East Hampton senior softball players (l-r) Einin Frost, Gianna Guiliano, and Julia Borrelli were celebrated for Senior Night on May 16. Frost was named a Rivereast Standout after pitching a complete game and scoring three runs.
Here are the Rivereast Standouts of the Week for the week of May 16-22:
Einin Frost - East Hampton High School (Softball): Frost pitched a complete game from the mound and scored three runs from the plate as the Bellringers celebrated Senior Night with an 18-5 victory over Old Saybrook on May 16. Frost, along with Julia Borrelli and Gianna Guiliano, were the three seniors honored prior to the game. Junior Reagan Burt also shined in the victory, scoring four runs and driving in four more.
Jack Holmes - Bacon Academy High School (Lacrosse): Holmes had three goals and dished out five assists as the Bobcats defeated Ledyard/Griswold 16-1 on an emotional night at Bacon Academy High School on May 19. The game was named the ‘1032 Game’ in honor of former players Jake Chapman and Tyler Graham who tragically died following a car accident in Colchester in October of last year. Chapman wore jersey No. 10 and Graham wore jersey No. 32 while playing for the Bobcats before graduating in 2021.
Chase Massey - RHAM High School (Baseball): Massey pitched a complete-game, striking out seven and walking only one batter as the Raptors upended Plainfield 4-1 on May 21. The junior surrendered only one run in the first inning and then shut out the visiting Panthers the final six innings. Bradley D’Amico provided support for Massey, connecting on a pair of hits, driving in a run and scoring another.
Leah May - Portland High School (Softball): May had a game for the ages as the Westbrook-Portland co-op softball team defeated Bassick 28-9. The PHS-senior went 5-5 from the plate, driving in 11 runs and scoring four more. She hit a pair of home runs, including a grand slam, as the co-op won their third game of the season.
To nominate someone for an Athlete of Week, or questions or comments on sports-related topics, email Josh Howard at email@example.com
Hulland Headed to Maine
Jimmy Hulland will continue to play hoops in a familiar system next winter.
“I am excited to announce my commitment to further my athletic and academic career at the University of New England,” Hulland announced on social media April 20. “I’d like to thank my family, friends, and coaches to help me get to this point.”
The RHAM High School senior is headed to play for the Nor’easters up-tempo system in Maine led by head coach Ed Silva, who RHAM basketball head coach Todd Dean was an assistant for six years prior to taking over the Raptors’ program last winter.
“I think Jimmy's best basketball is ahead of him,” said Dean. “He is athletic, which will help him. I think at times he will try to do too much, not out of a selfish reason, but out of a want-to-win reason.”
Hulland, who is a 6’2” and has the stamina of a deer, was the ideal fit for Dean’s fast-paced approach this past winter.
The result was an all-conference selection for Hulland, who averaged over 17 points per game and canned three three-pointers per contest as the Raptors won 17 of 20 regular season games.
Basketball is just one of many athletic gifts for Hulland, who starred as a three-sport athlete at the high school
In the fall he dazzled as the Raptors’ main receiving threat on the gridiron, hauling down a team-high 30 receptions for 650 yards and four touchdowns.
Currently, he is one of two seniors on the boys’ golf team in Hebron. Hulland called golf a “major hobby” that he will continue to do in the future.
Golf may be his hobby, but his true passion remains on the hardwood. Hulland said this past season was the most fun he had playing on the basketball, saying his favorite memory from the season was when he flushed a thunderous dunk during the Raptors 72-54 victory in the first round of the Central Connecticut Conference (CCC) tournament.
Dean praised his Hulland’s textbook jump shot and desire to improve his overall game.
Those qualities, along with his long, athletic frame and ability to play multiple positions should allow him to flourish at the next level in Biddeford, ME.
“It felt like it was a great fit,” Hulland said of his college decision. “It will be easy to flow right into that program because it’s the same offense from high school.”
At UNE, he will major in business as he plays for a Nor’easters squad who compete in the Commonwealth Coast Conference.
Hulland reflected fondly about his time at RHAM, stating he “loved the school, the teachers, the education, and everything about it.”
“I’m looking forward to just being able to continue to play basketball,” said Hulland, who will graduate from RHAM on June 15. “I just love to play basketball and the atmosphere it brings. It will just be fun to transition from high school to college.”
East Hampton and Portland baseball team prior to a May 17 game at Dunkin’ Donuts Park in Hartford. The Highlanders won 2-0, avenging a 14-0 loss to the Bellringers less than a month earlier.
On April 20, East Hampton baseball crushed Portland 14-0 at Portland High School, handing the Highlanders their most lopsided loss of the season.
Less than a month later, Portland flipped the script and beat the Bellringers 2-0 on a picturesque spring evening at Dunkin’ Donuts Park in Hartford last Tuesday, May 17.
Spencer Rosado was cool as a cucumber as he pitched a two-hitter under the bright lights where the Yard Goats normally graze.
Rosado, who went the entire way and struck out eight, said he didn’t think about the venue and was solely focused on the task at hand.
“It feels great. It means a lot to us,” Rosado said about the win. “I expected it to be honest. I expected to come here and shut them out.”
Head coach Rick Borg has full trust in his junior lefty, even when his team got into a jam in the 7th inning with the winning run at the plate following an error.
“He was going to have to beg me to come out,” said Borg, who added Rosado had earned the chance to pitch in the big moment.
The teams battled to a scoreless tie for the first three innings as Rosado and East Hampton’s hard-throwing Nate Bigelow made easy work the first time through the batting order.
Rosado led off the top of the 4th inning with a single through the heart of the defense and then Michael Quesnel cranked a triple to deep left, sending Rosado home for the game's opening run.
“I was just trying to put the ball in play. I’ve been having a rough time at the plate recently,” recalled Quesnel, who added that he thought the shot may carry the 308 feet needed to go over the left field wall. “But I can’t complain about a triple.”
Quesnel then scored following a sacrifice fly to center field from Austin Vess.
The 4th inning fireworks turned out to be the only scoring.
“We expect him to do that,” said Borg. “I love Mike Quesnel and I would play anyone in the state if I had nine more of him.”
In the bottom of the 7th, East Hampton had runners at first and third with the winning run at the plate.
However—as he had done all game—Rosado responded with two consecutive strikeouts.
Rosado said his two-seam fastball was working all game and that he wasn’t concerned about the late jam, adding, “I really just didn’t think about it. I went out there and put in the work.”
East Hampton head coach Tom Seidl was disappointed in his team’s inability to generate offense or capitalize on the 7th inning opportunity.
“Our pitcher pitched a great game and their pitcher pitched a little bit better,” added Seidl “[Portland] deserved to win. Rick is a good coach and we had them ready today and they beat us.”
It was East Hampton’s sixth straight loss and seventh loss in eight games.
“We are just struggling right now. I don’t know what to say at this point. Sometimes you can’t get out of your own way and that is kind of what we are going through right now,” said Seidl. “I know what this team is capable of and we are not doing it right now and it frustrates me as a coach that I’m not able to pull it out of them.”
For Portland, the win was big on several levels.
It not only avenged the earlier 14-run loss over a rival in Connecticut’s biggest baseball venue, but it also provided a positive memory that will last a lifetime.
“It’s an experience that the team will never forget and neither will I,” added Borg, whose team turned around a season that began with eight straight losses. “This group is fun to be with and it’s rewarding to see them improve over the course of the year. Sometimes teams will disintegrate a little bit at the end of the year after a tough season, but these guys hung together and I couldn’t be more proud to get the win tonight.”
It turned out to be the Highlander’s third and final win of the season.
For Quesnel, who is the team’s only senior player, the victory in Hartford capitalized a great baseball career.
“To come in here and do this in front of all these fans is really an awesome feeling,” said Quesnel. “This is a fun group of guys and I love every single one of them like they are my brothers.”
Junior Spencer Rosado pitched a complete-game, two-hitter and struck out eight as Highlanders baseball upset East Hampton 2-0 on May 17 at Dunkin’ Donuts Parks in Hartford.
GHS softball finished 18-2 in the regular season, marking the best record in program history.
With tournament play starting, everything is clicking for the Glastonbury High School softball team.
They finished the regular season 18-2 after winning all four games last week, ending the regular season on a nine-game winning streak to capture the Central Connecticut Conference (CCC) Patriot division.
It’s been a history making spring for the Guardians, as the team’s .900 winning percentage marks an all-time best for the program.
“It’s nice, but we are not finished yet,” senior captain Moly Edgington said following an 8-0 win over Wethersfield on May 16. “We have so much more to achieve and I know that this team can do so much in the playoffs.”
In the home win over Wethersfield last Monday, pitcher Brooke Tracy was magnificent from the mound. The senior captain went the entire way, striking out 17 and allowing only one hit (a single in the 7th inning).
After battling to a scoreless tie through the first two innings, senior captain Sadie Scurto got the scoring party started with a two-out single in the third inning, driving home Rayah Snyder and Tracy.
“I love these types of games. These are my favorite types of games because I know when I get older these are the games that I will remember,” Scurto said of games decided by clutch hitting. “They might be stressful in the moment, but they are so much fun to play.”
The home team scored twice more in the 4th as Kamryn Herrick and Edgington both crossed home plate following wild pitches.
Tracy smacked a double in the sixth inning, driving home Snyder to open up the floodgates. The Guardians would add three more in the inning as Maddie Handrahan, Natalie Lessard, and Nabia Crawford each scored.
Despite the lopsided final, the game was actually a battle with strategic base running playing a key factor. The Guardians totaled a dozen hits and stole seven bases.
“Taking bases that the defense gives you is what we’ve focused on the last couple of weeks, so I was happy to see that executed today,” GHS head coach Karen Costes said. “You don’t want any day to be a waste without getting better and there are teams that you play where you struggle to find a way to get better because they are not that strong, but this was a good team to execute those things because they are a decent team.”
In the huddle following the win, the team celebrated another milestone by singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to senior Alyssa Myers, who turned 18 the day of the game.
Myers is one of five seniors—along with Edgington, Tracy, Scurto, and Meredith Lambert—who have helped navigate the team through the Covid-cancellation two years ago and the ensuing restrictions.
“They have meant so much to this program and they are so much fun to coach,” said Costes, who added that this group has grown close despite the lost season in 2020. “The leadership they bring is tremendous and I just can’t help but feel robbed of that year they lost. I would love to have them for another year. I’m going to miss these guys like crazy.”
Following the win over Wethersfield, the Guardians took down Ellington (2-0), Manchester (6-1), and Simsbury (11-6).
Against Ellington, Scurto and Tracy hit back-to-back solo home runs in the 4th inning to provide the offense and Scurto, who plays catcher, made an amazing catch over the rail behind home plate to end the game.
Tracy and Scurto both played on varsity since they were freshmen. Costes said they are the final two players remaining from the varsity team that went to Florida during their last trip to the Sunshine State in 2019.
Over the past four years, they have built a pitcher-catcher rapport that is second-to-none.
“I’ve been catching for Brooke forever. We are super close,” Scurto said of the bond. “That is super important. It makes it so much easier because she is comfortable with me and I am right there to support her.”
The duo continued to lead the team in the win over Manchester as Scurto drove in three runs and Tracy sent in a pair. Lessard went 4-4 from the plate in the win.
In the regular season finale win over Simsbury, Scurto had four RBIs and Tracy drove in three more.
With the state tournaments starting next week, Costes likes how “all the pieces are coming together.”
Last spring, the team advanced to the quarterfinals round before getting eliminated by the eventual-state champion Southington Knights.
Edgington, who called the team “a family”, believes the team has the confidence and chemistry to cook up a potential championship run.
“We are just playing softball out there. It’s the same ball and the same bat every game,” added Edgington.
GHS senior Alyssa Myers throws to first during the Guardians 8-0 win over Wethersfield on May 16. Meyers, who is one of five seniors on the team, was also celebrating her 18th birthday on May 16.
GHS boys' tennis seniors (l-r) Matt Daniels, Josh Souder, Justin Nascimento, Nate Azimov, and Brendon Wagner celebrated Senior Night at the team beat Southington on May 18.
The boys’ tennis team continued to pile up victories, including a resounding victory over Southington during the team’s Senior Night on May 18.
Prior to the match the team celebrated a handful of seniors—Josh Souder, Nate Azimov, Brendon Wagner, Justin Nascimento, and Matt Daniels—before taking six of seven matches from the visiting Knights.
Souder, Azimov, and Wagner are captaining a team that won 13 of 14 matches in the regular season.
Against Southington, all three captains chalked up victories as Souder won his No. 3 singles match (6-3, 6-0) and Azimov and Wagner teamed up to win the No. 2 doubles match (6-0, 6-3).
On Senior Night, the underclassmen made the seniors spirit boxes and gave them shirts to the respective colleges they will be attending.
“It was nice to feel appreciated for the work that we’ve done for the program for the last few years,” said Souder, who will attend the University of Michigan next fall.
Christian Kaverud (No. 1 singles) and Joseph Chan (No. 2 singles) each picked up individual wins, while the duos of Daniels / Niteesh Kalangi and Elliot Kim / Nick Bonaiuto each doubles wins.
Souder and Azimov have been with the program since they were freshmen and—following a lost year to COVID—Wagner, Nascimento, and Daniels joined as juniors.
Souder said the team has become “super close” this year, adding, “Our coaches and the seniors have made it more team-oriented. Everyone is rooting for each other to win.”
The team has swept nine regular season meets this spring and have shown resiliency in close matches as well.
During a recent visit to Hall High School on May 13, the team was without the services of Kaverud and needed to fill in the missing pieces to grind out the victory.
The Guardians took the three doubles matches from the Warriors and Souder was able to rally for a singles win to preserve a 4-3 victory.
After dropping the first set (2-6), Souder summoned his stamina from years of playing soccer to outlast Hall’s Jeremy Eisen on a hot afternoon.
“I could tell my opponent was getting tired. Everyone was cheering me on so I used that as motivation to keep going,” recalled Souder, who took the second set (6-3) and the tiebreaker (10-6).
On May 19, the team hosted Alumni Night, bringing back tennis stars from GHS-past. The now-seniors were able to play with and against the seniors who helped show them the ropes.
Now in a leadership position, Souder and the other four seniors are mentoring a large group of freshmen that are playing major roles for the Guardians.
Souder said the deep, diverse group has made each other better on the court.
“It’s impressive that the starting lineups are really talented, but so is everyone on the bench. Our coaches have said before that sometimes the best matches you will be in are the ones during practice against your own teammates,” said Souder, who has played both individual and doubles matches this spring. “We are pushed super hard in practice. The freshmen that came in are really talented and the returning players are just pushing each other to keep their spots.”
Next up is the state tournaments with the Divisional tourney for team play starting this Friday, May 27 and the State Open for individual and doubles play starting Monday, June 6.
Heading into tourney play, the Guardians have the third-best winning percentage in Class LL and are only one of three teams (Enfield and Greenwich) with one loss.
Wethersfield sophomore Kyla Brogan pitches during a game at Glastonbury High School on May 16.
Wethersfield softball battled powerhouse Glastonbury to a scoreless tie for the first two innings before the Guardians scored twice in the third inning and pulled away for an 8-0 win at Glastonbury High School on May 16.
The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for the Eagles, who were fresh off a week in which they played five games in five days.
Head coach Colleen Budaj said she liked how her team battled until the end, despite being short on fumes and without many practices since the beginning of May.
“They don’t quit and they don’t give up. We just gave up some extra bases at some tough times today” added Budaj. “[Glastonbury has] good pitching. We just didn’t put the ball in play as much as we needed to today to put extra pressure on them.”
The Eagles lineup struggled against Glastonbury pitcher Brooke Tracy, who pitched a complete game shutout, striking out 17 and allowing only one hit.
Gabriella Tomaino picked up the only hit for the Eagles in the 7th. Tomaino also showcased her defensive abilities at third base when she plucked a hard line drive down the third base line for an out in the fifth inning.
Sophomore pitcher Kyla Brogan got the nod for Wethersfield, pitching two scoreless innings before Glastonbury’s Sadie Scurto singled with two outs in the third inning, driving home Rayah Snyder and Tracy.
After allowing two more runs, Brogan was relieved prior to the fifth inning by senior Mackenzi Banet, who pitched the final two innings and allowed four more runs. The duo combined for six strikeouts.
“I thought we came out strong and our pitching was sharp, and then I thought we lost some steam pitching. That’s where we got ourselves out of the game,” added Budaj.
Brogan and Banet are part of a deep pitching rotation, featuring five pitchers.
Banet is also one of only three seniors on Budaj’s roster. Molly Bowers and Claire Sipes are the other two.
Sipes made the defensive gem of the night when she made a diving catch in right field to end the 6th inning, preventing additional runs.
Bowers also made a pair of running catches in center field to prevent hits.
The trio has been starting since they were freshmen and Budaj said they not only have been contributors on the field, but also were instrumental in helping the team stay connected throughout the COVID-cancellation in 2020 and the ensuing restrictions.
“[The seniors] dragged us through all the craziness. They have been the heart and soul,” added Budaj. “We looked for them to lead the younger kids through their words and their actions.”
Following the loss to Glastonbury, the Eagles rebounded with an 11-1 victory over Farmington last Wednesday before celebrating the three seniors on Senior Night in the team’s regular-season finale on Thursday.
Entering the week, Wethersfield is 12-7 with the postseason tournaments starting soon.
Budaj said the key to success in the state tournament will be the team’s deep pitching rotation that allows them to “change up speed and change up delivery”, along with consistency in making the routine plays and putting the ball in play.
Ryan Quinn - Middletown (Baseball): Quinn connected on two hits, including a three-run home run as the Blue Dragons beat Simsbury 10-7 at Memorial Park on May 18. The senior, along with fellow senior Dan Lapham (three hits, an RBI, and a run), helped spark an offense that scored the most runs the team had scored in 13 games, dating back to April 5. It was Middletown’s eighth win of the year and snapped a five-game skid.
Marko Karpyuk - Wethersfield (Tennis): Karpyuk, the Eagles No. 1 singles player, battled back after losing the first set, rallying to win the next two sets and beat Xavier’s Tyler Ferguson (2-6, 6-0, 10-6). Wethersfield won six of seven matches in the road win over the Falcons as Vihann Gandhi, Chace Krawzcyk, and Christian Bonivisuto won singles matches, while the duos of Alex Jara / Sam Johnson and Paul Cordilico / Adam Jara won doubles matches.
Darragh McNeil - Cromwell (Tennis): McNeil won back-to-back matches last week serving as the Panthers No. 3 singles player. The sophomore defeated Portland’s Cooper Rettich (6-4, 6-1) as the Panthers swept the Highlanders (6-0) on May 18 and then came from behind to beat Ben Fields of East Hampton (5-7, 6-4, 6-4) on May 20.
Jazzy Edmunds - Rocky Hill (Softball): Edmunds had two hits, including a home run, as the Terriers defeated Middletown 7-4 on May 17. It was Edmonds’ second home run (a team-high) as the senior scored twice and drove in three runs in the win over the Blue Dragons. She was one of four Rocky Hill seniors celebrated on May 18 as they celebrated Senior Night prior to a game against Tolland.
Morgan Hellman - Newington (Lacrosse): Hellman scored her 100th career high school goal in a 19-11 road win over Watertown on May 19. The senior hit the triple digit mark after getting a pass in transition and cutting to the middle of the field before firing a shot into the back of the net. The victory was the ninth straight for the Nor’easters.
To nominate someone as an Athlete of the Week or with questions or comments on sports-related topics, email Josh Howard at firstname.lastname@example.org
Callahan Lifts NHS Baseball
Newington senior Shaun Callahan delivers a pitch in the 7th inning during the Nor'easters 12-7 victory over Glastonbury on May 18. Callahan registered the save and drove in four runs in the victory.
Newington baseball jumped out to a commanding 9-0 lead against Glastonbury and then held off a late rally to win 12-6, earning a key Central Connecticut Conference (CCC) victory at Riverfront Park in Glastonbury on May 18.
Senior Shaun Callahan was clutch from the plate and finished the game on the hill, entering in during the sixth inning to pick up the save.
“I just wanted to throw strikes,” Callahan said of his mindset on the mound.
Callahan connected on three hits, including a triple, scoring two runs and driving in four more.
After Glastonbury scored five runs in the sixth inning to narrow the deficit to 9-6, Callahan put the finishing touches on the game in the 7th by clearing the bases with a standing double.
Prior to Callahan’s hit, Glastonbury intentionally walked Josiah Ross to load the bases.
“I understand what Glastonbury was doing. They wanted to get a force, so they walked our No. 2 hitter to get to Shaun, but the other side of that coin is that you are pitching to one of the better hitters in the CCC and he did his job and hit a base loaded double,” NHS head coach Ben Alaimo said. “Shaun is a phenomenal player and I couldn’t be prouder of him.”
Austyn Howe started the game and picked up the win, throwing four scoreless innings.
Howe was coming off an outstanding pitching performance in a 1-0 loss to Windsor, pitching a complete game and allowing only four hits to one of the best teams in the state
“Austyn had a real emotional game in his last outing where he pitched phenomenal,” said Alaimo. “He had a really nice start [tonight] and gave us an opportunity to win the game.”
Nick Kelly also had a big day from the plate, connecting on a double and triple.
“Credit to Glastonbury for not lying down; a lot of teams will shut it down after a 9-0 hole and they didn’t. They came back and they kept fighting,” added Alaimo.
Two days later, the Nor’easters closed the week with a 12-5 road win over Southington, improving to 15-3.
Senior Chase Prestia earned the win, striking out six. Callahan continued to deliver from the plate, connecting on two more hits––including a home run––scoring four runs and driving in two more.
Alaimo added that he likes that his team is getting tested by quality teams prior to the postseason tournaments.
“These tight situations against good teams are exactly what you want to prepare for any type of run we could make in the state tournament,” added Alaimo. “We are trying to put ourselves in those situations so when we get to the state tournament it feels like a normal day.”
Callahan, who has committed to play baseball at the University of New Haven next year, added that the team “can’t let down” and will need everybody buying in once the win-or-go-home games start.
Bacon Academy junior Maddox Burton charges towards the goal in the second half as the Bobcats rallied to defeat Waterford 9-8 on May 12.
Skylar Gustavsen scored a go-ahead goal with 10 second left as Bacon Academy girls’ lacrosse erased a second half deficit to defeat Waterford 9-8 on May 12 at Bacon Academy High School.
Not only did Gustavsen’s game-winner earn the Bobcats their ninth win of the season, but it also etched her name in the record books as the program’s all-time scoring leader with 194 points.
Gustavsen, who scored a team-high four goals in the win, said she had no idea that she was that close to setting a new mark.
“I don’t even have any words,” Gustavsen said of the record. “I have to give credit to my coach. He has played me since my freshman year. He put trust in me when I was a 4’11” girl with no muscles.”
What makes Gustavsen’s achievement even more impressive is that she lost her entire sophomore season because of the COVID-19 cancellation in the spring of 2020.
Bacon Academy head coach Chris Faulkner praised Gustavsen and his two other senior captains—Sarah Newton and Sammi Ciaglo—for their leadership and tireless effort.
“They’ve been starters since freshman year and you can see the way they all work well together out there,” said Faulkner. “Our offense can score in bunches and I had no doubt they would do something good at the end.”
Gustavsen and the Bobcats offense ended the back-and-forth game, yet it was the defense that set the stage with a spectacular performance in the first half, limiting the visiting Lancers to a mere two goals over the first 25 minutes.
Senior goalie Jessica Schuth protected the net and was aided by Ciaglo, who is captaining the backend, with a supporting cast of Payton Guntulis, Sophia Rose, and Grace Saldana.
Bacon jumped out to a quick lead, scoring a pair of goals less than six minutes into the action on goals from Maddox Burton and Gustavsen.
Waterford countered with goals from Marin Mahoney and Victoria Sturm to even the score before Bacon Academy ended the half with an offensive onslaught, scoring three goals in the final four minutes.
Newton hammered home a goal with 3:41 to play in the half before Gustavsen struck gold 20 seconds later.
Gustavsen then set up Maddox, who hauled in the pass in front of the goal and fired in a shot while falling to the ground with only two second remaining in the half, providing the Bobcats a 5-2 lead at the break.
Under a blazing sun, Waterford’s offense heated up and scored the first three goals of the second half and eventually took an 8-7 lead on a goal from Kayla Kelly with 11 minutes left.
That’s when Gustavsen did what she does best — score.
With 6:24 left in regulation, she rebounded her own miss and delivered a strike into the back of the net to tie the game.
Then with time dwindling down, Bacon regained possession with 2:47 to play and called a time out.
Faulkner told his team to drain the clock and attack with 20 seconds left, assuring either a win or overtime.
Once the clock reached 20 seconds, it was up to the players to decide.
“I let them freeform it,” said Faulkner, who is in his ninth season on the sidelines. “I just try to let them do their own stuff. They are in the flow of the game and I try not to dictate too much. They are all experienced out there.”
Despite the pressure of the situation and the sweltering heat, Gustavsen and her offensive mates were calm, cool, and collected in the final moments.
Maddox controlled the ball behind the net and eventually found a cutting Gustavsen, who whipped a shot into the back of the net in the waning seconds.
“We wanted to score, but you know you can’t be selfish because if you try and miss it they will have a chance to go right back at you. You have to trust your teammates,” said Gustavsen, who added the team can communicate on the offensive end with just eye contact thanks to years of competing together.
Both Gustavsen and Newton reached the 100-goal milestone earlier this spring. The two have been playing both lacrosse and soccer together dating back to grade school and, along with Ciaglo, have the entire field covered with leadership and experience.
Gustavsen is the team’s primary attacker, Newton handles the face-offs and midfield duties, and Ciaglo powers the defense.
“We have so much chemistry together,” added Gustavsen. “When we put it together and are all on our A-game, no one can beat us at that point.”
Even when facing the second half deficit, Faulkner’s experienced lineup allowed him to breathe easy.
“It’s about how we respond in those situations,” Faulkner said of the deficit. “We kept our heads up and we took the time out to give our defense the break. Everything started to work out after that.”
On Tuesday, the Bobcats improved their record to 10-5 with a resounding 19-6 win over Norwich Free Academy. Gustavsen added nine more points (six goals, three assists), increasing her program record to 203 points overall. Newton added six goals, while Burton (four goals), Saldana (two goals), and Anna Legault (one goal) rounded out the scoring.
Bacon Academy senior Skylar Gustavsen scored the game-winning goal with 10 second left as the Bobcats beat Waterford on May 12. Gustavsen’s last-second goal also made her the program’s all-time leader point scorer with 194 points.
RHAM junior Isabella Mondo was named a Rivereast Standout Athlete after qualifying for the state championship in both the 1600 and 3200 meters.
Here are the Rivereast Standouts of the Week for the week of May 9-15:
Isabella Mondo - RHAM High School (Track & Field): Mondo has qualified for both the 1600 and 3200 meters at the Class MM championships, coming up on June 1, and has placed either first or second in both events in each of the Raptors meets this spring. The junior, who is a three-season runner (cross-country, outdoor and indoor track), has also collected multiple All-Central Connecticut Conference (CCC) Academic Awards during her three years at the school and was selected all-state in cross-country during her freshman season.
Brylee Montanari - East Hampton High School (Track & Field): Montanari won both the 100 meter hurdles and the long jump at the Runnin’ Rams Invitational at Old Saybrook High School on May 13. The senior, who will run at the University of North Carolina Wilmington next year, easily won the 100m hurdles and then set a personal-best mark by jumping 16’01” to edge Taylor Bialowas of Griswold in the long jump. The Bellringers finished second overall as a team, behind only the host Rams of Old Saybrook.
Alex Blanchette - Bacon Academy High School (Baseball): Blanchette broke a three-inning hitless drought for the Bobcats by connecting on a two-out single, sending home Alex Pulse for the go-ahead and eventual game-winning run as Bacon Academy held off New London 4-3 at Dodd Stadium in Norwich on May 12. The junior’s clutch hit provided a celebratory Senior Night for the team and its five seniors (Pulse, Jack Novak, Andrew Navickas, Luke Pennella and Dan Shane).
Owen Delisle - Portland High School (Track & Field): Delisle placed 3rd in the 1600 meters, running a personal-best 4:35.53, at the Runnin’ Rams Invitational at Old Saybrook High School on May 13. The senior then teamed with Jake Thompson, Simon Kandeke, and Teddy Williams to win the 4x400 relay with a time of 3:36.42. The Highlanders tied for 4th place overall as a team at the event. Portland’s Derek Tewksbury also ran a personal-best 10:35.59 to finish 3rd in the 3200 meters and Kandeke placed 6th in the long jump with a personal-best 19’09”.
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin