It has been a banner fall for FCIAC female teams. The league should have a strong showing during Saturday’s State Open swim meet, while eight teams will be competing for titles in three sports.
The league will have at least two champions: Staples will face Ridgefield in the Class LL girls soccer final and Darien for the Class L field hockey title. St. Joseph also has two teams competing.
Here’s a look at the six games.
Class LL: No. 4 Staples vs. No. 7 Ridgefield (at West Haven, 1 p.m.)
These teams are no strangers: this is their third meeting, with the Wreckers responsible for two of Ridgefield’s three losses, most recently in the FCIAC semifinals.
The coaches know each other pretty well, too. They should: Staples’ Barry Beattie and Ridgefield’s Iain Golding share a house.
These are two evenly matched sides that combine veteran play with the contributions from skilled underclassmen. Case in point: sophomore Reese Sutter scored twice in the Wreckers’ 3-2 semifinal win over Darien. Anna Sivinski is one of the state’s top keepers, while Autumn Smith is a tireless worker and underrated player.
The Tigers’ back line has been close to impenetrable, with the experienced Kathryn Barlow and Claire Middlebrook difficult to beat. After losing to Glastonbury in the last two finals, the Tigers finally got by their nemesis on penalty kicks in the semifinals. They have scored just three times in three state games: will they be able to get the big finish?
Class L: No. 1 RHAM vs. No. 3 St. Joseph (at Middletown, 10 a.m.)
The Cadets deserve to be the No. 1 team in the state if they can win their third straight state title. They already have one trophy secured after beating Staples in the FCIAC final.
Midfielder Jessica Mazo is the catalyst, creating, finishing and defending. Maddie Fried has been one of the stars this postseason. She is dangerous with the ball and on set pieces. Oh, and she is just a freshman.
Tory Bike is a four-year starter and the leader on defense.
Class LL: No. 5 Amity vs. No. 6 Greenwich (at East Haven, 7 p.m.)
The Cardinals have been on a surge, riding a 19-match winning streak that includes an FCIAC championship sweep of St. Joseph. Coach Steve Lapham admittedly needed a little time to find the right combination, and the results have been wondrous.
Maggy Egan has blossomed into one of the most dangerous hitters packed into a 64-inch frame. She is complemented by Tara Ford to give setter Nicole Wood multiple options.
Wood has become a steady quarterback. Adnerys De Jesus is headed to Maryland as a gymnast, but in her spare time she is one of the premier back-row players.
Class M: No. 1 St. Joseph vs. No. 7 East Haven (at East Haven, 4 p.m.)
East Haven is going to have the homecourt advantage, but the Cadets may have the edge in personnel. They have regrouped nicely after the disappointing showing in the FCIAC final against Greenwich.
The Cadets have a three-headed attack, with Bridget Fatse, Christina Crocco and Elena Ball. They are put in good position by setter Grace Vocalina.
Hannah Hutchison does a little bit of everything for St. Joseph, which was last in the final three years ago but has not won a title since 1997.
Class L: No. 5 Darien vs. No. 7 Staples (at Wethersfield, Noon)
Lets do this again. The Wreckers’ motto this season has been “No Co,” a reference to tying the Blue Wave and sharing last year’s title. No doubt Darien feels the same way.
The teams met in the penultimate game of the regular season, with the Wreckers coming away with a 2-1 win. The Blue Wave went on to win the conference championship. Darien has won eight of the last 10 championships and have been dominant since the loss to Staples. It is led in the middle of the field by Bridget Mahoney. Many of the Blue Wave’s big goals have come from the stick of Katie Elders.
To stop the Wreckers you need to contain Christine Taylor. Easier said than done. Taylor scored both goals in a 2-0 semifinal win over Greenwich — and she probably was better on the defensive end of the field. Both finishes came off corners set up by Elle Fair.
Class M: No. 8 New Canaan vs. No. 2 Daniel Hand (at Wethersfield, 2 p.m.)
The Rams are the classic case of a team enjoying postseason success coming out of a difficult conference. New Canaan was the seventh seed in the FCIAC Tournament; all the teams ahead of it advanced to the Class L quarterfinals except for Wilton — which drew Staples in the first round.
The Rams knocked out top-seeded Pomperaug on this run toward a third straight state title. Sierra Smith is their top player, a leader on and off the field. Emily Gaeta has had an outstanding tournament in goal.