Monday, November 30, 2015

Bradford named to Northeast-10 Conference Honor Roll

University of New Haven senior Briana Bradford has been named to the Northeast-10 Conference Honor Roll after a strong effort last week.
Bradford was recognized by the league today in a press release. The former Holy Cross standout averaged 21.5 points per game in two contests last week. 
Last Tuesday, Bradford connected for 23 points in a 72-63 conference loss to Adelphi University. She made 7-of-13 shots from the floor, including 3-of-5 from three-point range. Bradford made 6-of-9 from the foul line and grabbed three rebounds to go along with three assists and one steal.
Last Saturday, Bradford scored 20 points and five rebounds in a 70-53 win over Goldy-Beacom. Bradford made 7-of-13 shots from the floor, hit on 6-of-7 at the foul line, dished out three assists and came up with a steal.
Bradford leads UNH in points per game (18.3) and minutes (36.2), according to a story on the team website announcing her as a Student-Athlete of the Week.
UNH plays two games this week, starting with a 5:30 p.m. Northeast-10 matchup at home against Southern Connecticut State University.

Dejuan Rodriguez chosen for Rookie of the Week

Wheelock College freshman Dejuan "DJ" Rodriguez has been honored as New England Collegiate Conference Rookie of the Week for his recent performance.
The honor was announced by the league today in a press release. The former St. Paul Catholic standout scored 13 points and grabbed five rebounds off the bench in a 104-76 loss to Division I UMass-Lowell. Rodriguez also had a steal and a block for Wheelock, a Division III school.
The Wildcats, who haven't played since Nov. 24, return to the floor Thursday with a NECC road contest at Elms College.

DeFillippi earns Player of the Week honors

Mount Ida College sophomore Joey DeFillippi was named Great Northeast Athletic Conference Player of the Week for his recent efforts.
The announcement was made by the league today in a press release. All the former Bristol Central standout did last week was become the 15th Mount Ida player to tally 30 points. DeFillippi had 30 points and shot 10-of-15 from the field, including 5-of-8 from three-point range. He was also 5-for-5 from the foul line. DeFillippi had four rebounds, three assists and two steals in a stat sheet-filling night.
Mount Ida plays two games this week, starting with tomorrow's home league contest against Johnson & Wales of Rhode Island. 

Mallory named Player of the Week

Former Holy Cross standout Michael Mallory had a monster game for Southern Connecticut State men's basketball last week, and he was named Northeast-10 Conference Player of the Week.
The honor was announced by the league today in a press release. Mallory, a junior guard, erupted for 43 points, including nine 3-pointers, in a 107-94 win over American International College last Tuesday. Mallory missed the school record by a mere three points in the highest point total by a SCSU player in nearly 40 years.
Mallory also pulled in six rebounds, collected two steals and blocked two shots.
SCSU plays three times this week, starting with tonight's home conference contest against LIU Post.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

High school basketball starts soon!

The CIAC still has to crown four high school state football champions, and that process begins this week with quarterfinal round games.
Don't look now, but basketball is just around the corner. For high school girls, it starts on Monday, the first official day of practice. The first day of the season is Monday, Dec. 14.
For high school boys, the first day of practice is this coming Saturday, Dec. 5. The season begins on Saturday, Dec. 19.
Here's how each team in the Sports on CT-69 area begins their 2015-2016 season (Bold means season opener):

No one starts playing until Tuesday, Dec. 15. The annual City Jamboree is on Dec. 12 at Kennedy High School.

Tuesday, Dec. 15
Wilby at Ansonia, 6 p.m.
Notre Dame-Fairfield at Kaynor Tech, 6 p.m.
Farmington at Bristol Eastern, 7 p.m.
Bristol Central at Simsbury, 7 p.m.
Oxford at Crosby, 7 p.m.
Wolcott at Derby, 7 p.m.
St. Paul at Kennedy, 7 p.m.
Holy Cross at Seymour, 7 p.m.
Weston at Waterbury Career Academy, 7 p.m.

Friday, Dec. 18
Sacred Heart at St. Paul, 7 p.m. 


The annual City Jamboree is on Saturday, Dec. 19 at Kennedy, so Waterbury teams will be waiting until the week after to play their season openers. Kaynor Tech will host a CSC Tip Off Tournament that same day.

Saturday, Dec. 19
Bristol Central at E.O. Smith, 2 p.m.
Kaynor Tech hosts CSC Tip Off Tournament

Monday, Dec. 21
Waterbury Career Academy at O'Brien Tech, 6 p.m.
Maloney at Bristol Central, 7 p.m.
Rocky Hill at Bristol Eastern, 7 p.m.
Crosby at Watertown, 7 p.m.
Kennedy at Holy Cross, 7 p.m.
Seymour at Wolcott, 7 p.m.
Sacred Heart at Wilby, 7 p.m.
Kaynor Tech hosts CSC Tip Off Tournament

Tuesday, Dec. 22
Wolcott at Ansonia, 6 p.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 23
Bullard Havens Tech at Waterbury Career Magnet, 6 p.m.
Wethersfield at Bristol Central, 7 p.m.
Bristol Eastern at New Britain, 7 p.m.
Holy Cross at Torrington, 7 p.m.
Sacred Heart at Watertown, 7 p.m.
St. Paul at Oxford, 7 p.m.
Woodland at Kennedy, 7 p.m. 

Chase Collegiate has a strong fall

The fall sports teams at Chase Collegiate School were able to put together some strong efforts. Here's a little bit about what happened this fall at Chase:

Boys cross country claims title, girls finish 4th
The boys cross country team, coached by Kevin Grimes, secured the Connecticut Independent School Athletic Conference championship on Halloween at Bucks Hill Park in Waterbury. The boys took first place as a team while the girls finished fourth. The top runner for the boys was sophomore Dwyer Grimes, who took third place. Senior Latrell Powell finished seventh, followed by eighth place finisher Harry Harwood (8th grade) and senior Tom Brayton, who took 14th. Six PR times and four medalists helped add up to a championship for Chase. Chase edged out Watkinson by four points, 55-59.
For the girls, senior Morgan Maisto was seventh while fellow senior Lauren McDonald took ninth.
The boys graduate Thomas Brayton, Rahul Kumar and Latrell Powell. 
The girls graduate Dani D'Aversa, Ally Feldman, Morgan Maisto and Lauren McDonald.

Boys soccer reaches New England semifinal
Boys soccer, coached by Joe Campos, went 9-2-2 in the regular season and earned berths in the Housatonic Valley Athletic League and New England tournaments. The HVAL tourney didn't go as planned as Chase was eliminated by The Harvey School by a score of 4-3. Still, Chase earned a trip to the New England tourney and began play in the quarterfinals against MacDuffie, where it claimed a 2-1 win. A 6-0 loss to Hoosac in the semifinals ended Chase's run, but can't take away from a successful season overall.
Boys soccer graduates Jacob Estrada, Blake Hardy, Alden Landry, Tim LeBlanc, Dan Smyth-Temple, Ethan Vance, Grant Varnum and Jason Zoldy. Zoldy was a prolific goal scorer for Chase.

Girls volleyball plays in HVAL final
Girls volleyball, coached by Stephen Behr, compiled a record of 8-7 in the regular season. Chase hosted Christian Heritage in the HVAL semifinals and won 3-0. That set up a final against Masters. Masters won the match 3-0 to take the HVAL title.
Girls volleyball graduates Maia Demirs, Clairice Drexler, Micaela Estra, Erka Kodra, Mikayla Powers and Pam Rivers-Salisbury. 

Chase girls reach HVAL semifinals
Girls soccer, coached by Gabriel Goja, went just 4-6 in the regular season. Chase turned it up in the HVAL tourney, however, with a 1-0 quarterfinal win over The Forman School. That set up a semifinal against Christian Heritage School. Chase battled but lost 2-0.
Girls soccer graduates Maggie Atkins, Maddie Jensen and Ally King.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Wolcott ends season on high note against Holy Cross

The Wolcott football team was looking for a positive end to its season on Thanksgiving morning against rival Holy Cross.
The Eagles entered with a solid record of 6-3, but a Class S state playoff berth was out of reach after back-to-back losses to Seymour and Ansonia. Still, there was a chance to send Wolcott's seniors out with a victory.
The Eagles did that and more with a 42-0 victory over the Crusaders at Joe Monroe Field on the campus of Wolcott High School.
“We just said all week long that as a senior class we just wanted to go out with a win,” senior Nate Filippone said told the Republican American's Roger Cleaveland. “I couldn’t have done it without these coaches and my offensive line. They did a heck of a job today. I just did it for my team. I just wanted to leave the legacy here. That’s it.”
Filippone accounted for four touchdowns for the Eagles in his final game -- two receiving, one rushing and one passing. Senior quarterback Rocky Griffin had another efficient day, something Wolcott has come to expect from him.
After giving up 52, 61 and 49 points to St. Paul, Seymour and Ansonia over the past three games, Wolcott's defense allowing nothing to a Holy Cross offense that has struggled at times this season. As a matter of fact, junior Justin Fernandes recovered a fumble on a botched punt for a touchdown, according to Cleaveland's article.
Wolcott finished the season with a 7-3 record, the fifth straight year that the program has won at least seven games. Holy Cross ended a tough season at 2-8.
Go here for the full story from Cleaveland. There's also photos from veteran photographer Steven Valenti at that same link.
Wolcott loses the following seniors to graduation (according to CIAC roster): Jacob Ramos, Anthony Mennillo, Damon Stefko, Robert "Rocky" Griffin, Jacob Gabriel, Brad Grasso, Nate Fillipone, Matthew DeFazio, Christopher Giuggio, Alexander Tapley, Jase Trelli, Phil Olmstead, Robert Pisani, Brendan Brown, Kyle Dunn, Cole Phelps, Christopher Spring, Justin Nadeau, Ryan Pawlak, Christopher Maisto and Brandon Romano.
Holy Cross loses the following seniors to graduation (according to CIAC roster): Justin Witherspoon, Zach Mason, Ryan Pierce, Andrew Dzinski, Austin Callaway, Nick Lomando, Aaron Velasquez, Tyler Cremin, Jonathan Buscarello, Mason Wickline and Jeff Nobrega.

Bristol Central finally gets the Bell back

The long wait is finally over for the Bristol Central football team.
For the first time since 2005, the Rams tasted victory against their city rival, the Bristol Eastern Lancers. Central claimed a 12-4 victory on Thanksgiving morning at Muzzy Field in the annual Battle for the Bell. The Rams now lead the all-time series 32-23-2.
After a 14-14 tie at a muddy Muzzy in 2006, the Lancers claimed eight straight wins, including victories by scores of 21-18 in 2013 and 20-18 in 2014. That streak is no more.
“Our defense was lights out from the start,” Central coach Jeff Papazian told Bristol Press correspondent David Greenleaf. “We knew we had to be more physical against a very good running game and our front line of Tyler Boi, Tommy Nelligan, Krzys Nizielski, Deion Francis and Josh Moxam really rose to the occasion.”
Boi, Nizielski, Francis and Moxam, all seniors, provided those strong efforts in their final games in a Ram uniform.
Senior Noah Cruz's 13-yard touchdown run was the lone score in the first half as Central took a 6-0 lead into the break. When junior Luis Medina busted free for a 30-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter, the Rams led 12-0.
Eastern senior Ront'e Cooper got his team on the board with a safety in the third quarter, according to Greenleaf's article. The Lancers added another safety in the fourth quarter on a bad punt snap and tackle in the end zone.
Central's defense made sure the Eastern offense couldn't get anything going, however, and the Rams held on for the victory.
Boi was the Defensive Player of the Game for Central while Cruz earned the honor on offense, according to Greenleaf's article. For Eastern, senior Zach Thompson was Defensive Player of the Game while senior Josh Sampson earned the honor on offense.
Central ended the season at 7-3 for the second straight year and finished 3-2 in the CCC's Division II-West. Eastern wound up its season at 1-9, 1-4 in Division II-West.
Go here to see the full article from Greenleaf.
For photos, you have several options. Go here for photos from veteran Bristol Press photographer Mike Orazzi. There's also these photos from T.J. Dowling. You also have these photos from Ronald Tessman.
For videos, there's this from Orazzi.
Bristol Central loses these seniors to graduation (according to CCC roster): Denzel Davis, J.J. Quiles, Noah Cruz, Tyshaun Rodriguez, Shane Oxton, Kesean Milward, Deion Francis, Josh Moxam, Kevin Hanning, Krzysztof Nizielski, Brandon Serrano, Tyler Boi and Brad Burney.
Bristol Eastern loses these seniors to graduation (according to CCC roster): Willie Bonaparte, Anthony Circosta, Joey Colangelo, Dante Collins, Ronte Cooper, Josh DiMattia, Alex Hunter, Riley Mason, Garrett McCarthy, Reese McGowan, Josh O'Keefe, Danny Portal, Luis Rivera, Kerion Rogers, Josh Sampson, Darieyn Tate and Zach Thompson.

Crosby football = Division champions

There was no CIAC state playoff spot on the line on Thanksgiving morning at Ray Snyder Sr. Field, but Crosby and Kennedy still had something big to play for.
The Bulldogs and Eagles each entered their annual rivalry game with 3-0 records in the NVL Brass Division, meaning a championship was on the line. In the end, it was Crosby's day to celebrate as the Bulldogs claimed an 18-15 victory.
This post on Crosby football's Twitter account said it all:
"Brass Division Champs! Job well done Dogs. HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYBODY!"
A touchdown pass from junior Mike Marshall to junior Eli Mbaya a little less than halfway through the fourth quarter proved to be the difference for Crosby. Marshall threw another touchdown pass to junior Kenny Petteway, and senior MC Henry added a touchdown run for the Bulldogs.
"“This game has been a reason for our guys to come out and compete these last few weeks,” Crosby coach David Jurewicz told the Republican-American's Adam Baker. “It has allowed our kids to play hard. It’s definitely been the focus for the last few weeks, and it was our job to go and get it.”
Senior Bryan Garcia-Medina threw a touchdown pass to junior J.J. Cossette for Kennedy. Garcia-Medina also ran for a touchdown. Junior Jacob Colon was the top Eagle offensively until he got hurt in the fourth quarter, according to Baker's article.
Go here to see Baker's full article and photos from Jonathan Wilcox.
Crosby finished the season a perfect 4-0 in the Brass Division and 4-6 overall. Kennedy ended the year at 3-1 in the division, 3-7 overall. The Eagles, coached by Chris Sarlo, were playing for a division title for the first time since winning the Copper in 2008.
Both the Bulldogs and Eagles got solid efforts from juniors who will be back next season. Crosby loses a large class to graduation. Those players are (according to the CIAC roster): Anastacio Acevedo, Emmanuel Camacho-Roman, Jermaine Coggins, Safet Daliposki, Jonathan Diaz, Rodney Eason, MC Henry, Aaron Hills, Devonte Hope, Blake Ireland, Wykeam Jackson, Matthew Jaffer, Isaiah Lilley, Alvin Lopes, James Maldonado, Anthony Mancini, Jovani Mercado-Rios, Troy Nixon, Leonard Ortiz and Jonathan Serrano.
Kennedy loses the following players to graduation (again, according to the CIAC roster): Jose Cardona, Jordan Crosby-Williams, Christian Curry, Bryan Garcia-Medina, Justin Gopie, Al Jean-Baptiste, Jameel Norwood and Joshua Rivera.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Sacred Heart/Kaynor Tech, St. Paul football claim wins on Thanksgiving Eve

The Sacred Heart/Kaynor Tech and St. Paul football teams each won their Thanksgiving Eve games on Wednesday night.
SH/KT defeated Wilby 48-26 at Ray Snyder Sr. Field (Municipal Stadium) in Waterbury. St. Paul took care of business with a 46-13 victory over Oxford at St. Paul Catholic High School.
SH/KT led 14-6 after one quarter, then took a 28-18 lead advantage into the half. SH/KT led 48-26 after three quarters. The game ended with 1:33 to play when a scuffle broke out between the teams
With the win, SH/KT's 31-game losing streak is no more. SH/KT now owns the O'Brien-Granato Bowl trophy for the next year.
SH/KT finishes the season with a record of 1-9 while Wilby ends at 0-10.

In Bristol, senior Ben Pryor ran for 152 yards and scored four touchdowns, including one on an interception return, according to tweets from Paul Aiello. Pierce Piana carried the ball for 151 yards and two scores of his own as the homestanding Falcons soared to the win. St. Paul finishes the season at 5-5 while Oxford ends at 3-7.
Pryor had a rushing touchdown and his pick-six as St. Paul led 14-6 after one quarter. Pryor's 45-yard TD run in the second quarter put the Falcons up 22-7 at the half. In the third quarter, Pryor took the opening handoff 58 yards to the end zone and a 30-7 advantage. Piana added scoring runs of 15 and 1 yard to push the lead to 46-7, which is where it stood after three quarters.

As always, thank you to Paul Aiello for the game updates.

There's plenty to read before tomorrow's Turkey Day football games in the Sports on CT-69 coverage area. Check it out in this post. 

Bristol Central grads DeFillippi, Rutledge playing at collegiate level

Together, Joey DeFillippi and Landin Rutledge helped lead Bristol Central boys basketball to some strong seasons. DeFillippi left for Mount Ida College in Newton, Mass., after graduating BC in 2014.
A sophomore at Mount Ida, DeFillippi poured in 30 points in his team's 94-77 win over Newbury College on Tuesday evening. It's just the 15th 30-point performance in program history
DeFillippi was efficient in his effort. He shot 10 for 15 from the floor, including 5 of 8 from three-point range. DeFillippi scored 15 points in both halves and shot a perfect 5 for 5 from the foul line for the game. He also contributed four rebounds, three assists and two steals in a solid all-around effort.
DeFillippi has started all five of his team's games. He averages 13.6 points, 3.2 assists and 2.8 rebounds in 29.6 minutes per contest.
Rutledge, a 2015 BC graduate, has played in four games for Pine Manor College of Chestnut Hill, Mass., and has started all of them. He's averaging 2.5 points and 2.5 rebounds in an average of 14.5 minutes of play per contest.
DeFillippi and Rutledge have already played against each other on the college court this season. Pine Manor claimed a 90-79 victory over Mount Ida on Tuesday, Nov. 17 in Chestnut Hill. Rutledge played 13 minutes, scored two points and grabbed three rebounds. DeFillippi had 10 points, nine rebounds, five assists, three steals and four turnovers in 34 minutes of play.
Pine Manor (3-1) plays at Eastern Nazarene College of Quincy, Mass., on Friday at 5 p.m. Mount Ida (4-1) next takes the court on Sunday against Johnson and Wales of Rhode Island at home at 6 p.m.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Mallory drops 43 points on AIC in win for SCSU men

The Southern Connecticut State University men's basketball team, with its newly-minted No. 7 ranking (NABC poll) in its pocket, defeated American International College 107-94 on Tuesday night at Moore Field House in New Haven.
The star of the night was junior Mike Mallory, who torched AIC for 43 points and nine 3-pointers, both career highs. Mallory, a former Holy Cross High School standout, was 13 of 25 from the floor, including 9 of 19 from the three-point line. Mallory also connected on eight of nine foul shot attempts.
Whether it was 3-pointers, floaters in the lane, or three-point plays, Mallory was unstoppable. He also tallied six rebounds, two blocks and two steals in 35 minutes.
Malloy played 18 minutes in the second half and tallied 26 points, including seven of his 3-pointers.
Check out this postgame video interview of Mallory from SCSU.
Senior Desmond Williams, who was a star in the NVL at Torrington, put in 23 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists and two blocks.
SCSU (4-0) hosts LIU Post next Monday at 7 p.m. at Moore Field House.

Vic Rinaldi takes over St. Paul baseball

A familiar face from just up the road will take over the St. Paul baseball program next spring.
Vic Rinaldi, the former head coach at Lewis Mills in Burlington, has been named the top man in the Falcon program, according to a post on the St. Paul athletics Twitter account
Rinaldi left Lewis Mills in 2012 following a change in his work shift, according to a Waterbury Republican-American article
Under Rinaldi, Lewis Mills was a force in the Berkshire League, winning championships in 2006, 2008 and 2010. 
St. Paul was formerly led by Pat Holden, who left to become assistant softball coach at Central Connecticut State University. The Falcons earned a No. 5 seed in the 2015 Class S state tournament and won two games. St. Paul was eliminated by No. 4 Morgan in the quarterfinals. The Falcons also made it all the way to the NVL Tournament final, where they were defeated by Wolcott.
Rinaldi was a solid baseball player at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield from 1997-2000. He still among the all-time leaders in hits, walks and stolen bases.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Thanksgiving week football is here!

We have reached one of the most fun, and most stressful weeks of the high school football season. It is Thanksgiving week, and many teams will take the field against a big rival in front of a good crowd in what will be the final game of the season.
It's no different in the Route 69 area with several games happening on Wednesday and Thursday. Here's a look at each of them:

Sacred Heart/Kaynor Tech at Wilby, 6 p.m., Ray Snyder Sr. Field (Municipal Stadium), Waterbury
Records: Both 0-9 (0-3 NVL Brass)
What's at stake: The first win of the season is up for grabs for both teams in the finale. SH/KT is looking for its first win over Wilby in four years. The last victory for the co-op came on Nov. 23, 39-34 at Snyder Field.
What happened last year: Wilby won 28-18 at Snyder Field on Nov. 29 in a game that was moved to Saturday due to inclement weather. 
SH/KT seniors (according to CIAC roster): Donald Streater, Rashaun Ivester, Jurrel Racine, Brennan Sanders, Trevi Alickolli, David Lavigne, Calvin Ferguson Jr., Adam Perrault, Fran Fahy, Brett Blanc, Ashunte McFadden, 
Wilby seniors (according to CIAC roster): Malik Allen, Christopher Albert, Darrien Bell, Kyrie Thomas, Raymond Young, Abraham Padila, Angel Lauriano, Terrence Thomas, Richard Feliciano, Nestor Mejia-Giron, Daniel Spears, Marquez Ebron, Carlos Arroyo

Oxford at St. Paul, 6 p.m., McPhee Field at St. Paul Catholic High School, Bristol
Records: St. Paul 4-5 (0-3 NVL Copper), Oxford 3-6 (0-3 NVL Copper)
What's at stake: The Falcons can achieve a .500 record for the third straight season with a win over the Wolverines. It's the first time the game has been played at St. Paul after debuting at Oxford High School last year. A win would also be the first for the Falcons in the NVL Copper Division.
What happened last year: St. Paul won 35-13 on the turf of Wolverine Field to cap a 6-5 season. The Falcons won five of their last six games. 
Keys to the game: If St. Paul can get its running game going, it could be a rough night for Oxford. The Falcons average 303.2 yards per game on the ground, led by a season total of 1,464 and 25 touchdowns from senior Ben Pryor. Transfer Pierce Piana has contributed 505 yards in just four games. If Oxford is to have a chance, it needs to slow down St. Paul's rushing attack.
The Falcons must also limit the Wolverine run game, which is predicated on being balanced between several different ball carriers.
St. Paul seniors (according to CIAC roster): Manager Seamus Keane, Kyle DeForge, Wayne Sharp, Ben Pryor, Joseph Ricciuti, Alejandro Cervantes Segura, Chadd Richardson, Lucas McPhee, Sam McPhee, Alex Gentile

Crosby at Kennedy, 10 a.m., Ray Snyder Sr. Field (Municipal Stadium), Waterbury
Records: Both 3-6 overall, both 3-0 in the NVL Brass Division
What's at stake: Simply put, a NVL Brass Division title. Both teams come into the contest with 3-0 records in a division. A win here means a title.
What happened last year: Kennedy won going away, 55-20 on Friday morning at Snyder Field. The game was played on Friday because of inclement weather.
Key to the game: Ball control is paramount for the Eagles, who will be trying to slow down a potent Bulldog attack. Junior quarterback Mike Marshall can throw the ball, and senior running back MC Henry has been good at running it. If Kennedy allows Crosby too many chances on offense, it could be a long day.
Crosby seniors (according to CIAC roster): Anastacio Acevedo, Emmanuel Camacho-Roman, Jermaine Coggins, Safet Daliposki, Jonathan Diaz, Rodney Eason, MC Henry, Aaron Hills, Devonte Hope, Blake Ireland, Wykeam Jackson, Matthew Jaffer, Isaiah Lilley, Alvin Lopes, James Maldonado, Anthony Mancini, Jovani Mercado-Rios, Troy Nixon, Leonard Ortiz, Jonathan Serrano
Kennedy seniors (according to CIAC roster): Jose Cardona, Jordan Crosby-Williams, Christian Curry, Bryan Garcia-Medina, Justin Gopie, Al Jean-Baptiste, Jameel Norwood, Joshua Rivera

Holy Cross at Wolcott, 10:30 a.m. at Joe Monroe Field, Wolcott
Records: Wolcott 6-3, Holy Cross 2-7
What's at stake: The host Eagles want to end their season on a positive note after being eliminated from the Class S state playoff picture following back-to-back losses to Seymour and Ansonia. 
The same goes for the Crusaders, who have had a rough season. Holy Cross has lost six straight games.
It has been a much rougher season of late off the field for the Crusaders. They lost a teammate, a classmate and a friend when Hunter Albee passed away at his home on Nov. 16. Albee was a senior on the football team and was just 17 years old. Here is a moving tribute to Albee by two of his classmates
For Holy Cross, there's much more going on right now than football. If anything, the game could prove to be a good distraction for the Crusaders during a time of unimaginable grief.
What happened last year: Wolcott won 28-21 at Snyder Field on its way to the Class M-Small Division playoffs. The Eagles were eliminated in the semifinals by Ledyard.
Keys to the game: The last three games have been tough for the Wolcott defense. The Eagles must not let a struggling Crusader offense gain any momentum in this game.
For Holy Cross, it's attempting to slow down Wolcott's attack. The Eagles have run the ball very well at times this season with senior Nate Filippone (89 rushes, 1,048 yards, 14 TD) behind a strong offensive line. Wolcott is sure to try to establish the run again. Also look out for senior quarterback Rocky Griffin, who has been efficient this season when he has been asked to throw the ball (60.7 percent completions, 1,442 yards, 16 TD, 4 INT). 
Holy Cross seniors (according to CIAC roster): Justin Witherspoon, Zach Mason, Ryan Pierce, Andrew Dzinski, Austin Callaway, Nick Lomando, Aaron Velasquez, Tyler Cremin, Jonathan Buscarello, Mason Wickline, Jeff Nobrega
Wolcott seniors (according to CIAC roster): Jacob Ramos, Anthony Mennillo, Damon Stefko, Robert "Rocky" Griffin, Jacob Gabriel, Brad Grasso, Nate Fillipone, Matthew DeFazio, Christopher Giuggio, Alexander Tapley, Jase Trelli, Phil Olmstead, Robert Pisani, Brendan Brown, Kyle Dunn, Cole Phelps, Christopher Spring, Justin Nadeau, Ryan Pawlak, Christopher Maisto, Brandon Romano

Bristol Central at Bristol Eastern, 10:30 a.m., Muzzy Field, Bristol
Records: Bristol Central 6-3 (2-2 CCC Division II-West), Bristol Eastern 1-8 (1-3 CCC Division II-West)
What's at stake: A second straight 7-3 season for the Rams. A win would also be for the first for Central over Eastern since 2005. After tying at 14-14 in 2006, the Lancers have claimed victory in the last eight meetings. The Rams lead the all-time series 31-23-2.
What happened last year: Eastern won 20-18 in a game played Saturday because of inclement weather during the week. It was the final game for Lancer head coach Mike Archangelo.
Keys to the game: The Rams need to stop the double-wing offense of the Lancers, but also be weary of trick plays. Eastern has run a few for some huge gains this season.
For Eastern, it's slow down whatever combination of Noah Cruz/Isaiah Miller and Luis Medina that Central throws at it. Miller has stepped in for Cruz at quarterback while the senior has dealt with an injury, and the sophomore has acquitted himself pretty well. Medina is a a threat to put up a big game as well.
Emotions always run high in this game. Central wants to end its long losing streak to Eastern, but it must keeps its emotions in check, play its game, and avoid costly penalties and turnovers.
Bristol Central seniors (according to Central Connecticut Conference website roster): Denzel Davis, J.J. Quiles, Noah Cruz, Tyshaun Rodriguez, Shane Oxton, Kesean Milward, Deion Francis, Josh Moxam, Kevin Hanning, Krzysztof Nizielski, Brandon Serrano, Tyler Boi, Brad Burney
Bristol Eastern seniors (according to CCC website roster): Willie Bonaparte, Anthony Circosta, Joey Colangelo, Dante Collins, Ronte Cooper, Josh DiMattia, Alex Hunter, Riley Mason, Garrett McCarthy, Reese McGowan, Josh O'Keefe, Danny Portal, Luis Rivera, Kerion Rogers, Josh Sampson, Darieyn Tate, Zach Thompson

Saturday, November 21, 2015

"A trip down 69": Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015

Hello, I'm bringing "A trip down 69" to you a day early, so here it goes.

Bristol Eastern girls volleyball has another successful season
Yes, the Lancers lost in the Class L state semifinal for the third straight season, but look beyond that and you see a team that accomplished an awful lot.
Eastern went undefeated in its newly redesigned division and lost just twice in the regular season to a pair of Class L state semifinalists. The Lancers earned a No. 6 seed in Class L. Eastern played a pair of matches at home and won in the second and quarterfinal rounds of the tournament. The Lancers nearly rallied from a two sets to none deficit in the state semifinal against Platt, only to fall in a close fifth set.
Eastern got valiant efforts out of several different players during the Platt match. One was senior Angela Daley, who had 22 kills and seven digs in her final match. Senior Megan Gettings had 11 kills, 12 digs and seven aces. Senior Bailey Wyrebek tallied 32 digs while junior Jessica Kenney passed out 35 assists. Fellow junior Hannah Langlais had 11 digs and two aces.
Eastern finished the season with a record of 18-4. The Lancers lose Wyrebek, Kamryn McLaughlin, Paisley Tucker, Chyna Barrett, Daley, Gettings and Brittany Soleck to graduation. Don't be surprised if Eastern makes another long tournament run next year. It seems to be their MO under coach Stacy Rivoira.

Great run for Holy Cross girls soccer
Coach Mike Mentone couldn't have asked for anything more from his team during a Class S state tournament run.
The Crusaders did get knocked out by Old Lyme in the semifinals, but not before putting together a plethora of exciting tournament moments. For the first three matches of Class S, Holy Cross had late magic. There were two second half goals against Litchfield in the first round and penalty kick victories over Windsor Locks and top-seeded Housatonic in the second and quarterfinal rounds.
The Crusaders finished the season with a record of 14-5-2. Holy Cross graduates Sarah Innes, Taylor Gilmore, Kylie Rice, Caitlin Gobstein, Catherine Melchionne and Jordan Gilmore.

Locals compete in State Open swim meet
Swimmers from St. Paul and Sacred Heart took their best shots against the top competition that Connecticut had to offer Saturday at the State Open at Yale University's Kiphuth Exhibition Pool.
St. Paul senior Kim Hylan finished ninth in the 200-yard freestyle and 10th in the 100 freestyle. Fellow senior Sarah Bowes was 21st in the 50 freestyle.
For Sacred Heart, junior Erin Brown placed 16th in the 100 backstroke.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Kaynor Tech news: Panthers unveil new indoor track program

Kaynor Tech will debut its new indoor track team during the winter season.
The announcement of the new team was made Friday via the Kaynor Tech athletics Twitter account. Boys and girls are eligible to participate on the team.
Indoor track becomes the third winter sport at Kaynor Tech. The other two sports are boys basketball and girls basketball.

On Tuesday, Kaynor Tech announced its All-Constitution State Conference athletes for the 2015 fall season. Senior Ruben Martinez and sophomore Pierce Blum made it for boys soccer while junior Roza Pine was picked for volleyball. For cross country, senior Lauren Duggan made the all-league team, as did junior Cassie Couture, junior Jillian Ducham, freshman Hannah Stoveken and freshman Tyler Roger.
The girls cross country team won the CSC championship while both the boys soccer and girls volleyball squads made the state tournament.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Great run comes to an end for Bristol Eastern girls volleyball

The Bristol Eastern girls volleyball team made a valiant comeback attempt against Platt on Thursday night, but they came up just short in a 3-2 Class L state semifinal loss at the Sports and Medical Sciences Academy in Hartford.
The No. 6 Lancers lost the first two sets, 21-25 and 19-25, to the No. 7 Panthers. Eastern was in trouble, but it rallied to take the third and fourth sets by scores of 25-23 and 25-17 to even the match. It all came down to the fifth and deciding set, and the Panthers had just enough to hold off the Lancers.
Platt moves on to the state final, where it will face either No. 1 RHAM or No. 5 Farmington on Saturday at 4 p.m. at Berlin High School.
Eastern ends it season with a record of 18-5 and a fourth straight appearance in the state semifinals. The Lancers graduate Bailey Wyrebek, Angela Daley, Megan Gettings, Kamryn McLaughlin, Paisley Tucker, Brittany Soleck and Chyna Barrett.

Bristol Eastern girls volleyball takes on Platt in Class L semifinals this evening

Bristol Eastern girls volleyball looks to get back to the state final for the first time since 2012 when it faces Platt this evening in a Class L state semifinal match.
The No. 6 Lancers and No. 7 Panthers are scheduled to start their match at 5 p.m. at Sports and Medical Sciences Academy in Hartford. Not only were Eastern and Platt close in the 'L' rankings, they were also close on the court in their one matchup of the season.
On Sept. 30, the teams met at Platt High School in Meriden. Eastern won the match 3-2 (set scores of 25-15, 25-17, 24-26, 23-25, 15-13). The Lancers remained unbeaten at the time while the Panthers suffered their first loss of the year. 
A quartet of seniors had a big night for Eastern in that match. Angela Daley (15 kills, 25 serve receives, 11 digs, 4 aces), Megan Gettings (14 kills, 11 digs, 4 aces), Chyna Barrett (11 kills) and Bailey Wyrebek (32 digs, 30 serve receives, 2 aces) were all huge in the win. It wasn't just the seniors who came up big. Junior Jessica Kenney passed out 38 assists, junior Hannah Langlais tallied nine digs and and junior Mikayla Martin added four aces in what was a team effort.
Eastern should hope for more of the same this evening if it wants to beat Platt and move on to the state final. Here's a little more on the matchup:

Bristol Eastern: first round bye; defeated No. 11 E.O. Smith 3-0 (25-16, 25-11, 25-16); defeated No. 14 Avon 3-0 (25-16, 25-16, 25-23)
Platt: first round bye; defeated No. 10 East Lyme 3-0 (25-18, 25-13, 25-23); defeated No. 2 Fitch 3-2 (25-17, 25-11, 21-25, 21-15, 15-12)

Bristol Eastern and Platt meet in the semifinals this evening, but they have played each other twice before in state championship matches. In 1986, Platt defeated Eastern 3-0 for the Class M title, according to results provided by the CIAC. In 1987, Eastern returned the favor with a 3-0 win of its own. Platt made the final six straight years from 1985-1990. Eastern went to the finals three straight years from 2005-2007.
Eastern has five straight championships on its ledger, the last in 2012. Platt has four state titles, with the last one coming in 1990.

The winner of Bristol Eastern/Platt faces the winner of No. 1 RHAM and No. 5 Farmington on Saturday in the Class L state final at 4 p.m. at Berlin High School.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Bristol Eastern girls finish 11th in Class L swimming and diving

Swimmers from Bristol Eastern and Bristol Central competed in the always tough Class L state championship meet on Wednesday night at Wesleyan University's Freeman Athletic Center in Middletown.
When it was all said and done, Darien won the team title with 863 points, followed by New Canaan with 712.5. Bristol Eastern finished 11th out of 19 with 138 points while Central was 18th with 47 points.
Eastern's best finish came in the 200-yard medley relay, where it took seventh place (team of senior Jaime Mitchell, freshman Brianna Ogonowski, junior Georgia Ogonowski and senior Olivia Bart). The best individual finish from the Lancers was courtesy of Bart, who took 13th in the 50 freestyle.
Central took 17th place in the 200 freestyle relay (team of senior Madison Pechulis, senior Olivia Pechulis, sophomore Sydney Pina and sophomore Meghan Curtis).

Bristol Eastern's 200 medley relay is tied for the second alternate spot going into Saturday's State Open. 
St. Paul seniors Kim Hylan and Sarah Bowes each qualified for the Open with their solid efforts in the Class S meet. Hylan is seeded seventh in the 200 freestyle and 11th in the 100 freestyle. Bowes is seeded 22nd in the 50 freestyle.
Sacred Heart junior Erin Brown is seeded 11th in the 100 backstroke. 
State Open diving takes place tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. at Middletown High School. State Open swimming will begin at noon on Saturday at Yale University's Kiphuth Exhibition Pool in New Haven.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Sacred Heart girls take third at Class S swim meet

The Sacred Heart girls swimming and diving team finished in third place at the Class S championships for the second straight season.
The Hearts were third behind champion Weston and second place East Catholic after Tuesday night's meet at Wesleyan University's Freeman Athletic Center in Middletown.
Several other local teams and swimmers competed on Tuesday. St. Paul took 13th place, Holy Cross was 17th, Wolcott was 23rd and Kaynor Tech was 27th. In the case of both Wolcott and Kaynor Tech, it was just individual swimmers competing (neither school has a swim team).
Junior Erin Brown provided Sacred Heart's best finish of the night when she second in the 100-yard backstroke. The Hearts also got a third place finish out of their 400 freestyle relay (team of senior Alizabeth Sullivan, junior Abby Walsh, Brown and senior Kiersten Snyder).
St. Paul saw two seniors put together strong efforts. Kim Hylan was second in the 100 freestyle and third in the 200 freestyle. Sarah Bowes was second in the 50 freestyle and fifth in the 100 freestyle. The Falcon 200 freestyle relay finished seventh (team of freshman Molly Guglielmino, Bowes, junior Morgan Middleton and Hylan).
For Holy Cross, sophomore Maddie Mowad placed sixth in the 100 breaststroke. The Crusaders also took sixth in the 200 freestyle relay (team of sophomore Aiyana Ward, freshman Hannah Brown, freshman Allie Brown and Mowad).
Wolcott senior Carrington Conner was seventh in the 100 butterfly and 14th in the 200 IM. Kaynor Tech senior Jaime Boulier took 13th in the 500 freestyle and 14th in the 200 freestyle.

Bristol Eastern and Bristol Central will swim in the Class L championship meet tomorrow at 7 p.m. at Wesleyan.

Root wins Rookie of the Year, named first team All-CACC

Former Bristol Eastern standout Brianna Root has had an amazing first season in the Post University women's volleyball program.
The two-time Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Rookie of the Week added a pair of much bigger honors to her list Monday. Root was named CACC Rookie of the Year, and she was chosen for the All-CACC First Team. Junior teammate Skylar German also earned first team honors while being tabbed as the CACC Player of the Year for the second straight season, according to a press release posted on the Post volleyball team's website.
All Root has done in her freshman season is lead the Eagles in assists with 1,146. That total puts Root 16th, yes 16th, in all of Division II of the NCAA. A remarkable statistic, especially from a freshman. Root also had 272 digs, 33 blocks and 17 service aces.
Root recorded two of Post's highest single-match assist totals since the program joined the NCAA. One of those totals was a ridiculous 61 in a 3-2 victory over Southern New Hampshire University on Sept. 15 at the Drubner Center in Waterbury.
Root is a big reason why Post has had a successful season to date. The Eagles went 22-9 in the regular season, including a 15-4 mark in the CACC that gave them the top seed in the tournament.
Defending tournament champion Post opens the 2015 CACC postseason slate with a match tonight at 7 against Holy Family at the Drubner Center.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Holy Cross girls soccer sees season come to an end against Old Lyme

In a 10-minute span of the second half, Holy Cross girls soccer's dreams of a Class S state championship went up in smoke against Old Lyme on Monday night.
That's how long it took the No. 5 Wildcats to score four goals and grab a commanding lead in a 4-0 victory over the No. 8 Crusaders in a semifinal matchup at Middletown High School's Rosek-Skubel Stadium.
Holy Cross saw its great season come to an end one match short of the final. The Crusaders finish a great season with a record of 14-5-2.
Holy Cross graduates Sarah Innes, Taylor Gilmore, Kylie Rice, Caitlin Gobstein and Catherine Melchionne. Keeper Katherine Flaherty (currently a junior) and Kiley Harnish (sophomore) will be among those back to lead the Crusaders next year.
Old Lyme will play No. 18 Notre-Dame Fairfield on Saturday at a time and place to be determined.

Holy Cross vs. Old Lyme: The matchup

Tonight at 6:30, No. 8 Holy Cross and No. 5 Old Lyme vie for a spot in the Class S state final at Middletown High School's Rosek-Skubel Stadium.
Here's something quick about the Crusaders and the Wildcats:

The Crusaders finished the regular season with a 11-3-2 record. Holy Cross lost its NVL Tournament quartefinal match, but the Crusaders seem to have figured out what went wrong.
Late-match magic
Holy Cross had an answer for each of its three Class S opponents, and all of them have been in the second half or on penalty kicks. The Crusaders scored two goals in the second half of a 2-0 first round win over No. 25 Litchfield, then used penalty kicks to down No. 24 Windsor Locks (3-2 final, 4-2 penalty kicks). 
There was more drama for Holy Cross in the quarterfinal, and this time it came against top-seeded Housatonic. The match was scoreless through 80 minutes of regulation and 20 minutes of overtime, meaning penalty kicks were again necessary. The Crusaders took down the Mountaineers 3-2 in PKs to claim a 1-0 victory.
If Holy Cross makes the final...
It would be the fourth appearance all-time for the Crusaders, who are 0-3 in three previous trips (1997, 2005, 2006). All of Holy Cross' finals appearances were in Class M. This would be the first time the Crusaders have made it in Class S.

The Wildcats went 12-2-2 in the regular season, then worked their way through the Shoreline Conference Tournament for a third straight title. 
Old Lyme earned a No. 5 seed and a first round bye, thanks to its strong regular season. The Wildcats defeated No. 21 East Windsor 4-1, then snuck past No. 4 Coventry on the road by a 2-1 count in the quarterfinals.
If Old Lyme makes the final...
It would be the fifth appearance all-time for the Wildcats. Old Lyme shared a Class S co-championship with Immaculate in 2009 and lost in its other three appearances (1985, 1995, 2004). All of Old Lyme's finals appearances have come in Class S.

Both Holy Cross and Old Lyme faced East Hampton, a member of the Shoreline Conference, during the regular season. Ironically, the Crusaders and Wildcats faced East Hampton within a three-day span in September. Holy Cross battled to a scoreless tie on Sept. 23 at East Hampton while Old Lyme tied 2-2 at Old Lyme.

A beautiful facility with a turf field, this venue has been the site of state tournament games all the way up to the finals. The field is located behind the school on LaRosa Lane. The school's website says to use 670 Newfield Street for GPS purposes. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

'A trip down 69': Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015

State tournament matchups took place throughout the state this past week and were the focus of many high school sports fans. I'll talk about some of those, along with some football. Let's start in Bristol:

Bristol Eastern girls volleyball back in state semifinals
The No. 6 Lancers advanced to the Class L state semifinals for the fourth straight year with a 3-0 win over No. 14 Avon on Saturday at Bristol Eastern High School. Seniors Angela Daley (14 kills), Megan Gettings (14 kills), Chyna Barrett (6 kills) and Paisley Tucker (5 kills) led the way. Daley and junior Hannah Langlais had four aces apiece while senior Bailey Wyrebek and junior Jessica Kenney had two aces each. Kenney dished out 33 assists while Wyrebek led the way with 14 digs. Those stats were put up on by Eastern volleyball.
Eastern will face No. 7 Platt Thursday night in a semifinal at a place and time to be determined.

St. Paul football loses overtime thriller to Torrington
The Falcons forged a late 38-38 fourth quarter tie against the Red Raiders by scoring a touchdown and getting a two-point conversion with 22 seconds to play. In overtime, Torrington was able to score, then stop St. Paul on its lone overtime possession to pull out a 46-38 victory. The Red Raiders unofficially clinched a Class L state tournament berth with the win. The Falcons hope to clinch a .500 season in their finale when they host Oxford on Thanksgiving Eve at 6 p.m.

Bristol Central football wins third straight game
The Rams took down East Hartford 14-6 on Friday night at Muzzy Field for their third straight win. Bristol Central improved to 6-3 on the season and can finish with a second consecutive campaign of 7-3 with a win over city rival Bristol Eastern in the annual Battle for the Bell on Thanksgiving morning at 10:30 at Muzzy.
The Rams will be looking to snap an eight-game losing streak against the Lancers. Central last beat Eastern in 2005 by a score of 20-7. The teams tied at 14 in 2006, and it's been all Lancers since then. The Rams hope to change that and complete what has been another successful season.

Wolcott football needs help to reach postseason
The Eagles' Class S state playoff hopes took two sharp blows in the last two weeks with losses to Seymour (61-41) and Ansonia (49-7 Friday night). Wolcott (6-3) is ranked No. 13 in Class S, and while still alive for a playoff spot, it needs plenty of help. The Eagles need to take care of business against Holy Cross on Thanksgiving morning, then see where the chips fall after that.

Legendary Crosby coach Augelli inducted into Waterbury Hall of Fame
Crosby boys basketball head coach Nick Augelli added Hall of Famer to his long list of accolades on Saturday.
Augelli was inducted into the Waterbury Hall of Fame, along with Frederick LaBreque, M.D.; Donna Palomba; Timothy Porter; Sheryl Lee Ralph and John Miles Stocking. The ceremony was held at the Mattatuck Museum on Saturday afternoon. The Hall of Fame is made up of diverse nominees, ranging from sports figures to war heroes to historians.
Augelli, who recently had the Crosby Palace's court named after him, has certainly had a legendary career with the Bulldogs. He has been a positive influence on many of Waterbury's youth, and he continues to do so.

Holy Cross girls soccer's amazing run continues
The No. 8 Crusaders have made a remarkable run to the Class S state semifinals. The last two wins came in dramatic fashion on penalty kicks, including an upset of top-seeded Housatonic on Friday.
Holy Cross takes on No. 5 Old Lyme tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. at Rosek-Skubel Stadium on the campus of Middletown High School. The winner faces the winner of No. 18 Notre-Dame Fairfield and No. 11 Bolton on Friday or Saturday at a time and place to be determined for the state championship.

Crosby needs one more win for Brass Division title
The Bulldogs took down Wilby 34-14 on Saturday at Ray Snyder Sr. Field to improve to 3-0 in the Naugatuck Valley League's Brass Division. Kennedy also has a 3-0 mark in the division, which means that their annual Thanksgiving morning game at Snyder Field (10:30 a.m.) will be for the Brass title. The thought of winning a division title certainly adds some spice to the game. 

As always, if you have something you would like to see in next week's edition of 'A trip down 69', you can email me at

You can also tweet at me at @sportsonct69 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Mallory one of leaders of SCSU men's basketball

The No. 19 nationally ranked Southern Connecticut State men's basketball team started their season with a 99-69 win over Dominican College on Saturday in Bridgeport.
As expected, junior Michael Mallory was right in the middle of it for the Owls. The former Holy Cross High School standout had 14 points, six assists and three steals in 33 minutes of play. Mallory was a leader last year and is expected to do the same this year. Mallory was a preseason All-American selection by The Basketball Times and The Sporting News, according to SCSU's website.
Wolcott's own Michael Bozzuto, also a junior, got a chance to play two minutes and made the most of it by draining his only shot attempt, a 3-pointer. 
SCSU was led by senior Desmond Williams, who game highs of 28 points and 11 rebounds to go along with five assists and two steals in 28 minutes. Williams is certainly familiar to Holy Cross and Wolcott fans, given that he starred at Torrington High School.
SCSU continues play in the Bridgeport Tournament tomorrow with a game against the University of Bridgeport.

Nicol ends the WCSU season with good performance, victory

Former Wolcott standout Michael Nicol accounted nearly 200 yards of offense in Western Connecticut State football's 63-42 win over Westfield State University on Friday night in Danbury.
The junior ran the ball 22 times for 147 yards and a touchdown. Nicol also caught five passes for 48 yards and another touchdown.
For the season, Nicol ran for 1,139 yards and 14 touchdowns, both tops on the team. He averaged 4.9 yards per rush and fumbled just once. The converted quarterback also passed 11 times, completing eight of them for 84 yards. Nicol finished third on the team in catches with 30 for 273 yards and one touchdown.
Sophomore defensive end Bryan Ballenilla (Wilby High School) finished the year with a team-leading 11 sacks. He was third on the team in tackles with 49, and he also forced two fumbles.
Seniors CJ McIntosh (Holy Cross) and Oscar Jean-Baptiste (Kennedy) played in their final games in a WCSU uniform. The Colonials finished the season with a record of 5-5.

UPDATED: Bristol Eastern girls volleyball headed to semifinals for fourth straight year

It may seem commonplace. It may get to the point that people take it for granted.
Another year, another appearance in the state semifinals for Bristol Eastern girls volleyball. No matter who's playing for the Lancers, head coach Stacy Rivoira always seems to have them prepared and playing their best in the postseason. Eastern has had a tremendous run of success, and it continues in 2015.
The Lancers, the No. 6 seed, clinched their fourth straight trip to Class L's final four by sweeping No. 14 Avon 3-0 on Saturday afternoon at Bristol Eastern High School. The set scores were 25-16, 25-16, 25-23.
Big matches from seniors Paisley Tucker, Megan Gettings, Bailey Wyrebek and Angela Daley were key to Eastern's strong effort.
With the win, the Lancers will play No. 7 Platt Thursday night in a semifinal at a place and time to be determined. Platt took down No. 2 Fitch 3-2 (25-17, 25-11, 21-25, 21-25, 12-15).
On the other side, top-seeded RHAM takes on No. 5 Farmington in a rematch of last year's Class L championship, won by Farmington.
The semifinals are Thursday night, and it should be to no one's surprise that Bristol Eastern is one of the four remaining teams.

CIAC State Tournament Day 5: Friday, Nov. 13, 2015

They did it again.
For the second straight state tournament match, the Holy Cross girls soccer team had to go to penalty kicks after regulation and overtime didn't see a break in the deadlock. And for the second straight match, the Crusaders were better in penalty kicks and won the match.
This time, No. 8 Holy Cross stunned top-seeded Housatonic 1-0 (3-2 PK) in front of a large crowd of pro-Housy fans at Housatonic Valley Regional High School in Falls Village. 
One of the biggest shockers today was the zero put up by the Crusader defense against one Lauren Segalla. Segalla is one of the preeminent goal scorers around, but Holy Cross shut her down.
Once again, the Waterbury Republican-American was great with video coverage, and you can catch that on their website, "The Zone." 
Holy Cross moves on to the Class S quarterfinals, where it will play No. 5 Old Lyme. Old Lyme took down No. 4 Coventry 2-1. Holy Cross and Old Lyme play on Monday at 6:30 p.m. on the turf of Rosek-Skubel Stadium at Middletown High School.
The Crusaders are one step closer to the state final, and they got there in dramatic fashion.

Saturday's note:
No. 6 Bristol Eastern girls volleyball looks to keep its Class L state tournament run going when it hosts No. 14 Avon in a quarterfinal match at 1 p.m. at Bristol Eastern High School.
The Lancers had a first round bye, then took out No. 11 E.O. Smith 3-0 to move into the quarterfinal round. 
In the win over E.O. Smith, Eastern senior Angela Daley had 12 kills while fellow senior Megan Gettings added 11. Senior Chyna Barrett chipped in eight kills. Daley had four aces while Gettings and junior Jessica Kenney tallied three each. Daley and senior Bailey Wyrebek had 11 digs apiece. Kenney dished out 34 assists on the night.
The Falcons beat No. 19 Sacred Heart Academy 3-0 in the first round, then upset No. 3 Torrington 3-1 in the second round.
The winner advances to the semifinals, which will played on Thursday at a site and time to be determined.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Sacred Heart's Mustapha Heron on his way to Auburn

Sacred Heart boys basketball standout Mustapha Heron signed on the dotted line Thursday to play for the Auburn Tigers of the Southeastern Conference.
Heron made his commitment official by signing a National Letter of Intent. Heron is a five-star recruit according to several different basketball outlets, and he's ranked in the Top 25 in the country by those same organizations, according to a story posted on the Auburn men's basketball website.
Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl certainly seems excited about landing Heron, who led a dominant Sacred Heart to an undefeated state championship and No. 1 ranking last year.
"Mustapha is a program changer," Pearl told "Mustapha was one of two of three players this summer whom I enjoyed watching more than anybody. You talk about productive, impossible to stay in front of, vicious at the rim, explosive with either hand, tremendous range in his jump shot, willing defender, leader and mature beyond his years."
High praise from the coach of a Division I college basketball program. There's still one more year of high school basketball left for Heron at Sacred Heart as the Hearts try to go for a three-peat. Heron is obviously the big name returning, but he'll also have junior Tyrn Flowers alongside him. Flowers has solid skills as a big wing and could certainly be a Division I player as well.
Sacred Heart will play in Class M in the state tournament this year, thanks to the CIAC's success in tournament factor. The Hearts open the season at Wilby on Dec. 21 at 7 p.m. 
Of note, Sacred Heart will play in two big tournaments this year. First up is the annual Spaulding Hoop Hall Classic at Springfield College on Jan. 16. On Jan. 18, the Hearts go to the Big Apple Classic at Baruch College in New York.

CIAC State Tournament Day 4: Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015

Two teams competed in state tournament action on Thursday. One moved on while the other went home. Here's how the day went:

No. 6 Bristol Eastern 3, No. 11 E.O. Smith 0: The Lancers knocked off their foes from the Central Connecticut Conference in straight sets in a Class L second round match at Bristol Eastern High School.
The set scores were 25-16, 25-11 and 25-16. Eastern (17-3) advances to play No. 14 Avon (16-6), which upended No. 3 Torrington 3-1 (25-12, 15-25, 28-26, 25-19) at Torrington High School. The match will be played Saturday at 6 p.m. at Bristol Eastern High School, though it may get moved up.

No. 8 Somers 2, No. 9 St. Paul: The Falcons were ousted in a Class S second round match at Somers High School.
St. Paul's senior class had a solid run of success in their four years together and formed a strong bond.
"Pleasure playing alongside these gents the past 4 years," wrote senior keeper and captain Zach Federowicz in an Instagram post that included fellow seniors Jackson Hines and Brian Rackliffe. "Best of luck in the future boys."
"And my last four years of soccer are in the books," Rackliffe wrote on Twitter. "Hell of a run my brothers, it was an honor playing along side you boys this season."
The Falcons finish their season with a record of 11-7-1.

Tomorrow's notes:
The No. 8 Holy Cross girls soccer team attempts to continue its run in the Class S state tournament against top-seeded Housatonic. The quarterfinal match is scheduled for 2 p.m. at Housatonic Valley Regional High School in Falls Village. 
The Crusaders got to the quarterfinals with wins over No. 25 Litchfield (2-0) and No. 24 Windsor Locks (3-2, PK 4-2). The Mountaineers had a first round bye, then smoked No. 17 Coginchaug 6-1 in the second round.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

CIAC State Tournament Day 3: Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015

For three area girls soccer teams, it was the second round of the state tournament on Wednesday. One team won in dramatic fashion while two others saw their seasons come to an end. Here's more:

No. 8 Holy Cross 3, No. 24 Windsor Locks 2 (PK 4-2): The Crusaders certainly gave their home fans something to cheer about in a Class S second round match that was moved to Municipal Stadium from the high school.
Senior Jordan Gilmore clinched the match with her goal in the penalty kick phase. Holy Cross also picked up goals from senior Kylie Rice, freshman Madison Bushka and sophomore Kiley Harnish during penalty kicks, according to results posted on the "The Zone", which is the Waterbury Republican-American's website. You can watch the whole shootout on "The Zone".
With the dramatic win, Holy Cross (13-4-2) advances to the quarterfinals, where it will face top-seeded Housatonic (16-1). The Mountaineers blasted No. 17 Coginchaug 6-1 on Wednesday. The match is scheduled for 2 p.m. at Housatonic Valley Regional High School in Falls Village.
No. 4 Coventry 6, No. 13 St. Paul 1: The Falcons were overpowered by the Patriots in their Class S second round tilt at Coventry High School.
St. Paul saw its strong season come to an end with a final record of 10-8-1.
No. 26 Bethel 1, No. 10 Wolcott 0: The Eagles were stunned at home by their South-West Conference foe in their Class M second round matchup.
Wolcott saw its solid season end with a record of 12-5-2.
Bethel will face No. 2 Lewis Mills on Friday in the quarterfinal round.

Tomorrow's notes:
The No. 9 St. Paul boys soccer team goes on the road for a 2 p.m. Class S second round match against No. 8 Somers.
The Falcons enter the match with a 11-6-1 record. Somers went 10-5-1 during the regular season. St. Paul is the last local boys soccer team remaining in the tournament.
In girls volleyball, No. 6 Bristol Eastern (16-3) hosts No. 11 E.O. Smith (15-6) in a 6 p.m. match at Bristol Eastern High School. It's the first match of the Class L state tournament for the Lancers, who had a first round bye. Eastern and E.O. are both from the Central Connecticut Conference, but they didn't face each other during the regular season.