Monday, October 31, 2016

First game played on new turf at Bristol Central High School

The Bristol Central junior varsity football team had the privilege of being the first to play a game on the new turf at Bristol Central High School.

The Rams took on the E.O. Smith JV contingent on a sunny, blue Halloween afternoon.

"First game on new Turf," read a tweet on the Bristol Central athletics Twitter account. "BC JV football up 6-0 against EO Smith at the half."

You can see photographic proof to the right of this post, via the Bristol Central athletics Twitter account.

Bristol Central's varsity football program was the first to practice on the new turf. 

The turf isn't the only new facet of the Ram home field. Lights have also been installed, meaning night games can be played here.

WEEK 8 FOOTBALL STATS: Bristol Central comes back for a big win

For starters...
Bristol Central got to 4-3 with a wild 20-19 victory over E.O. Smith at Muzzy Field.
The Rams won when Brett Adams converted the extra point following a two-yard touchdown run by Isaiah Miller. It was Miller's second touchdown run of the fourth quarter, and it was Adams' second point after of the game. Both came with no time left on the clock.
Miller had 56 yards rushing and two touchdowns. He was also 8-of-12 passing for 141 yards and one interception. Dathan Hickey had a 32-yard rushing touchdown.
Central trailed 19-7 in the fourth quarter before making its comeback. According to a report from Ned Griffen of The Day (New London), Adams missed the first extra point, but E.O. Smith was offside. Sometimes you need a little luck, but the Rams will take it.

Waterbury Career Academy slogs its way to big win
The Spartans improved to 4-3 -- a great mark for a first-year varsity program -- by taking a 26-14 win over the Derby Red Raiders last Thursday at Municipal Stadium.
Josiah Rivers scored on runs of 86 and 32 yards. Kyren Petteway scored from five yards out. WCA also scored a defensive touchdown with 2.5 seconds left in regulation for the final score.
The Spartans and Red Raiders played in rough conditions. An 86-yard run in those conditions is crazy, but Rivers pulled it off.

Sacred Heart/Kaynor Tech earns tough victory over Holy Cross
The co-op (4-3) earned a 37-32 win over the Crusaders last Friday night at Municipal Stadium.
Tyler Rudolph had a monster game against his former team. Rudolph had two touchdowns receiving and one rushing as he showed off a dynamic skill set.
Courie Stevenson caught a touchdown pass and Joel Guzman ran for a score.
It was a tough loss for Holy Cross (3-4), which has lost two straight after having a three-game winning streak.

Balance the word for St. Paul in Woodland win
The Falcons tallied 259 yards rushing in a 28-12 victory, and it was a team effort. 
Damien Rabis led in yards with 129 (one touchdown), but Chris Dionne (83 yards) had the most touchdowns with three. Joseph Aiello ran 14 times for 65 yards.
Outside of one fumble lost, St. Paul was an efficient machine. The Falcons were 4-for-9 on third down, but they were an even better 3-for-4 on fourth down.
Kevin Ashworth completed his lone pass attempt for 48 yards to Darek Wiecki.
On defense, St. Paul had 12 players with at least two tackles.
Jordan Silva had five tackles, and three went for a loss. Silva also had two sacks. Zach Parent led in tackles with six, two of which went for a loss. Parent also had a sack. Devon Dawson had five tackles.

Wolcott comes back, but loses to Oxford
The Eagles fell behind 18-0 to the Wolverines, but scored 18 points of their own to tie the game. Unfortunately for Wolcott, Oxford tallied the final 14 points in the fourth quarter to win 32-18.
Mike Polzella threw for 285 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Mike Ciarlo had an 81-yard touchdown reception as part of his five-catch, 111-yard effort. Ray Iorio had four grabs for 96 yards, Steve Urbanski caught four for 44 yards, and Anthony Ligi hauled in a 39-yard pass for a score. Ciarlo's touchdown made it 18-6, Ligi 18-12 and Iorio's one-yard run tied the game at 18.

Kennedy rally comes up just short
The Eagles near got all the way back after facing a 20-0 third quarter deficit, but the Red Raiders blocked a final field goal attempt to claim a 20-18 victory.
Kennedy got its touchdown runs of 1, 7 and 20 yards by Joey Schaff, Marc-Anthony Telusma and Jacob Colon. All three two-point conversion attempts were stuffed though. Colon led with 66 yards rushing, according to a story from Peter Wallace of The Register Citizen.

Bristol Eastern so close to first win
The Lancers got a 22-yard interception return for a touchdown by Ariza Kolloveria to tie the game at 14.
Like Kennedy, Bristol Eastern had a chance to win the game on a field goal, according to a story from Michael Woolfson of Central Connecticut Communications. Also like Kennedy, Eastern had its kick blocked. The Lancers went to overtime, and got a John McPhee field goal for a 17-14 lead. Unfortunately for Eastern, South Windsor answered with a touchdown and won 20-17.
Justin Marshall scored Eastern's other touchdown on a quarterback sneak.

Statistics compiled from various team Hudl accounts. Touchdowns from the WCA game courtesy of Bryan P. Baker's tweets.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

STATE CROSS COUNTRY MEETS: Bristol Central, Holy Cross and St. Paul boys all finish in Top 10

The CIAC cross country divisional championship races were held on Saturday at Wickham Park in Manchester.
Three local teams -- the Bristol Central, Holy Cross and St. Paul boys -- finished in the Top 10 in their respective classes. The area produced one Top 10 individual finisher, and two others cracked the Top 20.
Here are some highlights:

Kathryn Rodrigues, Wolcott -- The freshman finished 10th (ninth for team place) in the Class M race, which went off in the late morning. Wolcott was just outside the Top 10 as a team, placing 11th.
Hannah Stoveken, Kaynor Tech -- The sophomore took 16th place in the Class SS race, held earlier in the morning. Kaynor was 13th as a team.
Terrell Patterson, Kaynor Tech -- The senior came in 18th place in the Class M race. Kaynor was 18th as a team.

Bristol Central boys -- The Rams claimed ninth place in Class L, led by junior Matthew Roy and sophomore Devin Flores. Roy finished 29th overall while Flores placed 37th.
Holy Cross boys -- The Crusaders placed three runners in the Top 50 overall on the way to a ninth place finish in Class SS. Senior Chris Flynn was 32nd, junior Lucas Racevicius was 40th, and freshman Sam Henderlite took 46th.
St. Paul boys -- The Falcons were able to take 10th place in Class S. Freshman Aidan Reilly led the charge and finished 33rd overall.

Also of note: The Sacred Heart girls placed two runners in the Top 25 overall in Class S. Senior Rachel Guay finished 22nd while sophomore teammate Jenna French was 25th.

Wolcott girls soccer beats St. Paul, reaches NVL semifinal round (WITH PHOTO LINK)

Wolcott's Taylor Riviezzo (10) had the only goal of the match.
The NVL girls soccer tournament quarterfinal on Saturday between Wolcott and St. Paul could have gone in a couple different directions after Taylor Riviezzo's goal put the Eagles up 1-0.
 Riviezzo corralled a loose ball in front of the Falcon goal and put it home with 23:06 left in the first half. From there, Wolcott held off St. Paul for a 1-0 victory at a sometimes blustery Joe Monroe Field on the campus of Wolcott High School.
The Eagles will play in the semifinal round Tuesday night. The Falcons wait to see where they stand in the Class S state tournament.

St. Paul keeper Alessandra Milardo
keeps her eyes on Riviezzo's shot.
Now, about those different directions.
1. Wolcott runs away with the match

Riviezzo actually had several other chances to score. Two shots went over the crossbar, and another left-footed attempt was saved by St. Paul keeper Alessandra Milardo.
2. St. Paul gets an equalizer, and maybe more... 
The Falcons made some runs at the Eagle goal in the second half, and a couple nearly resulted in goals. One shot from Julia Dess dribbled just to the right of the near post with 23:23 left in regulation. At 21:08, Dess was at it again and clanked a low ball off the left post. At 19:48, Wolcott keeper Cynthia Dias was able to recover a dangerous loose ball in front of her goal. 
There was also a direct kick that sailed through 
the football uprights above the crossbar.

St. Paul's Julia Dess (40) put a couple scares
into Wolcott, but none resulted in a goal.
In the end, the match went 1-0 in favor of Wolcott. The closeness of the match comes as no surprise to anyone who knows what happened in the regular season meetings. On Sept. 19, Wolcott and St. Paul played to a 0-0 tie on the turf of Monroe Field. Just this past Wednesday, the Eagles beat the Falcons 2-1 at St. Paul Catholic High School. 

A few quick observations:
  • Wolcott moves the ball well on the ground: There were times where the Eagles were able to string together several passes. Those created some good opportunities. Of course, there's also good individual talent like Riviezzo and Megan Doubleday.
  • Davis and Dess are dangerous: St. Paul's Kendall Davis is very fast and can put on a counterattack in a heartbeat. Dess is pretty quick too, and he showed off some good ball skills.
  • Both teams could be tough outs in the state tournament: Wolcott and St. Paul played hard Saturday, especially in the second half. There was a lot of back and forth between the team, and each has weapons it can deploy on offense. There are also solid role players on the squads who do their part. 
Click here to see my photos from the match.

FOOTBALL ROUNDUP: Bristol Central wins with no time on the clock

If this is the last Friday night game Bristol Central football plays at Muzzy Field, what a way to go out.
The Rams tied their game with E.O. Smith at 19 on an Isaiah Miller touchdown run with all zeroes on the Muzzy Field clock. Brett Adams then stepped up and nailed the extra point -- no guarantee at the high school level -- setting off a wild celebration.
One week ago, Central had to deal with a tough 34-27 loss to Maloney where a pass in the final seconds was intercepted in front of the end zone.
This time around, the Rams picked up the tying score. Miller did the honors from two yards out. Adams, who missed a kick on a touchdown earlier in the fourth quarter, made this one to set off the celebration. Central improved to 4-3 with the win. The Class L playoff hopes of the Rams are still alive, though they have to keep winning. Central is 12th as of this post.
Dave Greenleaf, a Bristol Press correspondent and teacher at Bristol Central, reported that this may be the final Friday night game at Muzzy. If it is, there's no better ending.

The Eagles fell into a big 18-0 hole on the road in the battle of 5-1 teams. Oxford appeared headed for a knockout, but Wolcott responded with 18 straight points to tie the game. A pair of touchdown runs from Griffin Downs gave the Wolverines a 32-18 lead and shut down any hope of a big road win for the Eagles.
Oxford stands at 6-1 while Wolcott falls to 5-2.
No rest for the Eagles as the Naugatuck Greyhounds come to Joe Monroe Field next Friday.

The Falcons faced a challenge on the road from a winless but tough Hawks team, but the visitors were able to come away with the win. St. Paul improved to 5-2 on the season and kept its Class S state playoff hopes alive. The Falcons will need to keep winning, given they were in 12th in the standings.

A spirited battle took place between the co-op and the Crusaders on a windy night at Municipal Stadium. When it was over SH/KT claimed victory.
Holy Cross took a 18-14 lead into halftime after a penalty-ridden first half. SH/KT outscored Holy Cross 16-0 in the third quarter to claim a 30-18 lead. The co-op was able to hold off the Crusaders from there and claim victory. SH/KT improved to 4-3 with the win. Holy Cross dropped to 3-4.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Sacred Heart boys soccer headed to state tourney after seven-year drought

This is one scoreless tie Sacred Heart boys soccer will take in a heartbeat.
The Hearts and Kennedy Eagles played to a 0-0 draw Friday afternoon on the Ray Snyder Sr. Field turf at the Municipal Stadium complex. Sacred Heart needed one more point to clinch a Class S state tournament berth, and it got the point.
The Hearts finish the regular season with a record of 6-8-2.
You have to go back to 2009 to find the last time Sacred Heart appeared in the tournament. The Hearts went 9-6-1 in the regular season and earned the No. 12 seed in Class S that year. Sacred Heart made it all the way to the quarterfinal round.
Legend Johnson is the lone senior for Gianni Perugini's squad this season.
Here's the rest of the roster by class:

Juniors -- Andrew LaChance, Anthony Mirabilio-Mulhall, Isaac Gonzalez, Noah Knappe, Klediol Kaso, Evan Laferriere, Noah Fitzgerald, William Petrucci, Christopher Petro, Zachary Francisco, Nicholas Barrett, Garrett Jones, Noah Francisco, Larry Zapata

Sophomores -- Andrew Szmajlo, Jordan Grant, Christian Ramirez, Gabriel Melo, Adam Pepin, Marco Sanchez, Stratton Kepler, Jakob Laferriere, Evan Battiste, Mark Estes

Freshmen -- Alexandre Boland, Seth Drewry, Leandro Fernandez, Matthew Francisco, Edward Romero, Nicholas Warner

The roster is from the CIAC website.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

BETTER BELIEVE IT: Waterbury Career Academy football is 4-3

OK, so who outside of Waterbury Career Academy football and its supporters would have believed this first-year varsity program would be over .500 seven games into the season?
Go on, raise your hands. OK, now put them back down.
There couldn't have been too many people who thought the Spartans would have much success. The NVL can be tough to navigate, but the first-year program has surpassed expectations.
Believe it or not, WCA has had success. Not only that, the Spartans are over .500 with three games left in the season. WCA came from behind to beat Derby 26-14 in a sloppy game on a sloppy Municipal Stadium turf tonight.
With the win, the Spartans improve to 4-3.
The first half was a struggle for both teams. As PA announcer Bryan P. Baker put it on Twitter, there were more fumbles (7) than touchdowns (3) as Derby took a 14-6 lead into the half. 
WCA's lone first half touchdown came on an 82-yard run by Josiah Rivers, not an easy feat in the slick conditions.
A Rivers touchdown run late in the third quarter, this one from 32 yards out, brought the Spartans to within 14-12. A two-point conversion tied the game at 14.
WCA went ahead for good a little over midway through the fourth quarter on a five-yard run by Kyren Petteway. The Spartans added another score in the waning seconds for the final margin of victory.
WCA is 4-3. Repeat, WCA is 4-3. The Spartans own wins over Wilby, Crosby, Sacred Heart/Kaynor Tech and Derby.
WCA's last three games of the season -- all on the road -- are Watertown, Naugatuck and Gilbert/Northwestern. 

Touchdown information via the Twitter account of PA announcer Bryan P. Baker. Thanks as always Bryan!

Wolcott football takes on Oxford in first of two big games

Wolcott football is in a good position with a 5-1 record, but two big games come over the next two weeks.
The first one is Friday night at Oxford, also 5-1. If the Eagles get past the Wolverines, they'll have one loss going into a huge division home game against the Naugatuck Greyhounds.
First things first, though, and that's Oxford at 6 p.m. on Friday. Both teams are in the hunt for playoff berths, Wolcott in Class M and Oxford in 'S'.
What do the Wolverines do well?
Oxford is solid defensively. Seniors Dan Herold and Joe Romagna lead the Wolverines in tackles with 47 and 42. Six of Herold's tackles have gone for a loss, which is tied for the team lead with junior Wade Brooks. Herold and Romagna are linebackers, Brooks is a defensive lineman.
As a matter of fact, Oxford is pretty good at knocking opponents back for negative yardage. The Wolverines have a total of 36 tackles for a loss. Oxford also has 10 sacks as a team, led by two apiece from Herold and Brooks. The Wolverines give up an average of 11 points per game, and that's with a high of 34 in a 34-7 loss to Ansonia.
On offense, the Wolverines run the ball. Oxford has run 269 plays so far this season, and 222 are rushing attempts. Romagna is again the leader with 78 carries for 520 yards and nine touchdowns. Herold and senior Griffin Downs also carry the ball from time to time.
Oxford has completed just 18 of 47 passes, led by a 17-for-45 effort from senior Tyler Jacob.
The Wolverines average just over 30 points per game. 
What does Wolcott need to do to win this game?
  • Stop the run. If Oxford can't run the ball, it will have to go to the pass, where it has been much less successful.
  • Block the linebackers. The Wolverines have some good linebackers, and the Eagles can't allow them to continuously get into the backfield and cause problems.
  • Stretch the defense. Mike Polzella can open it up with the pass by finding targets like Steve Urbanski and Justin Fernandes. Doing so will only help the Eagles move the ball.
  • Don't hand out extra chances. Oxford's defense has forced just seven turnovers. Wolcott needs to make sure that number increases as little as possible.
Wolcott is more than capable of winning this game. The Eagles need to make sure they keep the Wolverines from going on extended drives. Leading tacklers Urbanski, Dylan Prescott and Bobby Stoeckert need to continue to do what they've been doing.
On offense, Wolcott should mix it up and look for big-play opportunities. Oxford's defense doesn't break often, so the Eagles need to take advantage of chances.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

WEEK 7 FOOTBALL STATS: Bristol Central finds success through the air in tough loss to Maloney

Bristol Central football has been known for years as a running team.
Sure there were the years of Matt Coyne and Aaron Hernandez, but the Rams have featured more of a running attack. 
Last Friday, Central went to the air more in a 34-27 loss to Maloney at Muzzy Field.
Isaiah Miller was 10-of-22 for 210 yards and two touchdown passes, one apiece to Connor Staubley and Justus Fitzpatrick. The Staubley connection was for 59 yards while the Fitzpatrick one went for 54 yards.
Miller ran for two scores as well, with his last one knotting the game at 27 in the third quarter. Unfortunately for Miller and the Rams, they didn't have enough to get past the Spartans.

Bristol Eastern
It has been a tough year for the Lancers, who lost 27-7 to Newington to fall to 0-6 on the season.
Eastern was tied at 7 with the hosts, but the Indians ripped off 20 straight points to pull away.

Back to work
After a bye week, area teams are back at it again this week.
The two local games Thursday at Crosby at Naugatuck and Derby at Waterbury Career Academy (Municipal Stadium). Both of those games start at 6 p.m.
There are several games Friday. Here's the list:

Wolcott at Oxford, 6 p.m.
E.O. Smith at Bristol Central (Muzzy Field), 6 p.m.
St. Paul at Woodland Regional, 6:30 p.m. 
Holy Cross at Sacred Heart/Kaynor Tech (Municipal Stadium), 7 p.m. 
Wilby at Watertown, 7 p.m. 

There are two more games on Saturday. Bristol Eastern plays at South Windsor while Kennedy hosts Torrington at Municipal Stadium. Both games start at 11 a.m. 

Bristol Central statistics from summary reported to the Hartford Courant.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

HIGH 5 OF THE WEEK: Senior volleyball stars Mihalek, Smith lead the way

Mihalek (ECSU athletics)
Adrianna Mihalek, Eastern Connecticut State University volleyball
The senior and former Holy Cross star has etched her name in the Warrior volleyball record book.
Mihalek became the school leader in career kills and attack attempts, and she did it in style on Seniors' Day. Mihalek recorded 12 kills -- she needed eight -- against Southern Maine on Saturday. She added 11 more kills against Salem State.
Mihalek also broke the school record for attack attempts on the same day. She has 1,397 kills and 4,053 attack attempts for her career.
There's also a great story about Mihalek on the ECSU website. Check it out here.

Karissa Smith, Western Connecticut State University volleyball
Smith (WCSU athletics)

Another college senior who is wrapping up a fantastic career is this former Bristol Eastern standout.
Smith put up a match-high 18 kills in a win over UMass-Dartmouth on Saturday, which was Senior Day for the Colonials. Smith was named Little East Offensive Player of the Week last week. She had 46 kills and 34 digs in what was a strong effort.
Smith has 382 kills and 304 digs on the season. Smith and WCSU take on Mihalek and ECSU tonight.

Namazi (Post athletics)
Sarah Namazi, Post University tennis
Though just a sophomore, the Kennedy graduate helped propel the Eagles into their first-ever Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference championship final.
Post lost in that final, 5-1 to Goldey-Beacom in Philadelphia.
Namazi was 10-5 in singles play during the regular season, including 6-1 in conference play. Namazi's best play came at No. 6 singles, where she was 10-2. 
Namazi was 9-6 overall as a doubles player. Namazi played most of her doubles matches with Jessica Bergen, and the duo was 7-4.
Namazi and Bergen combined for an 8-4 win in the CACC semifinals. Post beat Wilmington University 5-0 to advance to the final.

Johnson (Marist athletics)
Spencer Johnson, Marist College cross country
Johnson has been one of the best long distance runners in the history of the Red Foxes, according to a post on the school's website.
Johnson was recently awarded the Gregory J. Salamone Memorial Scholarship. He is the second recipient of the scholarship, named after a former school-record-setting runner who passed away from melanoma in 2014.
Johnson is a worthy recipient, according to Director of Track/Cross Country Pete Colaizzo.
"He embodies all of Greg's wonderful traits -- he's loyal to the team, he's dedicated to long-distance training and racing, and he is a high achieving student both in and out of the classroom," Colaizzo said in the story posted on Marist's website.
Johnson is a senior captain. He was a standout inside and outside the classroom at Bristol Central.

Cole Phelps, Central Connecticut State University football
Phelps (CCSU athletics)

Phelps is only a freshman with the Blue Devils, but he has seen playing time in the past two games.
Phelps played for the first time in a 25-21 home loss to Wagner College on Oct. 15. He played again last Saturday in a 33-25 loss at Coastal Carolina.
In the game against the Chanticleers, Phelps made his first tackle.
At Wolcott, Phelps was a leader on defense and offense as a senior. He led the team with 65 tackles, including 16 for a loss of yardage. Phelps also led the team in sacks with nine, an average of nearly one per game. On the offensive line, Phelps helped pave the way for another strong rushing attack, led by fellow senior Nate Filippone. 
Wolcott made the state playoffs during Phelps' freshmen and junior years.

Monday, October 24, 2016

St. Paul girls soccer having a banner year

The St. Paul Catholic girls soccer team won its seventh straight match this evening, continuing what has been a great season.
The Falcons defeated Torrington 6-2 on the road. With the win, St. Paul improved to 10-3-2 with one regular season match left. That match is Senior Night, Wednesday at 6 o'clock against Wolcott (10-1-4).
A post on the "SP Girls Soccer" Twitter account read like this:

This win makes it the best regular season record that St. Paul girls soccer have ever had.

How historic a season is this for the St. Paul girls? The Falcons are in the running for a good seed in the upcoming NVL and Class S state tournaments, and they have been in the thick of the NVL Brass Division race. St. Paul has had a great season -- historic even -- and it's not over.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Bristol Eastern girls soccer plays first turf games in city history

Friday was a historic night in Bristol Eastern and Mum City sports.
The Bristol Eastern varsity and junior varsity soccer teams played the first games on the school's new turf. They were also the first turf games in city history.
The JV went first at 3:45, then the varsity took the field at 6. The Lancers led their guests from Simsbury 1-0 at the half, but the Trojans rallied for a 2-1 victory.
"They worked hard and battled a quality team," Eastern head coach Scott Redman said.
Sophomore Kailey Laprise scored the first goal in the turf's varsity history on an assist from Myah Croze. Redman said Laprise is a good player for the team.
Hannah Richards started in goal for the Lancers but got hurt early in the first half. She was replaced by Karly Martin, who did a solid job. Defensively, Meredith Forman, Juliana Larue were the anchors, but they had help from Macy Fernance, Megan Perry and Miya Laprise.
On offense, Kailey Laprise and Croze led the charge.
Simsbury has played on turf for some time. The Trojans play on Holden Field, which was resurfaced before the season.
"It was definitely an advantage in that aspect for Simsbury," Redman said.
Once the Bristol schools get used to turf, it won't be an advantage. 
As for being the first to play on turf in Bristol, it was an exciting time for the Lancers.
"It was a nice moment for the girls," Redman said. "They were extremely excited for the opportunity to christen the new turf."
The Lancers would have loved to come away with the win, but they'll still be able to take the memory of a historic experience with them.

CROSS COUNTRY ROUNDUP: Bristol Central boys, Holy Cross boys and girls are top teams in their divisions

This was championship week for cross country teams throughout the area.

CCC South Blue Division boys
The Bristol Central boys brought home the lone championship, taking the CCC South Blue Division title. CCC races were held at Wickham Park in Manchester. The top finisher for the Rams was Matt Roy, who took second place. Bristol Eastern saw Harrison Dayton claim fourth place. Central also got a sixth place finish from Ben Funk and ninth from Devin Flores. Roy took 33rd in the overall CCC race.
Central and Newington tied with 43 team points, so the tiebreaker was the sixth runner for both sides. Kenneth Knox was 15th in the division race and Newington's Sal Scata was 20th.

CCC South Blue Division girls
Bristol Central took second place as a team behind Wethersfield. The top Ram was Paige Hinton, who claimed fourth place. Hannah Jones was fifth and Christi Peabody was eighth.  
Maggie Santacroce was Bristol Eastern's top runner, taking sixth overall. The Lancers finished third in the division.
Hinton took 78th in the overall CCC race.

NVL boys
Naugatuck won the team title, and Holy Cross was the best local finisher in fourth place. Kennedy, Waterbury Career Academy, St. Paul Catholic, Crosby and Wolcott finished seventh through 11th overall. Sacred Heart was 13th.
Kennedy's Kyle Hotchkiss finished second overall. Wilby's Bryan Oliveira was fourth, followed by Holy Cross' Chris Flynn in eighth and Kennedy's Christian Milian in 10th. Wolcott's Earl Snyder took 11th overall.
In the division races, Holy Cross was the top Brass team and Hotchkiss (Kennedy) finished first. Oliveira was second overall, followed by Flynn in third and Milian in fourth. Kennedy was second as a team in the Brass, followed by Waterbury Career Academy, Crosby and Sacred Heart.
Wolcott was fourth in the Iron Division. Snyder recorded a fifth place finish in the Iron race.
St. Paul was third in the Copper Division. The top Falcon in the Copper was Aidan Reilly, who was fifth.

NVL girls
Derby won the team championship, and Wolcott was the best local finisher in fourth place. Holy Cross was sixth as a team, followed by St. Paul in eighth, Sacred Heart in ninth, WCA in 10th, Kennedy in 12th and Wilby 13th. The Wolcott Eagles were led by Kathrine Rodrigues, who finished third overall. Sacred Heart's Rachel Guay was ninth.
Holy Cross was the top Brass Division team, and had runners 3-5 in the race -- Layne Carter, Julia Mecca and Siena Erichetti. WCA was second as a team and had 6-8 -- Hennessey Vasquez, Salma Gudaf and Samantha Wong. Sacred Heart was third as a team, but had the top two slots -- Rachel Guay (1st) and Jenna French (2nd). Kennedy was fourth as a team and Wilby was fifth.
Rodrigues was the top Iron Division runner, but Watertown claimed first place as a team. Wolcott was third as a team. Mackenzie Gould finished ninth for the Eagles.
In the Copper, St. Paul finished a distant second to Derby. The Falcons had runners 8-11 in the individual race -- Janessa Gonzales, Katherine Mazzarelli, Rebecca Thiobeau and Cassandra Dubitsky.

Balance is the word for Wolcott football over past five seasons

Take a look at the total offensive stats that Wolcott football put together in last week's 46-14 win over Woodland Regional.
The Eagles had 197 pass yards. They also had 196 rushing yards.
Great balance, but nothing new for Wolcott. This is what the Eagles do on offense.
Wolcott does average nearly 80 yards more on the ground than through the air, but the ability to throw allows the Eagles some running room.
Wolcott averages 233.2 yards rushing and 154.2 passing. What's made the Eagles difficult to stop is their efficiency. Both lead running back Ray Iorio (6.8) and quarterback Mike Polzella (6.9) average just under seven yards per rush. 
When Polzella completes a pass, which he does 67.7 percent of the time, it goes for an average of nearly 15 yards (14.7). Wolcott can hit you with a quick strike, or it can put together four-minute or more drives. The Eagles had long drives in an upset win over Seymour, then hit the Hawks with big plays in last week's victory.
If you look over the past four seasons, Wolcott has shown the ability to run and throw:

Rushing avg. / total for season: 219.2 per game; 2,192 yards
  • Leading rusher: Nate Filippone with 1,110 yards (15 TD)
Passing avg. / total for season: 166.7 per game; 1,667 yards
  • Leading passer: Rocky Griffin with 1,621 yards (61.2 completion pct.)
  • Leading receiver: Justin Fernandes with 20 catches for 377 yards (Steve Urbanski had the most TDs with six)

Rushing avg. / total for season: 234.8 per game; 2,817 yards
  • Leading rusher: Mike Audibert with 1,411 yards (26 TD)
Passing avg. / total for season: 192.8 per game; 2,314 yards
  • Leading passer: Vinny Gambino with 2,305 yards (28 TD, 66.8 completion pct.)
  • Leading receiver: Phil Lebel with 53 catches for 747 yards and 13 TD
Rushing avg. / total for season: 212.8 per game; 2,341 yards
  • Joe Lynch with 1,362 yards and 17 TD
Passing avg. / total for season: 250.5 per game; 2,756 yards
  • Leading passer: Gambino with 2,756 yards (35 TD, 61.4 completion pct.)
  • Leading receiver: Adam Santopietro with 56 catches for 972 yards and 13 TD
Rushing avg. / total for season: 216.7 per game; 2,384 yards
  • Leading rusher: Mike Nicol with 1,271 yards (20 TD)
Passing avg. / total for season: 145.5 per game; 1,601 yards
  • Leading passer: Nicol with 1,535 yards (19 TD, 52.7 completion pct.)
  • Leading receiver: Jake Pelletier with 29 catches for 438 yards (Matt Cyr had the most TDS with eight)  
 How has Wolcott been able to maintain such good offense?
  • Need linemen that can run and pass block. Wolcott has had several good linemen, including but definitely not limited to Tom Longo, Dan Catania, Cole Phelps, Justin Nadeau and Bobby Stoeckert.
  • Good play-calling. The coaching staff has been solid, led by head coach Jason Pace
  • Adjust to different personnel. Mike Nicol could run and throw, so he was a two-way threat. In 2013, Gambino was a good passer and Lynch was a powerful runner.
  • Everyone does their job. You don't put up numbers like this without everyone doing their jobs. That's what Wolcott does, every year.
Complete season stats on MaxPreps go back to and include the 2012 season. All stats from

Thursday, October 20, 2016

WEEK 6 FOOTBALL STATS: Balanced night for Crosby in blowout win

For starters...
Crosby needed a win in the worst way, and the Bulldogs got it in a 68-14 demolition of the Wilby Wildcats. Crosby improved to 2-4 with the win.
Mike Marshall led the passing attack, completing 13-of-17 attempts for 165 yards and two touchdowns. Jaedon Wolfe led in receptions with five and yards with 100. Kenny Petteway caught four passes for 46 yards and a touchdown while Eli Mbaya hauled in two for 22 yards and a score. Seven different Bulldogs caught a pass, and backup Alberim Klenja even got some work. Klenja completed 4-of-6 passes for 71 yards.
Eight different Bulldogs ran the ball, and five of them scored at least one touchdown. Klenja had two touchdowns. Marshall, Donte Detanto, Edgard Rivera and Raecuan Digsby each had one touchdown. Digsby had the most yards with 80.
On defense, Petteway returned a fumble 76 yards for a touchdown. Alloe Thomas led the way with five tackles, and Shemar Henry had a sack.

Urbanski's big night for Wolcott
Steve Urbanski caught seven passes for 133 yards in a 46-14 Wolcott win at Woodland Regional, and four of those grabs turned into touchdowns. Urbanski tallied touchdowns of 43, 18, 32 and 21 yards.
Polzella was good again
Mike Polzella completed 13-of-17 attempts for 197 yards and four touchdowns.
And how's this for balance...
Wolcott had 197 yards passing and 196 yards rushing. Now that's balance. 

Two bright spots for St. Paul in blowout loss
The Falcons were overmatched in a 42-6 defeat to the Ansonia Chargers, but there were two good things.
Damien Rabis broke off the longest run of the game, 58 yards, and finished with 102 on nine carries. Connor Bogdanski ran eight times for 23 yards and had the lone St. Paul touchdown.
There will be better days for the Falcons. 


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

HIGH 5 OF THE WEEK: Walter Wright named preseason all-conference

Wright (Montana athletics)
Walter Wright, University of Montana basketball
The former Wilby High School standout make quite the first impression in his inaugural season at the Division I collegiate level.
Wright averaged 13.2 points per game and gave out 152 assists, according to a press release on the team's website. Wright was All-Big Sky honorable mention in the regular season.
All he did in the conference tournament was score 50 points in three games and earn a spot on the all-tourney team. 
For his efforts, Wright was named to the preseason All-Big Sky team by the conference coaches. Quite the honor for a player with just one year of Division I experience under his belt.
Wright hopes to lead his team back to the Big Sky tournament title game in his final season with the Griz.
Montana starts the regular season on the road at Southern California on Nov. 11. The home opener is Nov. 14 against Wyoming.

Kalosky (Endicott athletics)
Joe Kalosky, Endicott College football
The former Holy Cross signal caller earned New England Football Conference Rookie of the Week honors after a 35-14 win over Maine Maritime over the weekend.
Kalosky made his first career start for the Gulls, and all he did was go 9-for-12 passing for 248 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. The multi-touchdown game is the first of Kalosky's career, according to the team website.
Kalosky's first touchdown pass came on a 10-yard connection with Jake Pelletier. The score put Endicott ahead 21-7 early in the third quarter. Later in the third quarter, Kalosky and Connor Crotty hooked up for a 27-yard touchdown to increase the Gull lead to 28-7. Kalosky's final touchdown pass was his longest, a 78-yard connection with Zach DeNike. Endicott went ahead 35-7 after the extra point.
Kalosky ran twice for 16 yards, including a 14-yard gain.

(Anna Maria athletics)
Trai Weaver, Anna Maria College football
Weaver, also a Holy Cross High School grad, has been pretty versatile for the AMCATS.
On Saturday, he did something a little unexpected.
Anna Maria was down big, and a fake field goal was called. Weaver, the holder, stood up after taking the snap and found teammate Joseph D'Onofrio for a 33-yard touchdown.
On the season, Weaver is 1-for-1 passing for 33 yards and the touchdown. He has run 10 times for 23 yards. Weaver's biggest impact is at receiver, where he has caught 12 balls for 104 yards. His longest gain of the season -- rushing or receiving -- is 18 yards.
Weaver is a 5-11, 170-pound junior.

(Roger Williams athletics)
Sam Woznicki, Roger Williams University soccer
Bristol Eastern's former standout tallied her first goal in a 4-0 win for her team over Nichols College on Tuesday.
The goal is the fourth of Woznicki's career. Woznicki picked up her first goal of this season was RWU's final one of the match on Tuesday. She scored just 32 seconds after teammate Kasey Provost tallied her second of the match.
Woznicki is a captain on this year's team.
Woznicki was Commonwealth Coast Conference Rookie of the Year last season. RWU won the conference tournament title and claimed a NCAA Tournament berth.

Lemek (University of
Saint Joseph athletics)
Hannah Lemek, University of Saint Joseph volleyball
The Bristol Central graduate and junior middle blocker led the Blue Jays with nine kills in a 3-0 loss to Curry College on Tuesday.
There have been other times where Lemek has led the way for USJ. She had seven kills and two blocks in a 3-0 win over Norwich on Oct. 10.
Lemek has played in all 22 matches, and all 78 sets, for the Blue Jays this season. She is second on the team in blocks with 27, and fifth in kills with 80.



Bristol Eastern girls soccer first to use new turf

The Bristol Eastern girls soccer team became the first to use the school's new turf field.
The Lancers took to the new pitch late in the morning on Tuesday, and they were all smiles. Head coach Scott Redman was also excited about the new turf.
"WE HAVE TURF!!! Thanks to all for countless hours, fundraising and efforts to bring it home. It's been christened!!" Redman wrote on the Bristol Eastern girls soccer Twitter account.
A few photos were also posted, and you can see them below.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Holy Cross graduate Trai Weaver up for ECFC Play of the Week for fake field goal TD pass

Former Holy Cross High School football player Trai Weaver is proving to be quite the asset for Anna Maria College this season.
Weaver (Anna Maria athletics)
Weaver, a junior, has 12 catches for 104 yards as a receiver. He has also run the ball 10 times for 23 yards.
Weaver picked up his first touchdown of the season in a 28-7 loss to Norwich University in an Eastern Collegiate Football Conference game over the weekend. Weaver didn't pick up the score with a catch or by running.
Weaver threw for the touchdown, on a fake field goal no less. Weaver, who is the Anna Maria holder, took the snap, stood up, and threw a pass to a wide open Joseph D'Onofrio for a 33-yard touchdown.
Anna Maria has struggled this year, but Weaver and D'Onofrio have a chance to earn ECFC Play of the Week honors for their touchdown connection. To vote on Twitter, retweet the play with the hashtag #AMCATS. Anna Maria's Twitter account is @goAMCATS. The ECFC's account is @d3ECFC.
Voting goes until tomorrow morning. No definite time was listed on the site, but a vote in the previous week went until 9 a.m. Go vote for Trai now!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Kaynor Tech girls cross country claims third straight CSC title

The Kaynor Tech girls are once again the queens of Constitution State Conference cross country.
The Panthers took the team title for the third straight season, led by overall first place finisher Hannah Stoveken, a sophomore. Stoveken finished the Wickham Park course in 22:01.2. Stoveken was followed by teammates Jillian Ducham (senior, fifth place overall), Jessenia Torres (sophomore, seventh), Melanie Sanchez (sophomore, 12th), Dominique Dildy (junior, 14th). Cassie Couture (senior, 15th) and Natalie Silva (senior, 21st) also ran for Kaynor Tech.
The Panthers scored 38 points, 23 clear of second place Wolcott Tech.
Stoveken had just finished first in Friday's City Championship meet at Montoe Park.
For the first time, Kaynor Tech claimed both overall first place finishers. Junior Terrell Patterson claimed first in 18:22.3. Patterson was followed by teammates Adam Telesca (sophomore, 44th place), Joe Morales (junior, 60th), Steven Ayres (senior, 65th) and Matt Runyon (senior, 69th). Scott D'Alisio (freshman, 72nd) also ran for the Panthers, who finished ninth as a team.

Results via

Kennedy athletic fields get fresh, new look

The Kennedy boys soccer team practiced on the new turf
of the Coach Charles "Ripper" Donato Athletic Field.
Crosby wasn't the only Waterbury high school to see upgrades to its athletic facilities
Kennedy High School can also be put on that list.
A ribbon cutting ceremony was held on Saturday morning for both the athletic fields and an addition at the school. 
The new field turf was dedicated in honor of Charles "Ripper" Donato.
The softball field was named after John P. Kinney.
The John P. Kinney softball field has a tall backstop
with a folded top that will keep foul balls
from striking the school behind the plate.
As Joe Palladino pointed out in his Waterbury Republican-American article on Sunday, the only varsity games to be played in this complex will be softball. 
Still, it's important to have a place to practice. Practice is where all the hard work is put in.
The Kennedy boys soccer team was hard at work on Monday. The Eagles were busy getting ready for an evening road match at Crosby.
Before the renovations, it was just a Kennedy softball field with a large patch of grass in the outfield and beyond.
Kennedy gets what it can out of its property, to say the least. 
For example, the fence in the south end zone keeps balls from going into the yards of neighboring houses.
On the softball field, the backstop fence is tall, and the folded top will keep foul balls from breaking the windows on the nearby school.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Another look at the record-setting game between Waterbury Career Academy and Sacred Heart/Kaynor Tech

By now, anyone connected to Connecticut high school football has heard about the offensive mayhem that went on last night at Municipal Stadium's Ray Snyder Sr. Field in Waterbury.
Waterbury Career Academy and Sacred Heart/Kaynor Tech didn't break the state record for points in a single game. The teams combined to obliterate the old mark, with the Spartans claiming a 72-70 victory after one final Hail Mary fell incomplete in the end zone.
Rob Maia has some terrific video highlights of the game. Maia's YouTube page is Brass City Films, and here's the link for the highlights.
GameTimeCT provided the full stat sheet via IScore, and you can find it in their story.
Kyle Brennan and Co. were at the game for The Zone (Waterbury Republican-American). Go to The Zone to see their coverage. Kyle did a damn good job of writing that story, given all the chaos that went on. Being a former sports reporter, I know that he must have had a deadline crunch as well.
My observations on the game:

50: As in 50 first downs. The teams combined for 50 first downs. Let that sink in for minute. WCA had 28 first downs while SH/KT tallied 22. That's just insane!
The number 481: Both teams accumulated this amount of yards, which leads to the next point.
Over 900 total yards: Another crazy number. 
  • WCA did it on the ground, rushing for 449 yards. Josiah Rivers led the way with 295 yards and six touchdowns. Kyren Petteway ran for 124 yards and three scores, and he also tallied six -- count them, SIX -- two-point conversions. Wow.
  • SH/KT did it through the air with Trey Dawson. Dawson accumulated 434 passing yards and six touchdowns to one interception. He completed 25 of his 35 attempts. Tyler Rudolph had a monster night with 16 catches for 232 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran a kickoff back 81 yards for a score. Courie Stevenson snagged three balls for 112 yards and a touchdown. Tyler Gendron had 35 yards and a touchdown while Joel Guzman added 13 and a score.
Not much defense: There were plenty of open receivers for SH/KT, but the co-op also hurt WCA with direct snaps to the running back. WCA also had a running play that it turned to multiple times for big yardage and touchdowns.
3-3: The overall record for both teams after last night's shenanigans.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Waterbury Career Academy, Sacred Heart/Kaynor Tech football set state record for points

The game between Waterbury Career Academy and Sacred Heart/Kaynor Tech turned out to be a state record-breaking football fireworks display.
The Spartans had to dodge a last-second pass into the end zone to escape with a 72-70 victory.
No typo there. WCA beat SH/KT 72-70. This game, placed on the Ray Snyder Sr. Field turf at Municipal Stadium, is the highest scoring game in state history. It replaces St. Joseph of Trumbull's 84-49 win over Ledyard in 2013.
The WCA-SH/KT game played out more like a souped-up version of Madden. There were only three lead changes -- believe it or not -- but the Spartans had the most important one, on a five-yard touchdown run by Josiah Rivers, to make the score 72-64 with 4:26 left in the fourth quarter. From there, WCA had to hold off SH/KT.
The co-op didn't go without a fight. A touchdown with 2:03 to play put SH/KT down 72-70 and set the new mark for points in a game.
SH/KT remarkably got the ball back with a chance to win, but a pass into the end zone fell incomplete, and WCA escaped with the win.
WCA improved to 3-3 and upped its season point total to 218 scored.
SH/KT dropped to 3-3 and saw its season point total rise to 233.
What a crazy game.