Saturday, September 30, 2017

Late Fappiano-Wallace connection gives Holy Cross football win over WCA

Corey Fappiano (4) threw a game-winning touchdown to DeAndre Wallace
to complete a 20-14 Holy Cross comeback victory over WCA on Saturday.
(Copyright, Sports on CT-69, 2016 file)
Holy Cross football delighted the home crowd at Alumni Field on Saturday with a 20-14 victory over Waterbury Career Academy.
The Crusaders claimed the lead and the victory when quarterback Corey Fappiano threw a touchdown pass to wide receiver DeAndre Wallace. Here's video of the winning combination via Holy Cross football's Twitter account.
"Holy Cross beats WCA 20-14! Great team win #HCFootball," read a tweet on the Holy Cross account following the game.
After a tough start to the season (forfeit loss to Kennedy, 36-33 home loss to St. Paul), the Crusaders improved to 2-2 with the victory. WCA is also 2-2 on the season.

Bristol Central, Bristol Eastern converge on pitch and court Monday

The first meetings of the season between Bristol Central and Bristol Eastern will take place Monday.
The two soccer games are on the turf at Bristol Central High School while Bristol Eastern High School hosts the volleyball matchup. Starting times for soccer are 5:15 for the girls game and 7:15 for the boys game. The starting time for the girls volleyball match is 6 p.m.
Here's a look at each matchup, starting with soccer:

GIRLS SOCCER
When: Monday, 5:15 p.m.
Where: BCHS turf
Records: Both teams are 3-3
Streaks: Bristol Eastern 2W, Bristol Central 1L
What happened last time out: Both teams played in a match decided by one goal. Eastern won a 4-3 overtime match against South Windsor at the Bristol Soccer Club on Friday. To do so, the Lancers had to overcome a two-goal deficit with less than 10 minutes remaining in regulation. Kate Kozikowski, Myah Croze, Sara Tyminski and Brooke Dauphinee scored goals for Eastern in what was a total team effort. Dauphinee's goal was the match-tying tally.
Goalkeeper Karly Martin kept the Lancers in the match until the offense got going. The defense was also able to tighten up late.
Central dropped a tough match, 2-1 to E.O. Smith at home on Thursday. It was the second straight 2-1 final for the Rams, who beat Maloney in overtime on Monday by the same score. Adalia Malick has been a mainstay in the Central offensive attack while senior Aubrey Kelley steadies the ship in goal.

BOYS SOCCER
When: Monday, 7:15 p.m. (approximate)
Where: BCHS turf
Records: Central 4-1-1, Eastern 2-4
Streaks: Central 1L, Eastern 1L
What happened last time out: Both teams are coming into their first meeting against each other off of a loss. Central's was its first of the season, 5-1 on the road to East Hartford on Thursday. Eastern dropped a 2-0 score to a solid Tolland squad (5-2).
Notes: Sophomores Diego Naranjo, Adam Jones and David Bowes are among the players who make Central go. Basketball player turned goalkeeper Alex Bernier is in net for the Rams.
For Eastern, sophomore Jake Woznicki is a big threat, and seniors Tom Lombardi and Lyle Winiarski are high-energy guys. Senior Tom Tefoe is the goalkeeper.

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL
When: Monday, 6 p.m.
Where: BEHS main gymnasium
Records: Central 6-3, Eastern 4-4
Streaks: Central 1W, Eastern 2L
Interesting points: When was the last time the Rams had a better record than the Lancers going into the first meeting? It's been a while, but it's also been a long time -- well over a decade -- since Central beat Eastern in girls volleyball. The Rams would love to end that streak, but the Lancers should have plenty to say about that.
What happened last time out: The Rams dispatched Enfield 3-1 on the road Wednesday. The Lancers were defeated 3-0 by Simsbury at home on Friday. 
Notes: Central is off to a great start in Holly Willette's second season as head coach. In a tough match Monday against Maloney (3-2 loss), there were big performances from the likes of Xia'ian Carrasco, Kathryn Ross and Ashleigh Clark. There was also Amanda St. Pierre and Brianna Saverino. 
On Eastern's side, Paige McLaughlin and Sienna White help lead the way. There's also Aliana Rivoira, Rebecca Bender and Alex DiMattia to contend with.
The Lancers have a long history on their side against the Rams. Will this match be different? Head to Bristol Eastern High School to find out.
A SPECIAL NOTE: Central and Eastern volleyball are teaming up to help those who have been affected by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.
The teams are collecting donations, which can be dropped off at the door before the 6 p.m. match. Here's what they are looking for:

  • blankets
  • candles/matches
  • flashlights
  • batteries
  • non-perishable food
  • baby products
  • clothes
  • hygiene/toiletry products
The teams respectfully ask that NO MONEY be given, only physical goods. All items collected will travel with donations from the City of New Britain.

FRIDAY FOOTBALL: Kennedy outlasts Wilby for 50-48 OT win

Kennedy football improved to 2-2 on Friday night and kept Wilby from snapping a long
losing streak. The Eagles won 50-48 in overtime. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69, 2017 file)
Wilby football hasn't won a game since the 2014 season finale against Sacred Heart/Kaynor Tech.
The Wildcats came oh so close to ending their losing streak on Friday night at Ray Snyder Sr. Field against the Kennedy Eagles. The teams battled back and forth and eventually reached overtime. Kennedy scored and made a two-point conversion to overtake Wilby 50-48 in overtime. The Wildcats have lost 24 straight games. Kennedy improved to 2-2 on the season, the other win coming via forfeit from Holy Cross.
Wilby forced overtime on a touchdown with 2:24 to play in regulation, according to a tweet from Bryan P. Baker, who was the public address announcer for the game. Alexandre Gonzalez threw four touchdown passes and ran for another score for the Wildcats.
Kennedy scored on a six-yard run to pull ahead 6-0 with 9:56 left in the first quarter. It was the first points scored on a night that ended up with 98 on the scoreboard.
Gonzalez threw a nine-yard touchdown pass to Andres Urena and Wilby hit on its two-point conversion for an 8-6 lead with 7:31 left in the first quarter. Kennedy countered with a 16-yard score to go up 14-8 at the 5:03 mark of the first quarter.
Gonzalez hit Raekwon James with a four-yard score to tie the game at 14-14 late in the opening quarter.
Kennedy opened up a 28-14 second quarter lead with runs of four and eight yards. The scored remained 28-14 into the halftime break. Wilby rallied for a 30-28 third quarter lead on touchdown passes from Gonzalez to Dashaun Wilson (12 yards) and Urena (16 yards). The Wildcats made both two-point conversions and claimed the two-point lead with 3:11 left in the third quarter.
Wilby took the lead into the fourth quarter, only to see Kennedy steal it back, 34-30, on a 16-yard run with 9:49 to play. Gonzalez punched it in from three yards out for a 36-34 Wildcat advantage at the 7:11 mark. The Eagles busted free for a 45-yard touchdown run and a two-point conversion to snag a 42-36 lead, setting up the dramatic end to the fourth quarter and overtime.
Thank you to Bryan P. Baker for updating the game on Twitter!

Crosby 50, Oxford 40: In a game that featured 126 offensive plays, 25 first downs and 24 penalties, Raecuan Digsby's touchdown run in the fourth quarter finally pulled the Bulldogs away from the Wolverines in Oxford.
Alberim Klenja threw six touchdown passes to lead the Crosby offense, according to the linescore reported on The Zone. Jaedon Wolfe had two touchdown receptions (23, 54) and Davonte Howard hauled in two scores (48, 14). Marquel Jackson-Smith had a 24-yard touchdown catch while Iziah Barnes added a score of 61 yards.
Crosby overcame two-point 14 deficits in the first half and improved to 2-2 with the win. Oxford led 14-0 in the first quarter and 20-6 in the second quarter, but Crosby caught up at 20-20 by the half. The Bulldogs held a 14-12 edge in the third quarter and entered the final 12 minutes ahead 34-32.

Watertown 34, Wolcott 32: The Eagles entered the fourth quarter ahead by 11 points, but the host Indians rallied for the victory.
Watertown was able to overcome a huge effort from Wolcott's Anthony Ligi. Ligi ran for two touchdowns and also returned an interception for a 75-yard touchdown. That return put the Eagles up 32-21 in the third quarter, according to a story from Mark Jaffee posted on The Zone. A pair of Nick D'Elia touchdown passes in the fourth quarter were the difference.
Michael Polzella tossed a touchdown pass to Nick Longo and ran for a score for Wolcott, which dropped to 2-2.

Maloney 34, Bristol Central 7: Dathan Hickey had the lone Ram touchdown in the second quarter at Falcon Field in Meriden.
Hickey scored from 15 yards out and Dillon Hudson's extra point cut Maloney's lead to 12-7 in the second quarter. That was close as Bristol Central would get. Hickey had 77 yards rushing while Justus Fitzpatrick hauled in seven passes for 90 yards, according to a story from Dave Greenleaf on The Bristol Press website.
The Rams fell to 2-2 on the season.

Hello, 4-0! St. Paul football rushes past Derby

Kevin Ashworth and the offensive line made sure the St. Paul running game
hummed to the tune of 561 yards and six touchdowns Friday night.
(Copyright, Sports on CT-69, 2017 file)
St. Paul football reached 4-0 for the first time since 2008 with a 42-34 victory over Derby on Friday night at the Ryan Athletic Complex in Derby.
The Falcons rushed for an unbelievable 561 yards behind a pair of 200-yard efforts from Damien Rabis and Connor Bogdanski. Rabis went for 214 yards on 17 carries and scored twice. Bogdanski toted the ball 13 times for 201 yards and a pair of scores. Kevin Ashworth rushed 16 times for 136 yards and the other two touchdowns. St. Paul did turn the ball over four times, by far its worst total of the season.
On defense, Chris Dionne had nine total tackles while Rabis had four tackles, including a sack. Dom Aiello also had four tackles, including two for a loss.
After falling behind 7-0 in the first quarter, the Falcons got a 58-yard touchdown from Bogdanski and a conversion run from Rabis for an 8-7 lead. The Red Raiders regained the lead at 13-8 after one quarter. The score remained 13-8 by halftime, but only until halftime. The teams combined for 55 second half points.
Rabis went 53 yards for a touchdown and a 14-13 lead in the third quarter. After Derby regained the lead at 21-14, Ashworth carried 42 yards for a score. The two-point conversion failed, however, and St. Paul entered the fourth quarter down 21-20.
Ashworth scored from 11 yards out in the fourth quarter to put the Falcons up 26-21. The conversion failed, but St. Paul had the lead. A 66-yard run by Bogdanski and conversion by Rabis had the Falcons ahead 34-21, but the game never seems to be over at the Ryan Complex.
Derby put up a pair of touchdowns and one extra point to tie the game at 34. Rabis broke the deadlock with a 20-yard touchdown, and Ashworth added the conversion. St. Paul was able to hold off Derby and claim its fourth win in four tries.
Tom Abel had four touchdowns (three passing, one rushing) to lead the Red Raiders.

PERSPECTIVE
The 2008 team went 6-0 before losing a 64-50 shootout to Max DeLorenzo and Berlin at Scalise Field (Sage Park). That team finished the season 9-2, with the other loss coming against Rocky Hill, also on the road.
St. Paul's best record came in 1976, when it went 10-1. The Falcons lost the Class M championship game that season to Daniel Hand. The 2008 team didn't make the postseason. Only four teams qualified in each of the six classes, and St. Paul fifth behind Avon that year.
The 2009 squad did make the four-team field at 8-2, but it lost to New Canaan by a single point in the Class MM semifinals.
Also of note, those 2008 and 2009 teams were tri-ops with St. Paul, Lewis Mills and New Britain's Goodwin Tech.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Bristol Eastern football beats Newington, snaps long losing streak

A long-awaited scene for Bristol Eastern football. Lancer quarterback Justin Marshall takes
a knee in the victory formation to seal a 9-7 win Thursday night at home over Newington. The win
was the first for Eastern since 2015, when it beat Newington. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69)
With time running out in the fourth quarter of Thursday night's game against Newington, Bristol Eastern head coach Anthony Julius made a "V" sign.
That meant the Lancers would go into the "victory formation" and quarterback Justin Marshall would kneel after taking the snap.
It's a normal ending to a close game when the opponent doesn't have any timeouts to stop the clock, but this kneeldown was anything but a usual occurrence. For Eastern, it meant so much more.
After Marshall touched his knee to the Bristol Eastern turf, his teammates erupted in celebration while the final seconds ticked off of the clock.
The Lancers beat the Indians 9-7 in a test of will and toughness. For Eastern, it is the program's first victory since 2015. The last time the Lancers won, they beat the same Indians program in a 40-34 shootout on Oct. 23, 2015, at Bristol Eastern. 
"This is unbelievably big," wide receiver Jaden Laprise said. "We snapped a long losing streak, and it's so surreal right now. I can't even tell you the feeling."
Eastern had lost 17 straight games, but that streak came to an end with an awesome effort across the board from the Lancers and their coaching staff.
Head coach Anthony Julius was asked if the monkey was off of his back, and he deflected the conversation to the players.
"It's not about me, it's about the kids," Julius said. "They're the ones that work hard, they're the ones that get yelled at. They haven't won in a while, and for them to do that, I'm extremely proud of them, and I'm happy for them."
The win was the first for Julius, who endured an 0-10 season last year before an 0-3 start in 2017.
Defense was paramount for Eastern in this victory, but the Lancers don't get to celebrate without the heroics of Marshall and Laprise. Laprise brought the circus to the Mum City in the third quarter when he wrestled a 23-yard touchdown pass away from a Newington defender in spectacular fashion. The two competitors went up for the pass, and Laprise grabbed the ball. He lost control for split second, but then held the ball against his body as he fell to the turf.
John McPhee's extra point missed wide right, but Eastern held a 9-7 lead with 9:12 left in the third quarter. McPhee is forgiven, as his 22-yard field goal on the last play of the first half put the Lancers down 7-3 and gave them momentum. 
"What an unbelievable kick by John," Julius said. "That ball was crushed."
Before the field goal, Marshall and Laprise combined on a 52-yard pass play to get the ball deep into Newington territory.
"What a throw by Justin Marshall, to put the ball on the money, Jaden to catch it in stride and set us up there," Julius said.
Marshall and Laprise hooked up again for the go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter, but there was still over 21 minutes to go in the game. Newington had plenty of time, but it didn't have any serious opportunities to steal the game, thanks to the Eastern defense.
"I've got to give it to our defense," Laprise said. "Our defense came up big."
Junior linebacker Trinidad Gonzalez is the leader of the defense, but he got some big help on Thursday. Eastern was able to slow down a Newington offense that was averaging just over 27 points per game.
One big factor for Eastern's defense was senior Ariza Kolloverja, who was all over the place.
"We finally gelled together today, and we used Ariza," Laprise said. "Ariza proved what he can do, on offense and defense."
Julius thought the defensive play was great.
"We made big plays, we had huge fourth down stops, third down stops," Julius said.
"It just shows how tough our defense can be," Laprise said.
On offense, Kolloverja told Julius he wanted more touches, and the head coach told him to "put his money where his mouth is." Kolloverja delivered, and then some, with his ability to fake out defenders and change directions. The running back was a workhorse for the Lancers all night long. 
The I-formation and wildcat offensive schemes were part of a broader thought process from Julius and his staff.
"We talked about developing a mentality and getting back to what made us successful in the past," Julius said. "I'm an offensive line guy, I want to run the ball. We just decided to get behind our guys and ride them out, and I couldn't be more proud of them. They churned it up all night, got positive yards."
Jason Pace returned to the area
with his new football team.
(Copyright, Sports on CT-69)
Assistant coach Tim Barrette mentioned old-school, smash-mouth football after the game was over. That was the style of offense Eastern displayed, and it carried over to the defensive side of the ball as well.
What does that all mean? A long-awaited win for Eastern. The Lancers got the monkey off their backs. Up next is Farmington. What will Eastern do for an encore?
"We focus up and get ready for Farmington, that's what we do," Laprise said.

NOTE: Newington dropped to 2-2 in Jason Pace's first season as head coach. Pace returned to the area with the Indians after having coached at Wolcott High School.

PHOTOS: Click here to see images from the game.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

MINOR LEAGUE MENTIONS: Fitzsimons and Blandino wrap up second full pro seasons

Connor Fitzsimons, Arizona League Angels
The former Bristol Eastern and CCSU backstop played 34 total games in the field, 26 coming at catcher while the other eight were at first base.
Fitzsimons was solid defensively with just four errors and two passed balls. He had 263 total chances as a catcher and 76 as a first baseman. At the plate, Fitzsimons got to bat in 33 games and hit .243 with four doubles, three triples, one home run and nine RBI.
Fitzsimons had a great game in his final appearance of the season. He went 2-for-5 with two triples, four RBI and his only stolen base.

Matt Blandino, Dayton Dragons
The former Bristol Central and Felician University star finished up his second season of professional ball with the Dayton Dragons of the Midwest League.
Blandino, who pitched for both the Billings Mustangs and the Dragons, started in 16 of the 18 games he pitched. He went 7-4 with a 4.93 ERA, 87.2 innings pitched, 54 strikeouts and 10 walks. Blandino's longest start was seven innings, and he also had four starts of six innings. His highest strikeout total of the season was six, which he did twice.

Manny Cruz, Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks
Cruz played in five games with the American Association team and had five at bats.
Cruz went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts. He played two innings in the field and had two assists without an error.
Cruz also played for the Billings Mustangs of the Pioneer League (rookie ball Reds) and the Puerto Rico Islanders of the independent Empire Professional Baseball League.

HIGH 5 OF THE WEEK: Rodriguez ready for new start at Simmons

Rodriguez (Simmons athletics)
Waterbury native and former Taft standout Jalissa Rodriguez is already fitting in nicely at Simmons, her new Boston women's college home.
"Being at Simmons in general just gives you a sense of woman empowerment, which I've never experienced fully," Rodriguez said while being interviewed for an online segment called "Woman on Campus" about the Class of 2021. The segment was put together by Maralee Mitchell, a member of the Class of 2020.
Rodriguez is already translating that feeling into a goal she wants to accomplish before she's done at Simmons.
"I hope to start my own nonprofit organization while still in college," Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez was drawn to Simmons by head basketball coach Michael Williams.
"I was recruited by Coach Williams, and he made me feel right at home," Rodriguez said.
While Rodriguez is ready to get going at Simmons, her heritage is on her mind, especially now with what happened during Hurricane Maria.
"I'm Puerto Rican, I tell everyone that," Rodriguez said. "That's just something I hold close to myself."
Rodriguez will be busy as her freshman season of basketball begins soon.



Doubleday (Bentley athletics)
Megan Doubleday, Bentley soccer
The former Wolcott standout has had her first taste of collegiate soccer over the past three matches, and the freshman had a career milestone on Sept. 18.
Bentley lost the match 3-1, but that "1" came from Doubleday, and it was her first career goal. Doubleday had recorded a point for the second straight game, with her first coming on an assist in a 2-1 loss to Assumption on Sept. 16.
For the season, Doubleday has played in three games and has tallied three points. She is majoring in corporate finance and accounting.
Doubleday earned first team All-State, All-NVL, Team MVP and top NVL senior honors in her senior season at Wolcott High School.



Woznicki (Roger Williams athletics)
Samantha Woznicki, Roger Williams soccer
The senior tri-captain has been a leader in both words and statistics for the Hawks early this season.
Woznicki has played in 10 games and started all of them. She leads the team in goals with three and total points with eight, and she is tied for second in assists with two. 
Woznicki scored her first two goals back-to-back in a 5-0 win over UMass-Boston on Sept. 9. She tallied her third goal in a 2-2 tie against Wellesley on Sept. 19. Woznicki has two assists, one each in matches against Emmanuel on Sept. 21 and Worcester Polytechnic Institute on Sept. 25.


Serva (Anna Maria athletics)
Phil Serva, Anna Maria football
The former Holy Cross defender is off to a good start in the AMCAT linebacking corps.
Serva has 12 tackles in three games, including a career-high of seven in a loss to Curry on Sept. 15. Serva had three solo tackles and assisted on four others. 
Serva had three tackles, all solo, in a Sept. 1 loss to Worcester Polytechnic Institute. He tallied two more solo tackles in a Sept. 8 defeat against Nichols.
Serva, a freshman and Southbury native, is majoring in business.




Fannon (AIC athletics)
Jennifer Fannon, American International cross country
The senior from Bristol Central has been one of the most consistent Yellowjacket runners so far this season.
AIC won the Panther Invitational as a team on Sept. 1 at Bethpage State Park in Bethpage, N.Y. The Yellowjackets also had the top runner in Ivy Chepyegon. Fannon was the second fastest AIC competitor and took third place overall in a time of 19:59.05.
On Sept. 16, AIC was 12th out of 40 teams at the UMass Dartmouth Invitational. Chepyegon was again the fastest Yellowjacket and took fourth place. Fannon was the second quickest AIC runner and was 56th overall.
AIC head coach Leo Mayo had great things to say about Fannon after the Panther Invitational.
"The women's team is coming together, they really worked hard over the summer," Mayo said. "Jen Fannon, phenomenal."


Statistics and information compiled from the team website of each athlete.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Bristol Eastern boys soccer takes down Platt at home

Bristol Eastern senior captain Lyle Winiarski (27) showed plenty of hustle
in his team's 3-0 home win over Platt on Monday. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69)
In a hot afternoon boys soccer match that featured a pair of water breaks, Bristol Eastern downed Platt 3-0 on Monday on the turf at Bristol Eastern High School.
The Lancers improved to 2-3 while the Panthers dropped to 1-4.
The heat was on everyone's minds, but that didn't stop Eastern's Jake Woznicki, Lyle Winiarski and Tom Lombardi from being all over the field. Woznicki led the offensive attack with two goals, but he had plenty of help in the effort department from Winiarski and Lombardi. Dante Costantiello was also an athletic presence in the midfield.
Eastern outhustled and outplayed Platt from the start. The Lancers struck quickly when Winiarski found Lombardi for his first goal with 33:12 left in the first half. From there, the Lancers had plenty of chances to add to the lead. On the other hand, the Panthers didn't take a single shot. The half arrived with the home side ahead 1-0.
It took Eastern just 2:58 to go ahead 2-0. Lombardi finally found the net off a great set-up from Jared Greger. The Lancers continued to turn up the pressure on the Panthers and their keeper.
As with the first half, the teams took a water break midway through. Not long after the timeout, Woznicki blasted a shot over goal, as if to show only a water break would stop the Eastern pressure.
Late in the second half, Woznicki stole a soft pass, coasted in and scored his second goal to put the Lancers up 3-0. There was 3:19 left on the clock, Eastern was ahead 3-0, and its domination of the match was complete.

PHOTOS: Click here to see images from today's match.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Polzella, Ligi lead Wolcott offensive outburst in win at Crosby

Mike Polzella had a monster night for Wolcott in a 50-14 victory over Crosby.
(Copyright, Sports on CT-69, 2017 file)
Wolcott senior quarterback Mike Polzella had a monster night Friday in his team's 50-14 road win over Crosby at Jimmy Lee Stadium.
Polzella accounted for seven touchdowns (six passing, one rushing) and totaled 370 yards of offense. He was 15-for-25 passing for 292 yards with a long of 60. Polzella also ran for 78 yards with a long of 42. He was involved in the first seven Wolcott touchdowns, with the initial six going through the air.
Anthony Ligi continued to contribute big time to the Eagle offense. Ligi totaled 231 yards (157 receiving, 74 rushing) and had two touchdown receptions. Ligi wasn't the only Wolcott receiver to have a good night. Santino Ciarlo caught two passes for 37 yards, but each went for a touchdown. Mike Ciarlo had four catches for 57 yards, Nick Longo hauled in three for 25 yards and a score, and Matt Amedeo took in one pass for a 16-yard touchdown.
Jake Sforza carried seven times for 34 yards and a touchdown.
On defense, Wolcott recorded five sacks and an interception. Tom Reardon had two of those sacks while Jake Filippone led in tackles with 10, including two for losses.
Alberim Klenja went 14-for-26 for 207 yards, two touchdowns and one interception for Crosby in the loss.
Wolcott improved to 2-1 with the win while Crosby dropped to 1-2.

Statistics obtained from the Wolcott football account on Hudl.

Wolcott girls, Bristol Central boys only area unbeaten teams left on the pitch

The Wolcott girls (above) and the Bristol Central boys (below) are the lone
unbeaten teams left in the area. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69, 2017 files)
There are but two unbeaten area soccer teams left, one on the girls side and the other on the boys.
Here's a quick look at those two teams:

WOLCOTT GIRLS
After a pair of low-scoring ties, Wolcott has won two straight to improve to 4-0-2,  and it has done so in emphatic fashion. The Eagles beat Haddam-Killingworth 4-0 Thursday, then trounced Sacred Heart 9-0 Friday. Taylor Riviezzo put in a pair of goals in both wins while Tiona Watts tallied three over the same span.
Woodland (5-1) is the lone team that can boast more wins than Wolcott. The Eagles stand alone as the only unbeaten left in the NVL.

BRISTOL CENTRAL BOYS
Bristol Central muddled through a 3-2 overtime road win over Middletown on Friday, but the victory helped it remain one of just three unbeatens left in the massive CCC. Adam Jones scored two goals, David Bowes had one goal, and Alex Bernier recorded eight saves in the Middletown victory.
The Rams are 3-0-1 on the season after the win over Middletown and a 1-1 tie at Windsor on Tuesday. E.O. Smith (5-0-0) and Hall (3-0-2) are the only other unbeatens in the CCC.

Bristol Central football KO's Wethersfield

Dathan Hickey (3) and Darrell Payton (2) combined for four rushing touchdowns
in a 33-0 Bristol Central win over Wethersfield on Friday. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69)
Bristol Central football knocked out Wethersfield in the first half of Friday evening's 33-0 home win, making the second half a mere formality.
The Rams went on an eight-and-a-half minute drive to start the game, which ended with a Darrell Payton touchdown run. It was the first of three scores for Payton, according to a result reported to The Bristol Press. Dathan Hickey's long completion to Nathan Rosa on a 3rd and 24 was a preview of things to come as Central controlled the contest, which was the WTNH Channel 8 Game of the Week.
The Rams used a 41-yard touchdown run from Hickey and a touchdown reception by Rosa to build a 21-0 lead in the second quarter. Two more touchdowns later on from Payton completed the scoring for the Rams.
Central's defense didn't allow the Wethersfield offense to do much of anything. The Eagles tried to run the ball inside early but were stymied. Wethersfield also had trouble throwing the ball, making the early deficit that much larger.
The win is the first on the new turf field for Central, which improved to 2-1 on the season.

PHOTOS: Click here to see images from the first half of Friday's game.

St. Paul runs -- and throws -- its way to first 3-0 start since 2008

The combination of St. Paul's three-back monster (Damien Rabis, Connor Bogdanski
and Chris Dionne) and its powerful offensive line led to a 46-32 victory over Watertown
and the first 3-0 start since 2008. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69)
St. Paul quarterback Kevin Ashworth attempted his first pass of the season during Friday night's home game against Watertown, and it turned out to be a big play in a 46-32 victory.
With just over a minute left in the first half and the Falcons up by just a touchdown, Ashworth dropped back and surprised the Indians with a deep ball to Ty Selinske. There wasn't a defender near Selinske, who hauled in the 27-yard touchdown toss from Ashworth.
St. Paul picked one heck of a time for its first pass attempt, and the result was a 22-7 halftime lead.
The Indians battled and never gave up even when down 20 points in the second half, but the Falcons were able to keep far enough ahead for the win. St. Paul is 3-0, its first such start since 2008. That team featured current Dallas Cowboy Byron Jones. Those Falcons played in the state playoffs and barely lost a quarterfinal round game at New Canaan.
Quarterback Kevin Ashworth looks at the sideline before putting the St. Paul
wishbone offense in gear. The offense had plenty of help from the big guys
up front. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69)
St. Paul breathed a sigh of relief Friday night when Noah Mendoza recovered an onside kick late in the fourth quarter with the score at 46-32. Mendoza stood in, took a big hit from a charging Watertown special teams player, and hung on to the ball.
As per usual, St. Paul's running game was full steam ahead. Whether it was long runs from Damien Rabis or shorter -- but strong -- efforts from Connor Bogdanski, Chris Dionne and Ashworth, the Falcons moved the ball on the Indians, sometimes at will.
Ashworth was his normal solid self as the engineer of St. Paul's wishbone attack. The junior signal caller knew when to pitch the ball or keep it on the option. When he pitched the ball, it found its way to Rabis, who took off downfield.
Of course, the St. Paul running game goes nowhere without a sound effort from all 11 guys. The big Falcon offensive line of Dom Aiello, Eric Langland, Joey Aiello, Ryan Parent, RJ Murphy, Garrett Gay, Kevin Charles and tight end Ryan Mikosz was tough to get around, and the running backs did a good job of blocking for each other. Parent, the team's center, left the game with an injury in the second half, but the Falcons were still able to move the ball on the ground. Wide receivers Selinske and Nick Stolfi provided blocks on the perimeter.
St. Paul went over 350 yards on the ground, and it hopes to keep that running game moving next Friday on the road at Derby.

PHOTOS: Click here to see images from Friday night's game.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Five divisions for CIAC high school boys basketball

CIAC high school boys basketball will have five divisions in the 2017-18 season, for a one-year trial period.
The CIAC states that under the new format the divisions use several factors, including recent success in the CIAC tournament and league championship play, the overall strength of the league, and their power point ranking over the past three seasons. The power point ranking is determined by the sum of wins of the opponents they defeated.
Schools can appeal what division they play in. If the appeal is successful, the school will be moved down one division. Schools can also opt to play in Division I, which has just 21 teams. In an interesting move, all 21 of those teams will make the state tournament.
In divisions II, III, IV and V, the usual .400 winning percentage is required for state tournament qualification.
Here are the local teams and which divisions they will play in, as of Sept. 21:

Bristol Central -- II
Bristol Eastern -- III
Crosby -- I
Holy Cross -- I
Kaynor Tech -- IV
Kennedy -- I
Sacred Heart -- I
St. Paul -- III
Waterbury Career Academy -- II
Wilby -- II
Wolcott -- III

CIAC: Holy Cross football forfeits win to Kennedy

Holy Cross football has forfeited its win over Kennedy in Week 1, according to the CIAC.
The Crusaders did so because of the use of an ineligible player, according to a post on CIAC Twitter accounts this afternoon. No further information was given on those accounts, or the CIAC website.
Holy Cross beat Kennedy 19-0 at Ray Snyder Sr. Field in Waterbury.
After the forfeit, the game stands as a 1-0 Eagle victory over the Crusaders. Kennedy is now 1-1 on the season while Holy Cross is 0-2.
Here's what the CIAC says about ineligible players:

"If a team uses an ineligible player, the game, whether won or lost, shall be counted, at the discretion of the CIAC Board of Control, as a defeat for the team on which the ineligible player played. For the opposing team such a game shall be counted as a victory. All such games shall be counted on the schedule of both teams as games played."

The Board of Control met today.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Quarterback play key to first wins for Wolcott, Crosby

Senior quarterbacks Mike Polzella of Wolcott (above)
and Alberim Klenja of Crosby (below) helped lead their teams to
the first win of the season. The Eagles and Bulldogs play Friday at 7 p.m.
in Waterbury. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69, 2017 file)
The Wolcott and Crosby football teams each enter Friday night's NVL game at Jimmy Lee Stadium with 1-1 records.
The Eagles and Bulldogs both have their quarterbacks to thank on offense. For Wolcott, Mike Polzella was unbelievable in a 48-22 win over Kennedy. Crosby beat Derby 40-21, and Alberim Klenja threw two touchdowns in the second half to key a comeback.
Polzella missed on just one pass attempt (13-for-14) and threw for 286 yards and two touchdowns in the Wolcott victory. Polzella averaged 22 yards per completion with a long of 72 yards to Nick Longo. Polzella also ran for a team-high 58 yards and a touchdown on six carries. Longo (153) and Mike Ciarlo (114) combined for 11 catches, 267 yards and two touchdowns.
In the second half against Derby, Klenja tossed touchdowns of 52 yards to Jzalic Alexander and 10 yards to Iziah Barnes. Klenja also accounted for Crosby's first score of the game when he hooked up with Jaedon Wolfe for a 73-yard touchdown. Isaac Burgos had two touchdown runs for the Bulldogs. Klenja was confident coming into the season after being Mike Marshall's backup. So far, Crosby is averaging 35 points per game.
Both quarterbacks are seniors, and each will look to lead his team to an important victory on Friday in Waterbury.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

HIGH 5 OF THE WEEK: Taylor DiChello goes from the pool to the TV

Taylor DiChello (WWLP-22News)
In her time at Boston University, Taylor DiChello was a good diver and a good student.
Now a BU graduate, DiChello is honing her skills in front of a camera as a multi-media journalist for WWLP-22News in Chicopee, Mass.
In truth, DiChello has already been working on her media skills. She covered sports and politics for BUTV10 at Boston University, according to her bio on the WWLP-News22 website. During that time, she was executive producer and anchor for Inside Boston, and she was also an anchor for Terrier Nation
DiChello was a producer for the Telly-Award-winning election coverage newcast, The Vote 2016. The Telly Awards are about "honoring excellence in video and television across all screens," according to its website.
DiChello was also a sports intern at WHDH-TV in Boston.
Oh yeah, and there was also Taylor DiChello the athlete. She managed to be a Division I diver for the Terriers, fulfilling the term student-athlete. Her WWLP-News22 bio states that she became interested in sports because of Bristol-based ESPN.
DiChello enjoyed her love of sports as an athlete, and she used her passion to fuel her broadcast career.


DiCarlo (WCSU athletics)
Luca DiCarlo, Western Connecticut State soccer
The Colonials defeated Southern Maine 2-0 on Saturday at home, and the former Holy Cross goalkeeper had a hand in the shutout.
DiCarlo only faced three shots in goal, but he didn't allow a single one to go into the goal. For his effort, DiCarlo improved to 3-0 on the season. WCSU upped its record to 3-1 with the victory, so DiCarlo owns all three wins as goalkeeper.
DiCarlo was the winning keeper in a 5-3 victory over St. Joseph's (Long Island) in the season opener on Sept. 5. Three days later, DiCarlo claimed a second win in net when the Colonials defeated Lehman 2-1 in North Adams, Mass.
DiCarlo is a 6-foot-1, 180-pound junior.



Wyrebek (WCSU athletics)
Bailey Wyrebek, Western Connecticut State volleyball
Just like at Bristol Eastern, Wyrebek continues to do her part in her sophomore season with the Colonials.
Wyrebek is second on the team in service aces with 18 and fourth in digs with 79. Wyrebek has played in 10 of the team's 12 matches, recording a total of 34 sets of action. 
Wyrebek's best match of the season was a 3-2 win over Penn State-Berks on Sept. 2. In that match, Wyrebek had 18 digs and six service aces. The match was part of the season-opening Colonial Classic Tournament, which is held at WCSU.
Wyrebek was just three digs off of her career-high of 21 that she had as a freshman.


Phelps (CCSU athletics)
Cole Phelps, Central Connecticut State football
Three games, three starts on the offensive line for the former Wolcott standout.
Phelps has started at right guard in each of the first three games of the season. That means the 6-foot-1, 275-pound sophomore has played at Syracuse, stepped onto the home turf against Fordham, and seen a former Division I-AA power in Youngstown State (game was in Ohio).
Phelps appeared in six games during his freshman season. The former Eagle stood out off the field in his first year with the Blue Devils. Phelps was named to the Northeast Conference Fall Academic Honor Roll.



Medina (Post athletics)
Luis Medina, Post sprint football
The Eagles got off to a horrible start in a lopsided loss at Army, but Medina contributed to his team's effort in many ways in his first game.
The former Bristol Central standout led Post in rushing with 37 yards. Medina returned two kickoffs for a total of 52 yards, or 26 yards per attempt. His longest return went 32 yards.
Heck, Medina even had a tackle on his ledger.
The 5-foot-5, 150-pound freshman is studying Communications.


Statistics and information compiled from the athletics (or TV station) website for each athlete.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Falcons and Eagles fit to be tied, again

St. Paul freshman Nina Zwolinski makes a key second half save with her foot. Zwolinski,
Wolcott junior keeper Allie Gough (below, blue shirt), and both defenses made sure Monday's match
ended in a scoreless draw. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69)
The St. Paul and Wolcott girls soccer teams are both 2-0-2 after Monday's head-to-head matchup in Bristol.
While both teams remained unbeaten, each side had chances to turn a 0-0 draw into a victory. Instead, St. Paul and Wolcott each picked up its second straight tie.
Credit needs to go to the defenses and goalkeepers in each match. Falcon freshman Nina Zwolinski and Eagle junior Allie Gough were both superb in net. Each faced an onslaught at one point or another, and neither allowed a goal.
St. Paul was down Kendall Davis, who left the match in the first half with a bruised knee. At one time, the Falcons were actually down both Kendall Davis and Julia Dess. Dess went down in the second half and had to leave the field after a play where she thought she was fouled.
If anything, the short break seemed to fire Dess up. The junior made strong runs at the Wolcott net. Unfortunately for Dess, her shots were either too high or wide.
St. Paul's task was to bottle up Wolcott senior Taylor Riviezzo. Riviezzo was often surrounded by Falcon defenders. Others tried to make runs at the St. Paul goal, but the Falcon defense was tough to crack.
There was a big opportunity for Wolcott with just over 10 minutes to play when sophomore Brooke Tracey crossed the ball to Riviezzo. The ball was a good one, and Riviezzo just missed it with her head.
Less than a minute later, Riviezzo was making a run toward the left side of the St. Paul goal. Zwolinski made a kick save with her right foot.
When Dess missed with her left foot a few minutes earlier in the match, her shot rolled to the outside of the right post.
It was that kind of a day for both sides, and it added up to another draw.

PHOTOS: Click here to see images from Monday's match.

RUSH JOB: St. Paul football ground game strong so far

Strong play up front has helped St. Paul (blue helmets) run the ball with much success
in the first two games of the season. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69, 2017 file)
When talking about the St. Paul football offense, start with this number...zero.
That's the number of passes quarterback Kevin Ashworth has thrown in two games this season. Zero.
Here's another number...two. As in 2-0, which is the Falcon record after two games.
St. Paul is off to that 2-0 start because it has been strong running the football. The Falcons are running the wishbone again under head coach Jude Kelly, and Ashworth is at the controls.
Through two games, St. Paul is averaging 277.5 yards on the ground. Four runners have 86 yards or more, led by 193 from Damien Rabis and 174 from Ashworth. Connor Bogdanski has 102 yards and Chris Dionne has 86. Bogdanski and Ashowrth have each rushed 23 times, Dionne has carried 17 times and Rabis has 11 attempts.
St. Paul can pick at you yard by yard on a long drive, or it can gain big territory in one chunk. Rabis had a 61-yard run in a 38-0 win over Sacred Heart/Kaynor Tech in the season opener. There was also a 19-yard run from Ashworth.
St. Paul battled for a 36-33 win at Holy Cross on Saturday. There were runs of 36 yards from Ashworth, 31 from Bogdanski and 28 from Dionne. Rabis had a long kickoff return for a touchdown to open the third quarter.
What do all those rushing numbers mean? It means St. Paul has been controlling games with its running attack. The Falcons can't do this of course without the help of a strong offensive line. Defensive fronts have to get around the likes of Dom and Joey Aiello, Eric Langland, Dylan Gagnon, Jack Kurnick and Ryan Parent before they have a chance to tackle a St. Paul running back. The backs also block for each other, and any receiver or tight end that is in the game must also do their part to free up the running game.
Everyone has been doing their part in the first games. At least that's what the numbers tell you. St. Paul wants to run, and so far, the Falcons have been able to do so with a high level of success. 
The next test for the Falcons is fellow undefeated Watertown (2-0) on Friday at 7 p.m. at home. The game is the home opener for St. Paul.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Marchi, Wright connect for SportsCenter Top 10 play

Marchi (Temple football)
Former St. Paul quarterback Logan Marchi has had a solid three starts at Temple, but Friday's 29-21 win over UMass produced a highlight-reel play.
Just to make it more awesome, Marchi combined with fellow local Isaiah Wright, the Waterbury native and former Holy Cross and Kingswood Oxford standout. Wright did his part to make sure the play ended up on SportsCenter's Top 10.
Here's what happened:
There was less than four minutes to go in the fourth quarter, and Temple led UMass 22-14. On 3rd and 5 from the 13, Marchi threw toward the back right corner of the end zone. Wright reached out his left hand and snared the ball just before the out of bounds line for a spectacular touchdown.
Wright (Temple athletics)
The play wound up being No. 3 on the Top 10. Here's the clip, shared by the Temple football Twitter account.
Earlier in the drive, Marchi connected with Wright on a 3rd and 7 from the UMass 47. Wright caught the ball around the first down marker and broke a tackle. He then puke a nasty juke move on one defender and a terrific spin to get away from another. Wright was brought down, 29 yards later, for a huge first down.
Marchi was 22-of-37 for 248 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions in the game. He completed passes to 11 different receivers. Wright was his biggest target with four catches (tied for the team lead), a team-high 69 yards and the Top 10 touchdown.

WEEK 1 PEEK: Two boys soccer teams, two girls squads unbeaten

We are nearly done with the first full week of the fall sports season, so here's a look at where the locals stand.

NOTE: Results are through Friday, and some Friday games had yet to be reported when this post was wrriten. The records listed are for games that have been reported.

BOYS SOCCER
Bristol Central is 2-0, collecting home wins over Plainville and Southington. Kaynor Tech is 2-0-1 with wins over O'Brien Tech and Whitney Tech and a tie against Crosby.
No local side is unbeaten in the NVL. Sacred Heart and St. Paul are each 2-1, with the first loss for the Falcons coming Friday against Watertown. The first loss for the Hearts was Thursday, 1-0 at Seymour. Crosby closed out its week with a win after recording a loss and a tie, and the Bulldogs sit at 2-1-1. Holy Cross, Waterbury Career Academy and Wilby are all 1-2. Wolcott is 0-2-1, Bristol Eastern is 0-2 and Kennedy is 0-3.

GIRLS SOCCER
St. Paul and Holy Cross are unbeaten in the NVL, the Falcons 2-0 and Crusaders 2-0-1. Holy Cross is 1-1-1 while Sacred Heart sits at 1-2.
Bristol Eastern is 1-1 after a loss to Farmington on Friday night. Bristol Central is 1-1 after its first win on Friday, 1-0 over Hall.

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL
There are no undefeated teams on the local courts. Holy Cross owns the best record at 3-1. Wolcott, Bristol Central and Kaynor Tech are all 2-1. Crosby and St. Paul both sit at 2-2. Bristol Eastern stands at 1-2 after losses to Southington and Avon. Kennedy and WCA are each 1-3 while Wilby remains winless at 0-4.

FRIDAY FOOTBALL: Hove, Wolcott collect first win

Wolcott football gave Matt Hove his first victory as head coach on Friday night with a 48-22 win over Kennedy on the turf of Joe Monroe Field.
Anthony Ligi ran for a touchdown for Wolcott (1-1), but it was 89-yard kickoff return for a score that got the home crowd fired up. Ligi looked like he was going down, but he escaped a pile-up, changed sides, and scampered for the score. Click here to see video of Ligi's touchdown. 
On defense, Wolcott's Dean Howell and Justin Pawlak chased down the quarterback for a sack, which can also been seen in the highlight package from CT Sports Now.
Rakeem Henry had a short rushing touchdown for Kennedy, which dropped to 0-2.

Windsor 29, Bristol Central 19
The Rams took an early 7-0 lead and trailed 14-13 at the half, but the Warriors (2-0) pulled away in the second half for the road victory.
Dathan Hickey accounted for all three touchdowns for Central, including the first one ever on the turf at Bristol Centtral High School with 3:48 left in the first quarter. Here's a cool photo of the touchdown from BCHS Principal Pete Wininger.
Hickey also ran a kickoff back 91 yards for a score. The Rams dropped to 1-1 with the loss.

Torrington 50, Wilby 14
It was a rough night on the road for the Wildcats, who fell to 0-2.
Kenny Figueroa and Dashaun Wilson hooked up for a touchdown pass for Wilby. Rackwon James ran for a touchdown and a two-point conversion.

Middletown 35, Bristol Eastern 0
Justin Marshall had a solid first half throwing the ball, but the Lancers (0-2) couldn't put points on the board and the Blue Dragons clamped down on defense in the second half at Rosek-Skubel Stadium in Middletown.

Ansonia 54, Waterbury Career Academy 6
Matt Torres threw a touchdown pass to Jessah Doctor early in the second quarter for the Spartans, who dropped to 1-1.
WCA played hard, but Ansonia just had way too much firepower and improved to 2-0.