Thursday, November 8, 2012

STATE TOURNEY CENTRAL: Keep an eye on area teams

Game on, y'all.

State tournament play is underway, and I'm keeping an eye on Middletown, Mercy, Xavier and the area's Shoreline Conference teams. Is there a soon-to-be state champion in our midst? I wouldn't bet against it.

Girls volleyball

Class L: No. 6 Mercy (see draw here)
Class S: No. 8 East Hampton, No. 14 Haddam-Killingworth, No. 15 Valley Regional (see draw here)
What to watch: East Hampton's my sleeper in Class S, but the Bellringers will have to get through perennial state champion Coventry in the quarters. Tough draw. Shoreline foes Valley and Morgan meet up for the fourth time this season in the 2nd round, while H-K has to get through No. 3 Holy Cross. In Class L, Mercy has a decent shot to meet No. 2 RHAM in the quarters.

Girls soccer

Class LL: No. 2 Middletown, No. 4 Mercy (see draw here)
Class M: No. 7 Haddam-Killingworth, No. 19 Coginchaug, No. 26 Valley Regional (see draw here)
Class S: No. 3 Portland, No. 10 East Hampton, No. 20 Cromwell (see draw here)
What to watch: The most enticing draw is Class LL, where two of the top four seeds hail from Middletown. Neither Middletown nor Mercy, however, have an easy draw. Top-seeded Glastonbury looms in Mercy's half of the bracket, and Middletown has to worry about the Naugatuck-Manchester winner in the second round. In Class S, Shoreline champion Portland is always dangerous. Look for the Highlanders in the final four.

Boys soccer

Class LL: No. 18 Xavier (see draw here)
Class L:  No. 22 Middletown (see draw here)
Class S: No. 1 Valley Regional, No. 2 Hale-Ray, No. 8 East Hampton, No. 22 Cromwell, No. 24 Coginchaug (see draw here)
What to watch: SLC finalists Valley and Hale-Ray are the top two seeds in the Class S draw. Seeing the teams meet again in the state final is a stretch, but this could be Valley's year for a title. A run from Xavier would require a win against No. 2 Amity in the second round, and Middletown has a shot at Bethel in the 1st round.

Field hockey

Class M: No. 15 Mercy (see draw here)
Class S: No. 4 Haddam-Killingworth (see draw here)
What to watch: H-K is a perennial bracket-buster, but the Cougars have a tough road in Class S. They'll likely see Northwest Catholic and top-seeded Lauralton Hall in the next few games. In Class M, Mercy could do a little bracket-busting as well. The Tigers play at No. 2 Nonnewaug today.

Check out all the brackets here.

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