Memorable Mondays: Cinderella stories
Welcome to MSGVarsity.com's Memorable Mondays, a summer-long series that looks back on the top players, games and moments from the past season and gazes ahead to 2012-13. As the summer goes on, we'll compile all the lists and post them here: www.msgvarsity.com/mondays. New lists will be posted every Monday at noon.
In Week 2 of Memorable Mondays, we look at five of the best Cinderella stories in the Connecticut Region.
New Canaan baseball
So how does a team that went 10-10 in the regular season and didn't even make the FCIAC tournament get on this list?
By reaching the state finals for the first time in 40 years, that's how.
Seeded No. 24 in the CIAC Class L tournament, the Rams knocked off No. 9 Branford, No. 8 Maloney and No. 16 Hand -- all on the road -- before doubling up No. 21 Sheehan in the semifinals. The storybook run ended in the championship game with a 6-4 loss to third-seeded Fitch.
Watertown boys basketball
Talk about a breakthrough season. Fresh off the first NVL championship in school history, the Indians advanced to the Mohegan Sun Arena and played in their first state final since 1943 -- only to come up against Waterford.
Just three years removed from a 3-17 season, the Indians have come a long way. They're on the map now, and figure to stay there with three starters returning next winter.
Staples girls soccer
With an 8-5-3 regular season record, the Wreckers didn't even qualify for their league tournament in the ultra-competitive FCIAC. But their run in the state tournament more than made up for it.
For No. 20 seeded Staples, It started with a 3-1 victory over No. 13 New Milford. What followed was nothing short of scintillating. In the second round, Staples outlasted No. 4 Shelton 1-0, winning 14-11 on penalty kicks.
Then came a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over fifth-seeded Westhill. For this Cinderella, the clock would finally strike midnight in the Class LL semifinals on a 2-1 penalty-kicks loss to top-seeded and eventual champ Glastonbury.
Darien boys soccer
From a two-win season in 2010 to the FCIAC semifinals and state quarterfinals in 2011, it was a quite a turnaround for the Blue Wave under first-year head coach Jon Bradley.
Darien finished the season 14-4-3, with two of those losses to eventual FCIAC champion Trumbull and eventual Class L champ Bunnell.
Staples field hockey
The Wreckers captured their first FCIAC championship in 17 years, and what a journey to the top of the mountain it was.
Senior Misha Strage scored the game-winning goal with 3:50 left in the quarterfinals against Stamford in a 2-1 victory. The next night Strage scored the game-winning goal as Staples shocked top-seeded Darien 1-0, snapping its remarkable 93-game winning streak that dated to 2007.
Finally, and who else, Strage scored the game-winning goal in a 2-1 win over second-seeded Wilton for the long-awaited league title.
Join us throughout the summer as "Memorable Mondays" brings you more top 5 lists:
July 16: Top five exciting endings from 2011-12 July 23: Top five heartwarming moments from 2011-12 July 30: Top five favorite venues from 2011-12 Aug. 6: Top five coaches from 2011-12 Aug. 13: Top five most memorable games from 2011-12 Aug. 20: Top five teams from 2011-12 Aug. 27: Top five teams to watch in 2012-13
Find them all at www.msgvarsity.com/mondays.