No. 1 St. Joseph, No. 2 Staples top Connecticut girls soccer coaches poll for Class L/LL

St. Joseph and Staples both defended their state championships in their respective state tournaments in most impressive fashion and they were voted No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in the Class L/LL designation of the final Connecticut Girls Soccer Coaches Polls of the season.

St. Joseph was the unanimous selection for No. 1 as the recipient of all 15 first-place votes while leading a trio of FCIAC teams among the five.

St. Joseph and Staples each won their state championship games by three goals.

Sara Parker, a sophomore, scored two goals to help lead second-seeded St. Joseph to a 3-0 victory over fourth-seeded Notre Dame-Fairfield in the championship game of the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference Class L Girls Soccer Tournament.

Staples sophomore Annabel Edwards scored three goals within a span of slightly less than seven minutes early in the second half to lead the third-seeded Wreckers to a 4-1 victory over top-seeded and undefeated Cheshire in the CIAC Class LL Girls Soccer Tournament final.

St. Joseph finished the season with a 21-1-1 record and Staples finished 16-2-4.

Coach Jack Nogueira’s St. Joseph Cadets, who previously won the FCIAC championship in early November with a 3-1 victory over Staples, finished with a 17-game unbeaten streak since their 2-1 loss at home to Fairfield Ludlowe on Sept. 23.

Staples had been ranked third in the previous state poll which took place shortly after that 3-1 loss to St. Joseph in the FCIAC tournament final. But coach Barry Beattie’s Staples Wreckers flip-flopped spots in the final poll with Cheshire after their convincing 4-1 victory in the Class LL state championship gave Cheshire (21-1-1) its first loss of the season.

Glastonbury was ranked No. 4 in the final poll. Glastonbury, which was seeded second in the Class LL state tournament, finished 15-2-4 after its 3-2 semifinal loss to Staples.

Ridgefield moved up one spot from the previous poll to No. 5 to become that third FCIAC team among the top five. The fourth-seeded Tigers advanced to the Class LL semifinals, where they lost to Cheshire, 2-1.

Notre Dame-Fairfield and Wethersfield were ranked sixth and seventh, respectively, in the final Class L/LL poll.

Fairfield Warde was the fourth FCIAC team ranked among the top eight as the Mustangs moved up one spot to No. 8. They were seeded seventh in the Class LL tournament and nipped by Glastonbury, 1-0, in the quarterfinals.

Brookfield and Southington completed the top 10.

A dozen total teams statewide received votes and half of them were FCIAC teams as Fairfield Ludlowe and Danbury received the 11th and 12th most votes, respectively.

Because all the FCIAC schools are large schools, no conference schools were ranked in the Class M/S poll.

Class M state champion Mercy finished No. 1 in that poll. Class M runner-up Northwest Catholic was No. 2, and Class S state champion East Catholic was No. 3.

Nogueira, Beattie, and Ridgefield coach Iain Golding were the three coaches from the FCIAC among the 15 coaches who voted on the final state poll.

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