdown. In fourteen matches this season for Danbury, exactly half of them have ended in ties, including five 1-1 draws this year.
- The decisive goal came with less than two minutes remaining and with it Montville handed Watertown its first loss of the season. Caleb Sheldon scored the winning goal to give his team a 2-1 win and improve its record 10-2, while Waterford is now 12-1.
- Cromwell enjoyed a strong week and closed the week with a 0-0 draw against Brookfield to finish 2-0-1 for the week. It was a fourth shutout in five matches for the team which has allowed just two goals during its five-match win streak which began after surrendering a pair of goals in a loss on October 5.
Each Monday we take a look at any major movement in the top-10 of the CIAC Tournament Rankings for those sports where it is provided (rankings and records are based on results reported through the CIAC on-line reporting system). This late in the season there is rarely major changes in the rankings from week-to-week, but with the state tournaments rapidly approaching, the tournament rankings are a great reference to see where your favorite team is positioned (rankings can be found hereunder the fall sports tab).
- The majority of shifting in the girls soccer rankings were in class S where Litchfield made a move up from ninth to fifth while Coginchaug and East Hampton both suffered precipitous drops. Woodland was the biggest riser in M, sliding from seventh to fourth, while in LL Cheshire also had a three-spot rise from 10th to seventh. Joel Barlow slid up from ninth to sixth in L, and Middletown came from outside the top-10 into seventh. The number-one team atop each class remained the same from last week.
- The field hockey rankings see nearly all the same teams holding in the top-10 with some minor shifts among the squads. There are new teams atop L and S with Darien and Nonnewaug now leading those rankings respectively. Darien rose from fourth to first in L and Cheshire also made a large jump from sixth to second. Guilford slid up four spots in M, while a three spot drop for Avon also took place in M. Nonnewaug assumed the top spot in S after coming up just one spot, while two schools — Haddam-Killingworth and Suffield — each had two-position climbs.
- Most of the significant shifting in girls volleyball took place in LL and M while the other two classes remained fairly static. Darien moved up three spots into the top-half of the LL rankings and Fairfield Ludlowe climbed to second while South Windsor fell from second to ninth. Northwestern was the big mover in M jumping from 10th to fourth to highlight the movers while Waterford slid from ninth to sixth. Ledyard assumed the top spot from Farmington in L, but only Mercy moving up two positions shifted those rankings. Haddam-Killingworth’s two point move to second in class S was the biggest positive move in that class.
- Almost across the board, the biggest positive moves in the football rankings were two-point jumps for a variety of teams. Cromwell jumped from outside the top-10 all the way to sixth in class S in the biggest leap of the week. The top seed in each class remained the same from last week and in LL Shelton, West Haven, and Glastonbury all improved two positions. Farmington also was a two-spot riser in L, Cheney Tech is now ninth after sitting outside the top-10 and in M there were no moves up of more than one spot though Wolcott fell from sixth to ninth.
- The boys soccer rankings did not change much from last week with just a few minor changes including Suffield climbing up one position to now sit atop the class M rankings. Staples had the biggest positive move this week, rising from ninth to fifth in class LL. Ellington in class M and Cromwell in S both had two-position rises while RHAM dropped three spots in L and Classical Magnet fell two spots in S.