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Boys Soccer: Class L Tournament Breakdown

Varsity vs Avon HS on 11/12/2011 2:00:00 PM
Posted Wednesday, November 09, 2011 by William Petroccio



Toughest Route to the Finals: No. 7 Avon (11-3-1) 
It never comes easy for Avon does it? The Falcons have lost to the last three Class L state champions and now if they want to get over that hump they have to go through the toughest group in the entire bracket. Avon host No. 26 Fairfield Warde in a very interesting and troublesome first round game that could be tricky and then gets a date with likely E.O. Smith in the second. Now I know E.O. Smith isn't the same team it was only a few weeks ago but coach John Bloomstrann says the Panthers are playing their best soccer of the year. And we know that have talent on the field. Then if it is lucky enough to escape those two matches, Avon gets the nice gift of RHAM or Hand or Woodstock Academy in what is likely one of the best quarterfinals of the tournament. No one said winning championships was easy right? Well, the Avon seniors will certainly have earned it if they get to the finals this year.
Best Route to the Finals: No. 14 Berlin (8-4-4) or No. 6 East Lyme (11-2-3)

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I can't ever say I thought I would say a No. 14 seed would have a good route to the final but I guess that is what journalism is all about: being surprised. I've listed both Berlin and East Lyme here because I think the bottom half of the bracket opens up nicely for each. Both have drawn incredibly favorable match-ups in the first two games and if they win both they get the honor of playing each other. There's no Wethersfield, Bunnell, Darien, Avon or RHAM in the group and for that they should both be very happy.
Sleeper Team: No. 14 Berlin (8-4-4) 
It was October 4 when Berlin picked up its third loss of the season. But since the Redcoats have gone 4-1-3 against the tougher portion of their schedule. That's the type of thing that tends to happen when you have an extremely young group. They gell late into the season. And that's what is happening here. Led by its strong coaching staff, which helped get Berlin to the semifinals, the Redcoats are set to grow up even more in the tournament. They play smart soccer, they have a lot of young skill and they have a way of keeping themselves in games till the very end. And those are all signs of a good tournament team. The Redcoats were loaded with seniors last season and had the best tournament run in school history last year. But this season, they could outdo themselves with an even more surprising trip back to the semifinals. Be smart and keep your eye on Berlin.
Best Potential Second Round Game: New Canaan at Darien 
After tying New Canaan earlier in the season, Darien will have a chance to knock off the defending champions a lot earlier than anyone would ever expect. Not a bad little claim to have headed into next season.
Best Potential Quarterfinal Game: Avon vs. RHAM
How is this game not a semifinal or better? Avon and RHAM have combined for 23 wins and just three losses this season. They've allowed just 18 goals. And they play some of the better soccer around northern, central and eastern Connecticut. You can bet I'll be there if this game actaully happens. And if you're a fan of good high school soccer that goes down to the wire, you might want to check it out too.
First Round Predictions: Wilton over New London; Brookfield over Wilby; Notre Dame-West Haven over Wilbur Cross; Bunnell over Torrington; Fermi over Naugatuck; Darien over North Haven; New Canaan over Lyman Hall; Hand over Woodstock Academy; Avon over Fairfield Warde; E.O. Smith over Wilcox Tech; Berlin over Platt Tech; East Lyme over Bassick; Branford over Career
I've got a couple upsets but nothing major. Games I'd made sure to keep an eye out for? I'm paying lots of attention to Avon and Fairfield Warde, Branford and Career and Notre Dame-West Haven and Wilbur Cross.

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