Tyler Webb is out of the girls' soccer business. This offseason, Webb stepped down as head coach at Simsbury in hopes of pursuing other career opportunities. But that doesn't mean he's done watching.
Webb still has his eye on the girls' game and last Friday, as he watched Avon play Farmington in a boys soccer scrimmage, he echoed the question that many are asking this season: "Can anyone beat Northwest Catholic?"
It's a good question and Webb and the rest of the state have reason to wonder.
Not only does Northwest Catholic return nine starters, including All American forward Jess Fontaine, from last year's Class M championship team, it enters the season on one of the best three-year runs in the state.
Northwest Catholic is 54-4-1 and has won two state titles since 2009.
The Indians are loaded, experienced and hungry to keep the run going.
"They're taking last year's championship and they want to be back there again — that's their motivation," Northwest Catholic coach Todd Sadler said. "They're thinking 'what can we do this year that we didn't do last year.' "
That determination and focus should come in handy this season.
Northwest Catholic, which had a school record 19 wins last year, has a target on its back and will face plenty of pressure to live up to expectations.
"They want to come out right away and establish themselves," Sadler said. "Record-wise it is going to be tough to beat last year. But they still want to play that same style of soccer and show everyone that the level hasn't dropped off."
The Indians have arguably one of the best starting 11s in the area and boast several of the state's best players
Jess Fontaine is an All American forward. Cathy Higgins is an All New England center back. Junior forward Michelle Medina set a school record for points last season (52). The trio will also be joined by Higgins' identical twin Annie, Medina's twin sister Nicole and midfielder Emily Kearney.
'If we just play the way we should play we're unbeatable to be honest," forward Michelle Medina said.
Glastonbury Loaded Again
Northwest Catholic isn't the only team on a good three-year run.
Glastonbury has also amassed a pretty impressive record during that stretch.
The Tomahawks, who won their first title in school history last season, have gone 50-2-4 since the start of 2009 and appear more than ready to challenge the top teams in the state once again.
Glastonbury returns three of the best players in the CCC North in defender Kristen Connolly, forward Kristen Dragotta and midfielder Kate Smith.
… South Windsor has tied Glastonbury three times in the past two years and behind Christine Allard will try to pull off another surprise this season. … Hall is one of the most balanced teams in the CCC West with midfielder Hayley Mullins, midfielder Allyson Swaby and defender Meg Tracy. … Farmington also remains a threat to go far in the state tournament after losing in the Class L Final last fall. Celia Devoe and Marissa Paiano are back for Indians. …Katie Wenner leads the defense for Windsor. … Senior Lauren Bossi is a two-time All CCC South defender for Bristol Central. … Middletown expects a big year from junior Marissa Aldieri as she tries to keep the Blue Dragons in the CCC South division race. … Danielle Angellilo is Plainville's center midfielder. … Senior defender Sarah Provencher is back for Rockville. … Erica Kosienski is one of the craftiest forwards in the CCC West and should help Southington stay competitive in the toughest division in the state. … Conard has to regroup after the departure of seven starters. … Hannah Fay will be the playmaker for Tolland as it tries to make sure it doesn't drop after graduating eight starters. … All Conference goalie Cassie Quattropani will try to keep East Hartford in games. … Led by Kylie Lynch and Kelly McKenna, East Catholic should continue to improve and be a threat in Class S. … Amanda Zdun moves from outside back to center midfield for Bristol Eastern. … Melissa Kissane is the new coach at RHAM, which figures to be one of the top teams in the CCC East once again. … Jim Bayer takes over for Tyler Webb at Simsbury and has six returning starters in place. … Key defender Monique Lyttle is out all season with a knee injury for Bloomfield in Evae Peart's first year as coach. … Newington has a solid play-making forward in Meaghan Gustufson.
Familiar Story In NCCC
Last season, Granby surprised the rest of the conference by winning the NCCC title.
This season, traditional powers Suffield and Avon want to make sure that doesn't happen again.
And both have the teams to do it.
Although Suffield will be without forward Alexa Keney for the second straight year because of an ACL injury, it has plenty of other weapons, including top defender Jillian Consolini and forward Brittany Champagne.
As for Avon, goalie Kaylan Conrad and Catherine Jordan will try to lead the Falcons to a fourth straight Class L final. The Falcons defeated Farmington for their fourth championship last November. … Chelsea Santos will lead Windsor Locks as it tries to contend in the league after just five wins in 2011. … Ashley Hurley takes over at Enfield and looks to senior forward Sierra Trzepacz to lead the way. … John Hostetler is back coaching at Ellington after a decade away and midfielder Gigi Rubino should be one of his go-to players. … Behind the play of defenders Alex Martin and Katherine Winsor, Canton hopes to match last year's success. … Hannah Bodner had 15 goals last season and will be asked to step up for Bolton as it tries to get back to the Class S semifinals for a second straight year. … Mike Pantuosco takes over as Somers' coach.
Shoreline and Others
Led by forwards Samantha Weber and McKenzie Reimondo, Portland is one of the favorites in the Shoreline conference. … Old Saybrook hopes to make it three straight trips to the Class S semifinals and maybe beyond with goalie Mia Neas and forward Gabby Rose. … Coginchaug will have difficulty topping last year's 15-win season, but six returning starters will be hungry to keep the victories coming. … Stephanie Bock is a solid two-way player for East Hampton. … Junior goalie Kiernan Decker will be one of the key players for Valley Regional. … Hale-Ray will look to Alex LaFemina to shoulder the offensive load after scoring three goals last year. … Marcelo Caetano is the new coach of Cromwell and Allison Sumecki takes over at Westbrook. … Talented and aggressive sisters Taylor and Shannon Kennedy will anchor Classical's run at the CSC championship. … Jason Stock takes over for Dennis Fowler at Lewis Mills and has Bailey Pace at forward.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun